The Post Office Girl
The Post Office Girl is one of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig's most acclaimed novels.
“Time to leave now, get out of this room, go somewhere, anywhere; sharpen this feeling of happiness and freedom, stretch your limbs, fill your eyes, be awake, wider awake, vividly awake in every sense and every pore.”
The novel tells the story of Christine, who spends her days working in a post office in a lonely Austrian town following World War I. To sum up more eloquently than I can: "One afternoon, as she is dozing among the official forms and stamps, a telegraph arrives addressed to her. It is from her rich aunt, who lives in America and writes requesting that Christine join her and her husband in a Swiss Alpine resort. After a dizzying train ride, Christine finds herself at the top of the world, enjoying a life of privilege that she had never imagined. But Christine’s aunt drops her as abruptly as she picked her up, and soon the young woman is back at the provincial post office, consumed with disappointment and bitterness." (X) Another review describes the story as "Cinderella meets Bonnie and Clyde in Zweig’s haunting and hard-as-nails novel, completed during the 1930s, as he was driven by the Nazis into exile, but left unpublished at the time of his death." I was utterly engrossed in Zweig's writing when I began to read. Zweig was inspiration for one of my favorite films, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and my grandmother bought this book for me over the summer. I did not pick it up until winter break, after returning from Israel. While in Israel, I visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem. While on a tour, our guide stopped briefly at a display of Jewish authors and intellectuals. Zweig was among them. He left his native Austria in the 1930s and fled to England, then America and Brazil. He later committed suicide at age 60 in 1942. Zweig kept popping up in my life, so I felt compelled to read his stories. And what magnificent stories they were. The Post Office Girl was a wonderful start and introduction to Zweig. It gives you a sense of the social impact of the first World War, and the immense wealth gap. I adored the novel (and his other works, hopefully which I'll write about soon) (going to try to post more often...) Highly recommend, especially if you've never heard of Zweig before. Rating: ★★★★★