Author(s): Stefan Zweig
A bourgeois housewife's affair is discovered, and a blackmailer turns her comfortable life into a nightmare of apprehension Finding her comfortable bourgeois existence as wife and mother tedious after eight years of marriage, Irene Wagner brings a little excitement into it by starting an affair with a rising young pianist. Her lover's former mistress begins blackmailing her, threatening to give her secret away to her husband, meanwhile her husband seems to offer her numerous opportunities to confess and be forgiven. Irene is soon in the grip of agonizing fear. Written in the spring of 1913, and first published in 1920, this novella is one of Stefan Zweig's most powerful studies of a woman's mind and emotions. 'The rediscovery of this extraordinary writer could well be on a par with last year's refinding of the long-lost Stoner, by John Williams, and which similarly could pluck his name out of a dusty obscurity.' Simon Winchester, Telegraph Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was born in Vienna, into a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a poet and translator, then as a biographer. Zweig travelled widely, living in Salzburg between the wars, and was an international bestseller with a string of hugely popular novellas including Letter from an Unknown Woman, Amok and Fear. In 1934, with the rise of Nazism, he moved to London, where he wrote his only novel Beware of Pity. He later moved on to Bath, taking British citizenship after the outbreak of the Second World War. With the fall of France in 1940 Zweig left Britain for New York, before settling in Brazil, where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in an apparent double suicide. Much of his work is available from Pushkin Press.
Charts every fluctuation of its heroine's inner turmoil and ends with an ingenious twist -- Julie Kavanagh The Economist Intelligent Life Brilliant, unusual and haunting enough to ensure that Stefan Zweig's time of oblivion is over for good. Zweig developed a remarkable literary and psychological method... brought to something like perfection. The story that most clearly exemplifies Zweig's method is Fear... it's good to have him back -- Salman Rushdie The New York Times Zweig belongs with those masters of the novella - Maupassant, Turgenev, Chekhov - of whom he was in awe. He was formidably well read, but in his fiction he is as much at ease with the unlettered as the learned... Stefan Zweig cherished the everyday imperfections and frustrated aspirations of the men and women he analysed with such affection and understanding -- Paul Bailey Times Literary Supplement [During his lifetime] arguably the most widely read and translated serious author in the world -- John Fowles
Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, a member of a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a translator and later as a biographer. Zweig travelled widely, living in Salzburg between the wars, and enjoying literary fame. His stories and novellas were collected in 1934. In the same year, with the rise of Nazism, he briefly moved to London, taking British citizenship. After a short period in New York, he settled in Brazil where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in bed in an apparent double suicide.