It had to be a gem of a book today and I hope you think it is.
Discovering The World of Yesterday, the autobiography of Stefan Zweig this year has been to add one of those 'gold dust' books to my shelves.
It's Stefan Zweig's eyes that I am always drawn to whenever I see a picture of him; few have eyes that seem to show sorrow and joy at the same time but his do.
A man of great self-effacing humility coupled with a vast and unerringly perceptive and sensitive vision of the world around him. Casting that eye as he does over the early part of the twentieth century and offering his view of a world in turmoil makes for incredibly moving and enlightening reading.
I've read half in the old University of Nebraska edition and am reading the second half in the new Anthea Bell translation published by Pushkin Press and I'm not rushing this one, there is too much to miss and I don't want to miss a single detail.
My thanks to Pushkin for three prize draw copies of The World of Yesterday wrapped in this beautiful cover (and I agreed to add the Arts Council funding logo at their request) and thanks too for news of more Stefan Zweig to come in 2010.
Fear will be published in January and I'll be first in the queue once the ink's dry.
'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. 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.'
Names in comments for the chance to win a copy of The World of Yesterday and read up the early twentieth century in a way you may never have quite read it before.