Zweig’s Last Novel

527_large1 In the NY Sun, a review of The Post-Office Girl:

In his last, posthumously published novel, “The Post-Office Girl” (NYRB Classics, 272 pages, $14), translated by Joel Rotenberg, the Viennese writer Stefan Zweig describes the effects of this crushing bureaucratic wheel on one of its smallest cogs. Unlike Kafka, his contemporary, who made a nightmare parody of officialdom, Zweig is scrupulously realistic. The little post office where Christine Hoflehner toils in the desolate hamlet of Klein-Reifling — it is “two hours from Vienna,” but might as well be on the moon — is rendered in stifling detail. Christine’s life is as tabulated as the inventories she must compile. She is only 28 but “seems good for at least another twenty-five years of service,” and during those years to come:

Her hand with its pale fingers will raise and lower the same rattly wicket thousands upon thousands of times more, will toss hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of letters onto the cancelling desk with the same swivelling motion, will slam the blackened brass canceller onto hundreds of thousands or millions of stamps with the same brief thump.