books > The Post Office Girl
the post office girl
by stefan zweig
Translated by Joel Rotenburg
Christine toils in a provincial post office in Austria just after World War One, a country gripped by unemployment. Out of the blue, a telegram arrives from her rich American aunt inviting Christine to a resort in the Swiss Alps. Immediately she is swept up into a world of inconceivable wealth and unleashed desire. She feels herself utterly transformed: nothing is impossible. But then, abruptly, her aunt cuts her loose and Christine is forced to return to the Post office where nothing will ever be the same.
In this haunting yet compassionate reworking of the Cinderella story, Zweig shows us the human cost of the boom and bust of capitalism. The Post Office Girl was completed during the 1930s as Zweig was driven by the Nazis into exile, and was found among his papers after his suicide in 1942. It is available here for the first time in English.
“In the years between the two world wars, Stefan Zweig was one of the most popular writers in the world, and probably the most widely translated. He wrote stories, essays, biographies, memoirs, and countless cultural and historical studies. Among his novels, the two that are best known are Letter from an Unknown Woman and The Post Office Girl, the latter published posthumously. He was born in 1881 into a wealthy Viennese merchant family; his father and mother were Jewish, but only, as he said later, through an accident of birth, for the Zweigs were thoroughly assimilated - or at least thought they were, until the Nazis arrived and informed them otherwise.” Read John Banville’s review in The Guardian