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A suave baron takes a fancy to twelve-year-old Edgar's mother, while the three are holidaying in an Austrian mountain resort. His initial advances rejected, the baron befriends Edgar in order to get closer to the woman he desires. The initially unsuspecting child soon senses something is amiss, but has no idea of the burning secret that is driving the affair, and that will soon change his life for ever.
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Breathtaking... the final sentence is unlike anything I have ever read before; and transforms not only the book, but, in a way, the reader as well (Nicholas Lezard The Guardian)
Zweig is the most adult of writers; civilised, urbane, but never jaded or cynical; a realist who none the less believed in the possibility—the necessity—of empathy (The Independent)
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.
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