{Review} Letter from an Unknown Woman – Stefan Zweig

30 Mar

As read for European Reading Challenge (Austria)

This may just be my book of the year…


‘To you who never knew me… my child died yesterday’.

On his birthday, a famous writer receives a letter from a woman he does not know but who has loved him since she was a girl. As her life ebbs away at each stroke of her pen, he learns about a love he never knew could exist.

Zweig’s short stories are good, but Letter from an Unknown Woman blows all the ones I’ve read until now out of the water. The concept is simple, the characters are few and the story is short but this somehow made the lady’s tale still sadder. It also made her convincingly obsessed with the man she is writing to.

Her acceptance of his superficiality should have annoyed my inner-feminist. Instead it made my heart bleed to hear her recount the lack of recognition on the love of her life’s face at each chance (or otherwise) encounter. His employee on the other hand, recognised her immediately after not having seen her since she was a girl. This man evidently thought that all women are the same (ie. not worth remembering) even though he treats them courteously in the bed-room.

Wild Night In does not condone stalking BUT, and I don’t know how to explain this…  But when Edward-from-Twilight told Bella that he watched her every night when she slept, it was a bit creepy (especially as they had barely spoken before) and made me want to hit my head against things. In Letter from an Unknown Woman, the lady’s confession that she had sat and watched his window just seemed unbearably sad. She never demanded anything from him that he wasn’t willing to give.

Every twist or rather, unravelling of the plot spurred me to read on and hear this woman unburden herself of her story for the first and last time. I am going to break the self-imposed book buying ban for this one. It is worth it.

Wild Night In’s Verdict? WIN!


Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Books, European Reading Challenge


Tags: , , , , , , ,

11 responses to “{Review} Letter from an Unknown Woman – Stefan Zweig

  1. L.S. Engler

    March 31, 2012 at 00:20

    Oh, this does sounds really good! I might have to keep an eye out for it. Like Misery, but with a lot less crazy and a lot more melancholy. Thanks for sharing!

    • wildnightin

      April 2, 2012 at 18:22

      You’re welcome. Who’s Misery by? Crazy and melancholic books are good reads.

      • L.S. Engler

        April 2, 2012 at 18:39

        Stephen King! It’s a classic. A fan basically kidnaps her favorite writer and keeps him under (painful) house arrest to get him to finish writing his series that way she wants it. Super creepy. An exceptional level of creepiness was added by the fact that the author in the book was hit by a van…which happened to Stephen King himself after the book!

  2. Rose City Reader

    April 2, 2012 at 23:55

    Sounds compelling, but so sad.

    You are on a roll with your European Reading Challenge books! Four down!

    • wildnightin

      April 5, 2012 at 15:17

      It was beautiful and very haunting- even now I keep thinking back to some of the lines.

      Oh yes! 4 down 🙂

  3. Cathy

    April 24, 2012 at 06:43

    I’m familiar with this story from watching the 1948 movie that was based on Zweig’s story. Louis Jourdan… Joan Fontaine… I was a teenager in the mood for a tearjerker on the Late, Late Show. As an adult (having already read one of Zweig’s novels), I should read the story and see if I’m still in the mood for it. 🙂

  4. Novroz

    June 17, 2012 at 17:46

    Hi Cat…I found your review through google while trying to find out what this book is about.
    I like your review a lot and hoping you won’t mind if I shared the teaser in my blog and lead my reader to your blog for full review.

    • wildnightin

      June 18, 2012 at 13:32

      Hi. Feel free to use the teaser, it’s really nice to know that it’s been of use. 🙂
      Have a great day.


Speak your mind!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: