Tag Archives: Letter from an Unknown Woman

Post 14 – A book that made you cry

As ever, thanks to Blogs of a Bookaholic for creating this challenge. 🙂

Here’s a little secret that only people like my closest friends; Tavi, Ellie… and a couple of cinemas-worth of people know: I cry really easily over books, films (although to a lesser extent now), poetry and songs.

Each book’s a new friend to me and so the characters’ concerns and endings can haunt me for days, weeks or even years- on a day walk last Sunday I started to well up simply because I saw a green light at the harbour and was reminded of a quote from the Great Gatsby:

“I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.”

It’s not only the sad moments that make reduce me to tears. Happy endings and the promise of forever – na zawsze, kochanie – can also do the same, although those are happy tears and come far less frequently.

So yes, I’m ridiculously sentimental, to quote Fitzgerald again (I’m in a Fitzgerald mood today, apologies to all), “a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.”

It is that quote that’s guided me in my choice of book today.

Letter From an Unknown Woman – Stefan Zweig

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

The story:
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 believed could exist.

I read and reviewed this novella back in March 2012 and goodness, it was heart-breaking to read. Imagine loving someone for the whole of your life and knowing that they’ll never really notice you, even when you’re conversing with them. Even if you spend the night together, for them it’ll be meaningless. Even if you send them a bunch of their favourite flowers on their birthday every year, they won’t ever care to find out who they’re from.

OK, I’m welling up just thinking about this story. Time to get on with less unhappy things. 🙂


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{Review} Letter from an Unknown Woman – Stefan Zweig

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


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European Reading Challenge

As hosted by rosecityreader

Reading List: (Click to read the review)
1) Une Forme de Vie – Nothomb – Belgium
2) Letter from an Unknown Woman – Zweig – Austria
3) The Royal Guest Pontoppidan – Denmark
4) Catherine the Great- Portrait of a Woman – Massie – Russia
5) Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Lady of Pleasure – J. Clelane – UK

Extra Books from other European Countries:
6) The Teutonic Knights – Sienkiewicz – Poland


Posted by on March 9, 2012 in European Reading Challenge


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