This is a blog about my reads as well as everything related to them.
My taste is for good quality literature - old and new. Some of it I review here or on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany.
Monaco is a tiny principality at the Riviera, a modern city state attracting the rich and the glamorous as well as social climbers and tourists who just want to taste high life. Well-to-do people always loved the place and had the habit of spending money lavishly there – not least in the casinos of Monte Carlo. Since 1856 the country has been a gamblers’ paradise which easily turns into a hell for those who become addicted and lose more than they can afford. Such doomed characters have also found their way into literature. One of them is a young Polish-Austrian aristocrat whose presence at the roulette table accounts for special Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman which Stefan Zweig tells in his novella.
The protagonist of Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman is a distinguished Englishwoman of sixty-seven who one night in 1904 tells the young narrator an embarrassing episode from her life hoping that this confession of a sort will ease her conscience. He listens to her story which took place in Monte Carlo sometime around 1880. In the casino she passed her time observing the hands of the gamblers at the roulette table as her late husband had taught her. One night the eloquent hands of a young man scarcely older than her own two sons attracted her attention and she couldn’t let go of them anymore. She didn’t know then that the gambler they belonged to was a Polish-Austrian aristocrat, nor could she imagine that the encounter would put her life upside-down for twenty-four hours and make her jeopardize her good reputation in order to save him from himself. She couldn't help plunging into the adventure, but as it turned out it isn't as easy to reform a gambler as she had thought.
Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman is written in the typical style of its time of origin in the late 1920s. In German the diction of Stefan Zweig is characteristic of the Interwar Period and sounds slightly antiquated today, but the writer definitely succeeds in drawing the reader into his story with much ease as well as skill. It may not be the best of Stefan Zweig’s works, but definitely worth the time reading it!