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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Variations on a theme
Stefan Zweig is a superb story teller, and the four stories in this volume, all ending in the suicide of the principal character, are full of atmospheric descriptions - of character, of landscape, of atmosphere - and of narrative tension. It does not really matter that the first two stories are inherently incredible. In each of these there is a man instantly possessed...
Published on 12 Jun. 2008 by Ralph Blumenau

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amok Time
The four short, intense stories in this anthology may reveal much about the author, given the pertinent details of the end of Zweig's life. That conclusion may also be far too pat.

Comparisons with Conrad rather flatter Zweig, since Conrad is oddly a much more 'modern' author, despite the fact that Conrad's work is older.

The breathless, almost...
Published on 20 May 2007 by Michael Cope


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Variations on a theme, 12 Jun. 2008
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Amok and Other Stories (Pushkin Collection) (Paperback)
Stefan Zweig is a superb story teller, and the four stories in this volume, all ending in the suicide of the principal character, are full of atmospheric descriptions - of character, of landscape, of atmosphere - and of narrative tension. It does not really matter that the first two stories are inherently incredible. In each of these there is a man instantly possessed to the point of madness by an elegant woman, in each case a social superior. Class and race differences play a strong role: in the first case, set in the Dutch East Indies, the wealthy wife of a merchant is superior to a doctor and the white doctor is superior to the natives; in the second the worshipper of the baroness is a waiter. The third story is more credible, and here it is a peasant servant who is devoted to her baronial master.

Zweig's obsession with suicide in these stories of course have a particular poignancy in view of his own suicide, nowhere more so than in the last story, in which a Russian commits suicide far from home. This was written in 1936, two years after he had himself left his native Austria and six years before he ended his own life in a foreign land.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discovering a master, 16 Jan. 2010
By 
H. Carlton "autobiogfreak" (London, Eng.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Amok and Other Stories (Pushkin Collection) (Paperback)
A close friend had been urging Stefan Zweig on me for many years until I finally succumbed. I must say that of all his stories, AMOK is one of my favourites.
Zweig has the skill of instantly transporting the reader into his story and completely involving him/her with the characters, making the reader need to know what will happen so much that he cannot read fast enough. I don't understand how he achieves this breathless quality, but he is the most readable of intelligent authors, and if you have to pay 9.99 for a short novella, you still feel you have had every penny of value, for he squeezes into a hundred pages more than most writers get into 500. How? Read and marvel.
He has a masterful insight into people's basic emotions and behaviour and would obviously have made a great psychiatrist. He does not waste a word. He condenses into a few pages so much emotion, passion, feeling and disillusionment that you are quite breathless at the end. Stunning.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amok Time, 20 May 2007
By 
Michael Cope (Staffordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Amok and Other Stories (Pushkin Collection) (Paperback)
The four short, intense stories in this anthology may reveal much about the author, given the pertinent details of the end of Zweig's life. That conclusion may also be far too pat.

Comparisons with Conrad rather flatter Zweig, since Conrad is oddly a much more 'modern' author, despite the fact that Conrad's work is older.

The breathless, almost melodramatic, pace of Amok reminded this reviewer of Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu stories. It is, however, a fine story, full of atmosphere; an expertly rendered depiction of a man who, having failed to fulfil his expectations, let alone his dreams, plummets almost willingly into obsession and despair.

The odd clunky phrase 'white as a sheet', 'dark, black night' may be more the work of the translator. Having said that, Anthea Bell surely does well with the character of Crescenz in Leporella and her rural German accent.

One final note, this little book is nicely produced but turns out to be a little too delicate for those of us forced to do much of our reading out of overnight bags. The edges of the covers wear too easily.

Michael Cope 20/05/07
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short stories in the classical tradition, 13 Sept. 2008
By 
Thomas Cunliffe "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Amok and Other Stories (Pushkin Collection) (Paperback)
This collection of four stories, reflects the imminent tragedy of Zweig's life (he committed suicide in 1942, believing that the Nazi regime were about to win the war), for they all end in a suicide, causing the reader to wonder how far Zweig had conditioned himself to the thought of death by his own hand in the years leading up to his own demise. In reading this I was reminded of W G Sebald's book The Emigrants, in which his characters also take their own lives.

The stories are rich with understanding of people under pressure. Zweig was a master of describing the agonies of people beset by a burning conscience, the pain of a thwarted desire to return to loved ones, the pain of unrequited love. His characters are people who feel things more deeply than most, who are unable to shrug off emotional pressure or to find escape in diversionary activities. They live on the existential edge of their mental suffering and find no balm in the consolation of friendship or the beauties of nature. The stories serve as a reminder that tragedy can strike anyone, however settled, particularly those who step outside their settled lives, whether voluntarily, in seeking a better life for themselves, or involuntarily through the effects of war or social disruption.

The subjects of these stories feel things greatly. Where others may be upset, these people are desperate. Where others feel affection for a friend, these feel a passionate force that dominates their lives. Where a mistake has been made, Zweig's characters feel a conscience so great that it drives them to distraction. And yet as the newspapers show every day, these things happen in real life, and perhaps Zweig was more plugged into the realities of emotional extremity than those with more settled minds.

Zweig fans will want to own this book, as indeed would anyone who enjoys the short-story tradition of classical European literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real writer, 2 Nov. 2013
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Today, when every tom dick or harry thinks they can write a book, but more often than not, come up with a lot of empty words and contrived situations with little substance or feeling involved, Stephan Sweig reminds us what real writing is about. Utterly from the heart from a born writer.Too sensitive as a person for his own good sadly and he committed suicide aged only 60, shortly after completing his marvellous and greatly moving autobiography, The World Of Yesterday
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stefan Zweig at his best., 27 Dec. 2013
By 
Vivek K. Sarawgi (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Amok and Other Stories (Pushkin Collection) (Paperback)
I am a fan of Stefan Zweig, He is a master of his craft. Go buy it and give your self a treat.
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Amok and Other Stories (Pushkin Collection)
Amok and Other Stories (Pushkin Collection) by Anthea Bell (translator) (Paperback - 23 Feb. 2007)
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