First date with Stefan Zweigh...

Fantastic Night & Other Stories - Stefan Zweig

My first foray into Stefan Zweig’s writing. Not at all disappointing.

The book contains five stories, some a little longer than the others. Zweig presents various scenarios with the littlest of things which is quite amazing, in my opinion. His characters are few, his setting small, his stories well-craft. He delves into the psychological aspect of the characters, creating profound stories 

Fantastic Night 
The longest out of the five. Quite boring and wordy at first with all the narrator’s inner monologues on his detachment from the rest of the world, his cold indifference etc. The story gets interesting once he meets the woman and her husband. He plays tricks on them but what’s fascinating about the meeting is that their brief interaction is a no word, wholly action-centered. Resulting from this little malicious trick, he goes through some other alien circumstances that awakens something more humane in him, open his eyes and widens his perspective. He emerges in the wake of the event as a wholly changed—not necessarily better, but certainly a happier man.

Letter From an Unknown Woman 
A lengthy letter from an anonymous woman to a writer, who she’s been in love with or, more appropriately, obsesses over ever since she was a young girl. It is creepy and I just don’t get her love till the end. She only has few interactions with the man, which he never remember whenever he encounters her again. It is absurd too at his inability to remember her even after they’d slept together few times; they even have a son together! However, it is fun to see the story slowly unfolds.

The Fowler’s Snare 
My favorite. It’s short, and memorable. In here, a man tells his story from a previous summer to a companion on how he plays a trick on a girl, mistaking his interest as sympathy and indifference. In the end, his trick proves to be his undoing, as he is now doom to a life of unrequited love.

The Invisible Collection 
Okay…though to be honest, I don’t remember much about this one.

A cautionary tale on the danger of being too detaches from the society, to the point of being wholly unaware of whatever occurs inside it, and then tries to engage with it. I don’t like it.

3.5 stars