Review of Messages from a Lost World by Stefan Zweig

Posted by in netgalley copy

Once upon a time, Netgalley gave me The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig, which I read, deemed acceptable, and then, somehow, decided I liked a lot more than it turns out I did, based on my review at the time. Basically, my entire interest in Zweig is rooted in the fact that he killed himself in Brazil, in part as a reaction to the Second World War. It just seems simultaneously so ballsy and yet so futile and stupid an action (it's hardly like Zweig killing himself in 1942 would have been as war-disrupting as Hitler or Goebbels or Hirohito doing the same). Still, my mind has Alien-facehuggered onto this sole fact, i.e. Stefan Zweig killed himself in Brazil!!!!!! ..... (also he wrote some things, I guess, maybe, whatever). But obviously, before he killed himself in Brazil, he wrote, amongst other things, the essays contained in Messages from a Lost World, which I read, while thinking of Austrian authors who killed themselves in Brazil. Did you know that Stefan Zweig was an Austrian author who killed himself in Brazil in 1942? You didn't? Well, let me tell you about Stefan Zweig who killed himself in Brazil in 1942...

Messages from a Lost World's essays (all of which were written prior to Zweig killing himself in Brazil in 1942) manage to be both dated and relevant at the same time. There's a lot of talk of men only, side-by-side with worries about ultra-nationalism and exceptionalism that seem written in reaction to Brexit and Trump. But then what? The struggle to override nationalism is continual, but I don't know what I'm supposed to do with the fact that Zweig was warning about this during fascism's thrall. I can't imagine Steve Bannon and Nigel Farange being like Hey, I should totally read these essays from 1920s to the 1940s by a dead Jewish Austrian man and then Oh my goodness, I now see the error of my ways regarding the dangers of nationalism, unless they too are somewhat obsessed with the fact that Zweig killed himself in Brazil in 1942 as a reaction to the Second World War. Do you think they are? Because I could tell you some things about an Austrian writer who killed himself in Brazil in 1942.

Messages from a Lost World by Stefan Zweig went on sale March 28, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

(Again, I checked the Are you interested in connecting with this author checkbox on Netgalley, but Stefan Zweig's ghost has yet to appear to me.
Boo.)