Eddie Watkins's Reviews > Chess Story

Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
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's review
Sep 01, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: austrian-fiction

If this weren't so short and breezy I might've given it 5 stars. Almost anything I could say about this would be giving something away, and with a work so short I wouldn't want to diminish any of the many pleasures available to a reader of this book.

But I will say there's a very interesting contrast set up between the two main characters, one of whom is seemingly autistic and can only understand what he can lay his actual hands on, while the other excels in understanding pure products of the mind. This pairing, in its simplest form, seems to represent the brute unsophisticated but "intelligent" Nazis and sophisticatedly intelligent cosmopolitanism. I won't reveal who triumphs.

There was something almost Borgesian about aspects of this novella, which of course elevates its interest considerably.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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lisa_emily Hmm... reading this review sparked a memory of another book for me- ah, and I remembered- "The Defense" by Nabokov- I read it and reviewed it last October: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/81...

Now I definitely want to read this and compare to my memory of that book, but also to compare that language of the Zweig book I had just read.

Eddie Watkins This really is a great little book, but so short! I'd like a nice thick book of Zweig's works, rather than a shelf full of these skinny little things; though somehow the skinniness is appropriate, but just for the sake of my wallet I'd prefer a big book!

Also, the Borges thing I mentioned was really just a whiff of a scent during a particular passage, but it seemed to be there.

I haven't read The Defense yet, but I'll get to it.

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