FEAR by STEFAN ZWEIG.
Irene Wagner has been married for eight years and is tired of her bourgeois and predictable existence as wife and mother. She starts an affair with an up-and-coming young pianist but finds herself being blackmailed by her lover's former mistress - Irene is soon in the grip of an agonising fear.
.... Inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Page 9): As Irene came down the stairs from her lover's apartment, again that pointless fear suddenly overwhelmed her.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 42): She danced as she had never danced in her life before. The circling eddies of the dance cut all melancholy out of her, the rhythm infected her limbs, breathing ardent movement into her body.
MY THOUGHTS: A short novella that packed one heck of a punch, Fear, essentially the story of one woman's guilt and inner turmoil, is a great psychological read that just gets better and better as it relentlessly builds up layer upon layer of paranoia, anxiety and menace until reaching its totally unexpected, one could argue disappointing, climax.
A powerful, melodramatic read, thoroughly engrossing, the feelings of angst totally palpable, this is a novel made even more exceptional by the fact that it is carried by so few characters. Characters who though not particularly likeable, their actions often contemptible, I did at least in the beginning find myself having a modicum of empathy with.
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#2: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine. I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.