Summary

In the twilight of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a young cavalry officer is invited to a dance at the home of a rich landowner.
There - with a small act of attempted charity - he commits a simple faux pas. But from this seemingly insignificant blunder comes a tale of catastrophe arising from kindness and of honour poisoned by self-regard.
Beware of Pity has all the intensity and the formidable sense of torment and of character of the very best of Zweig's work. Definitive translation by the award-winning Anthea Bell.
©1976 Atrium Press, 2011 Anthea Bell (P)2017 Ukemi Productions Ltd
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Critic reviews

"Zweig’s fictional masterpiece." ( Guardian)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By George on 19-05-18

Pity the listener.

It just goes on and on and on and on and on, the whole thing was just a self centered dirge.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Zaubermond on 21-03-18

One of my favorite authors

Along with Alexander Lernet-Holenia and Márai Sàndor, Stefan Zweig is a jewel in the literary crown of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Beware of Pity is a period piece, an all too brief glimpse at a world forever lost.

It is a story which may seem quaint in our time now that honor, manners, and human decency are thin on the ground. But it fascinates for all that.

Zweig is often dismissed by the superficial reader as “sentimental.” Yes, he can be. He was, after all, a Viennese very much of his time.

But such a reading is shallow and simplistic. To dismiss Zweig with a supercilious sniff is to miss not only a visit to his evocative fictional world, but to his deep understanding of character and conflict.

I love his work all the more as I get older, and enjoy returning to his fictional Wien. He is an author with whom I never fail to lose myself utterly.

This reading is simply extraordinary. With so many clueless narrators slaughtering foreign languages with the most grotesque pronunciation, Boulton’s performance is glorious, even musical, as befits the author himself. I enjoyed every minute.

I hope someone will bring us another of Zweig’s extraordinary novels, The Post Office Girl.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Thomas on 07-08-17

Masterpiece that is also extremely enjoyable

If you could sum up Beware of Pity in three words, what would they be?

Extremely enjoyable masterpiece

Have you listened to any of Nicholas Boulton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first time I listened and his performance is excellent

Who was the most memorable character of Beware of Pity and why?

The doctor, because he gives off an amazing amount of philosophy, advice, background history, opinion and is a very colorful character in everyday life as well.

Any additional comments?

The reading of this book could not have done a better job, it was excellent. There are so many layers to this story and different references to pity. Besides pity to the girl Edit these is also pity elicited to the lieutenant. In addition, the father of Edit is in need of pity. There are substories within the story which are of high interest as well. The entire story is packed with meaning and submeaning. In addition the mood is set so well that the reader can feel the mood of that period in Vienna and the mindset of a soldier and the atmosphere of the times. Zweig is a master at conveying mood and bringing the reader into his world. The writing is very erudite and there is philosophy at every corner. On top of all that, the story comes off anything but dry and instead is immensely entertaining. This is a classic for all time.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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