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The Last Days Paperback – October 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908968915
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908968913
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A novel of staggering beauty. We see into the inconsolable soul of the great humanist, become a pariah." - Le Nouvel Observateur

"A marvel, which will enchant all lovers of Zweig." Le Figaro

"This tragedy-Racine transplanted to the twentieth century-is told with talent by Laurent Seksik." - Livres Hebdo

"Laurent Seksik recounts this tragedy with a stunning gentleness." - Le Point

About the Author

Laurent Seksik trained as a doctor, was a radiologist in a Paris hospital and continues to practise medicine alongside his work as a writer. Before The Last Days (2010) he published Les Mauvaises Pensées (1999, translated into ten languages), La Folle Histoire (2004, awarded the Littré Prize) and several other books, including a biography of Albert Einstein. The Last Days was a bestseller in France and has been translated into ten languages. The novel has been adapted for the stage into a very successful play, and a film version is currently in production. Seksik lives and works in Paris

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erez Davidi on November 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
"The Last Days" is a rather unusual biography of the last months of Zweig's life from the time he left England for the US and later on to Brazil. I write unusual, because Seksik narrated the entire book through the stream of thoughts of Zweig and his wife. Seksik portrays Zweig as a tormented person, mainly because he felt guilty for fleeing Europe unharmed and living a rather easy life while his fellow Jews were suffering. It seems also that he was genuinely nervous that Hitler would take over the world and hunt him down. He was also broken down from the shattering of his former life, where nationalism didn't exist (at least in his own mind) and everyone in Europe was European and neither German nor French.

I found the writing to be good. However, this biography felt like a novel, which is not necessarily a bad thing if it's backed by facts. Yet by using the technique of telling the story of Zweig through his thoughts makes it rather speculative. This is a short and well written biography, but probably not the best place to read about the last days of Zweig.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hande Z on December 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stefan Zweig wrote in `The World of Yesterday' that `none of us in Germany and in Austria in 1933 and even 1934 thought that a hundredth, a thousandth part of what was to break upon us within a few weeks could be possible.' But Zweig, among his peers, was not only the most well-known writer of his day, but also the most prescient. In spite of the general incredulity, Zweig told his publisher `that the end of my books in Germany was in sight'. Within a year he fled, first to London, then New York, and finally, to Petropolis, in Brazil. His friends who remained in Europe were imprisoned or killed by the Nazis. Many of his intellectual friends such as Joseph Roth and Walter Benjamin committed suicide - a fate he too was to share.

Laurent Seksik's book was written as a fiction, but none of the names had been changed, nor any of the major events in the last six months of Stefan Zweig's life, the months from September 1941 to February 1942 represents a chapter. In these six months, Seksik skilfully shows what might have gone through the mind of the man whose books sold more than 60 million copies in more than 30 languages. Zweig and his second wife, Lotte Altmann, lived in hope that the Nazi nation might soon be vanquished and life as Zweig knew it in the Vienna of old would return. Despair won. Zweig was weighed down emotionally by the fact that he was a member of a race facing increasing persecution; that he was the first to flee and the last to survive - all his friends were killed or had killed themselves; that he was most proficient in German, a tongue he had grown increasingly to hate; that he had given up on his God, and more deeply, that his God had given up on His people.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ronald on January 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a chapter or so. Slow, muted, sad. Very much not of this age, but an earlier, tired one. Sorry.
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