Book Review | The Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Birth: November 28, 1881, Austria

Death: February 22, 1942, Brazil

Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig
Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig - 1945

Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, Austria. In addition to being a novelist; was also a playwright, journalist and biography writer. His recognition in the world of literature provided with stories like The Burning Secret, Chess, Fear, Amok, Confusion...

I would like to share with you today; The Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig.


I read this book after "Chess Story", which was wholeheartedly and rhythmically written, this piece of work was a bit tasteless, a bit too stretched at times and mechanistic. But this is a brilliant short novel told through the eyes of a young boy, Edgar, who is on holiday with his mother at a resort. A baron, who is a narcissist and flirtatious guest at the hotel takes a fancy to his mother, and befriends Edgar in order to try to seduce her. Edgar's mother also learns hard lessons when she weighs her marriage and her obligations to her family against the temptation to carry on an affair with an attractive stranger. It also allows you to make comparisons between past and present. A hundred years past and we live in a different world, but still same problems exist... Perhaps what we have to think about while reading this story is the difference between our attitude towards the people who have contributed to us and our attitude towards the people we have just met. I think the story is worth reading.


“Nothing gives so keen an edge to the intelligence as a passionate suspicion.” /Stefan Zweig
“He had no taste for his own company and avoided such an encounter as much as possible, for the last thing he wanted was to make close acquaintance with himself.” /Stefan Zweig
“The clouds floating white and restless in the sky were those you see only in May or June. They were innocent companions, still young and flighty, who ran playfully across the blue road to hide suddenly behind high mountains, linking arms and running away, sometimes crumpling up like handkerchiefs, sometimes unravelling into streamers, and eventually playing a practical joke by setting themselves down on the mountain like white caps.” /Stefan Zweig
The power of love is not properly gauged if it is estimated only by the object that inspires it, if the tension preceding it is not taken into account–that gloomy space of disillusionment and loneliness which stretches in front of all the great events of the heart./Stefan Zweig
A first premonition of the rich variety of life had come to him; for the first time he thought he had understood the nature of human beings – they needed each other even when they appeared hostile, and it was very sweet to be loved by them./Stefan Zweig

The Burning Secret Quotes
“The woman has a dangerous decision to confront, whether she will live her own life, or that of her children, whether she will be a woman first or a mother first.”

She was at that crucial age when a women begins to regret having stayed faithful to a husband she never really loved, when the glowing sunset colors of her beauty offer her one last, urgent choice between maternal and feminine love. At such a moment a life that seemed to have chosen its course long ago is questioned once again, for the last time the magic compass needle of the will hovers between final resignation and the hope of erotic experience./Stefan Zweig
He was the kind of young man whose handsome face has brought him plenty of success in the past and is now ever-ready for a new encounter, a fresh-experience, always eager to set off into the unknown territory of a little adventure, never taken by surprise because he has worked out everything in advance and is waiting to see what happens, a man who will never overlook any erotic opportunity, whose first glance probes every woman’s sensuality, and explores it, without discriminating between his friend’s wife and the parlour-maid who opens the door to him. Such men are described with a certain facile contempt as lady-killers, but the term has a nugget of truthful observation in it, for in fact all the passionate instincts of the chase are present in their ceaseless vigilance: the stalking of the prey, the excitement and mental cruelty of the kill. They are constantly on the alert, always ready and willing to follow the trail of an adventure to the very edge of the abyss. They are full of passion all the time, but it is the passion of a gambler rather than a lover, cold, calculating and dangerous. Some are so persistent that their whole lives, long after their youth is spent, are made an eternal adventure by this expectation. Each of their days is resolved into hundreds of small sensual experiences – a look exchanged in passing, a fleeting smile, knees brushing together as a couple sit opposite each other – and the year, in its own turn, dissolves into hundreds of such days in which sensuous experience is the constantly flowing, nourishing, inspiring source of life./Stefan Zweig
The strength of a love is always misjudged if we evaluate it by its immediate cause and not the stress that went before it, the dark and hollow space full of disappointment and loneliness that precedes all the great events in the heart’s history. /Stefan Zweig

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