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Publisher's 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

Critic Reviews

"Zweig’s fictional masterpiece." (Guardian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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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  • Alma Crawford
  • 06-28-17

Brilliant tangle of class, disability, and sex.

Set in an idealized Hapsburg Austria, characters lack the emotional maturitu/dexterity to manage attraction, disappointment, disparity, or constraint leading to disaster. I read it as an allegory alongside "The World of Yesterday."

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