Book Review: Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig

Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig Another book republished in the NYRB Classics series, Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig is about a German man who does well at his job, and is asked by his employer to become his private secretary. He initially turns down the job, as it would require him to move to his employer’s family home, but he later accepts the job.

Without knowing it at first, he falls in love with his boss’s wife. The realization hits him after he agrees to go to Mexico for a lengthy project for his company. He sees just after and suddenly imagines not being able to see her daily, as he’s done up until now. He finds out that the feelings were mutual, but they aren’t able to do much about it before he has to leave.

The rest of the book follows his time in Mexico, with years going by, a world war beginning and ending, until finally he is able to return to Europe. Although he has since married, he wants to see this woman he fell in love with many years ago, and the book focuses on this later meeting. I wasn’t really surprised at how it turned out, but it seemed like there could have been a little more to the book. It was simple and short, but maybe because so much of it was building up to something that could happen but didn’t, it was a little disappointing.

I did like the book, but I just didn’t feel as enthused about it after I’d finished it. I’d previously read another book by Zweig — The Post-Office Girl — and I think I just liked that one a bit more.

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