Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Prague, Czech Republic
Uluru, Australia
  • Location: Vienna, Klein Reifling

Post Office Girl

Post Office Girl

Why a Booktrail?

1920’s: Stefan Zweig is the writer to read in order to learn about life and times in the city of Vienna in all its forms.

  • ISBN: 978-0954221720
  • Genre: Historical

What you need to know before your trail

A poor, young postal worker, Christine gets the chance of a lifetime to have a very brief, but wonderfully transforming vacation from her poverty-stricken life.

She lives only to help and take care of her ailing and dependent mother so when her American aunt she’s never heard of offers her a way out, she understandably jumps at the chance. But then without warning, her aunt cuts her loose and she has to return to her humble beginnings.

It’s a tragic version of the Cinderella story, as in this version there is no glass slipper and no Prince Charming. Christine is given the chance to taste the luxury of  a prince and all the trappings of a new life -but without getting her happy ending.

Travel Guide

Set in 1920‘s Austria at a time when the world is in economic turmoil due to the First World War, Austria is full of those who have lost out financially and otherwise. It is in this stark and hungry reality that we meet Christine.

The scenes where Christine Hoflehner, in her late 20s, is working as a lowly postal clerk in a small Austrian village are the most poignant. Having lost both her father and brother to the war, she is now living alone in poverty with her seriously ill mother. Her country is defeated and now so is she. However the war has ended but her situation still goes on –

“Now it’s creeping back out, hollow-eyed, broad-muzzled, hungry and bold, and eating what’s left in the gutters of the war.”

Stefan Zweig’s own history is inherent in this book – leaving Austria and finding refuge in England after Hitler comes to power only to commit suicide in 1942 alongside his wife due to the fear of a German victory in the war. Interestingly the title in German is Der Rausch der Verwandlung – ‘The intoxication of transformation’ which gives a rather more apt description of what this book is about.

As Christine returns from the world of wealth and hope, its back into this Vienna that she returns – a world from which all hope has gone not to mention the country is on its knees financially and spiritually. when she meets Ferdinand, a bitter war veteran and disappointed architect, she sees something in him that she shares. Their relationship develops into a discovery of another bitter world within this cruel, hopeless one.

“The vast power of money, mighty when you have it and mightier when you don’t, with its divine gift of freedom and the demonic fury it unleashes on those forced to do without it…”

Read it for an introduction into life in Austria during the 1920s and a period of transformation and upheaval that Zweig captivates so well.

Back to Results

Featured Book

The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder

2023:  What antique would you kill for?

Read more