Fantastic Night is the story of one transforming evening in the life of a rich and bored young man. He spends a day at the races and an evening in the seedy but thrilling company of the dregs of society. His experiences jolt him out of his languor and give him a newfound relish for life, which is then cut short by the Great War. The Invisible Collection and Buchmendel, two of Zweig's most powerful works, explore lives led in the single minded pursuit of art and literature against a backdrop of poverty and corruption. Letter from an Unknown Woman is a poignant and heartbreaking tale of the strength and madness of unrequited love. This story was made into a film by Max Ophuls starring Joan Fontaine (1948). In The Fowler Snared, it is the man whose passion remains unrequited. Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman is the story of a middle-aged English widow who travels to escape loneliness and boredom. One evening while enjoying the elegant atmosphere of the Monte Carlo Casino, she becomes mesmerised by the obsessive gambling of a young Polish aristocrat. This fateful encounter leads to passion, despair and death, changing their lives forever.
Translated from the German by Eden and Cedar Paul, Stefan Zweig's Selected Stories is published by Pushkin Press.