Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Of the many recent novels he had devoured very few had struck him as really important; and of these The Corner Grocery was easily first. Among dozens of paltry books pushed into notoriety it was the only one entitled to such distinction. Readers all over the country had felt its evident sincerity, and its title had become the proverbial epithet of the smalltown atmosphere.
Some of the novels people talked about most excitedly--Price of Meat, say, already in its seventieth thousand, or Egg Omelette, which had owed its start to pulpit denunciations and the quarrel of a Prize Committee over its exact degree of indecency--well, he had begun both books with enthusiasm, as their authors appeared to have; and then, at a certain point, had felt the hollowness underfoot, and said to himself: "No, life's not like that, people are not like that. The real stuff is way down, not on the surface."
I'm just guessing, but I think that The Corner Grocery is a reference to Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (which lost the Pulitzer Prize to Wharton's Age of Innocence in 1920 because the committee thought it was unflattering to small-town America). Could Price of Meat be The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? And I originally thought that Egg Omelette was a reference to West Egg in The Great Gatsby, but further research told me it's meant to be Ulysses by James Joyce. There are also multiple references to the Pulsifer Prize . . . what could that possibly be?
There's also a mention of Zola that I found delightful:
Nothing else new about him--might have worked up his method out of Zola. Probably did."
"Zola--who's he?" somebody yawned.
"Oh, I dunno. The French Thackeray, I guess."
"See here, fellows, who's read Thackeray, anyhow?"
"Nobody since Lytton Strachey, I guess."
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
|Nice cover on this German edition. |
Could it be Lake Como or Lake Geneva?
The Star Above the Forest: A waiter falls in love with an unobtainable countess. One of the shortest stories, but heartbreaking, beautiful prose.
I'm both glad I finally got around to reading this, and annoyed with myself for waiting so long! I definitely want to read more Zweig. I've also read The Post-Office Girl and Chess Story, both of which I loved, and I still have Beware of Pity unread on my TBR shelves -- might save it for next year's European Reading Challenge! I'm also tempted to buy his Collected Novellas and some of his other works published by Pushkin Press. I had actually resolved not to buy any new books this year but I do have a birthday coming up in a few months!