Started his novella collection Fantastic Night and other stories. He pretty much only wrote novellas. Oftentimes they started out novel-length, but he tended to cut them down a lot in the revision process. However, I still like them a lot. Zweig gets right to the heart of things. For instance, the title story is about a gentleman who’s kind of bored with life and over everything. And then he goes to the racetrack and lots of random things happen to him (he steals some money, almost sleeps with a prostitute, gets mugged, etc) and realizes that life is worth living! The story is extremely overwritten, but I wonder if that’s not part of its charm. In the hands of a minimalist, this change in his life would be very understated–at the end of the story, you’d think…hmm…maybe this guy’s life will be fractionally different.
But nope, in this story, he’s like: EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED, COLORS ARE BRIGHTER, I CAN SEE THE SUN, I LOVE ERRRRRRRRRBODY.
The story is about a crazy, intuitive mystical experience, such as happens to many people, but because there are so many words of internal musing, it doesn’t displace the experience onto the events. It’s very clear that these things aren’t causing the change in him so much as they’re just triggering it: most of the change is happening inside him. It is hard to explain. But worth reading.