One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Finished the Unfinished "Post-Office Girl"

It was left unfinished at Zweig's death.

In Part 2 Bonnie and Clyde (Christine and Ferdinand) are planning the perfect crime: stealing money from her post office (she's the only clerk) right before a holiday (thus more time to make their getaway).

The "earlier version"of their exit--i.e., before Ferdinand saw all the money in the drawer and hatched the "harder" plan of stealing the money and living on the lam--was eerily close to the real life exit of Zweig and his young wife (except Christine and Ferdinand would've used a gun instead of poison).

Why do they want to commit this crime? Why did they want to commit suicide? Zweig paints it more deftly than I can deliver it here (and even then some "suspending disbelief" is required), but it's basically the unbeatable between-the-wars "system" that is backing them into a corner of desperation.

Ferdinand is the genius behind the theft and stays up all night writing the plan:
I. The Crime Itself
II. Avoiding Capture
III. Plans for Life Abroad, Etc.
IV. Plans in the Event of Misadventure or Discovery
V. Summary
The novel ends abruptly after Christine has read the summary and agrees to go through with it:

              He looked at her, brightly, lucidly, but without cheer. "No going back?"
              "No."
              "Wednesday the tenth, at six?"
              She returned his gaze and held out her hand.
              "Yes."
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