The Burning Secret

Read by Lee Smalley

(4.6 stars; 47 reviews)

A lonely, convalescing 12 year-old boy and his attractive mother, who is in a loveless marriage, meet a gentleman while vacationing at a European resort. Seeking an enjoyable way to pass the time, the man schemes to seduce the woman with the unwitting help of the boy. The son, puzzled by the developing relationship, becomes increasingly isolated and suspicious as he loses his childish innocence in this gripping coming-of-age novella.

This work is translated from the original German, Brennendes Geheimnis, which has also been recorded for LibriVox.

Stefan Zweig was one of the world's most acclaimed writers during the 1920s and 1930s. He produced novels, plays, biographies and journals. He and his second wife committed suicide in 1942.
(Lee Smalley) (2 hr 33 min)


I The Partner 11:31 Read by Lee Smalley
II Quick Friendship 12:29 Read by Lee Smalley
III The Trio 9:04 Read by Lee Smalley
IV The Attack 9:38 Read by Lee Smalley
V The Elephants 7:39 Read by Lee Smalley
VI Skirmishing 10:26 Read by Lee Smalley
VII The Burning Secret 10:26 Read by Lee Smalley
VIII Silent Hostility 12:11 Read by Lee Smalley
IX The Liars 13:27 Read by Lee Smalley
X On the Trail 11:48 Read by Lee Smalley
XI The Surprise Attack 6:27 Read by Lee Smalley
XII The Tempest 11:58 Read by Lee Smalley
XIII Dawning Perception 8:26 Read by Lee Smalley
XIV Darkness and Confusion 7:36 Read by Lee Smalley
XV The Last Dream 10:51 Read by Lee Smalley


Delightful and Delicious!

(5 stars)

What a wonderful little gem of a story! I was drawn in from the beginning by the precocious child who is starved for attention and, upon getting it, throws all of his heart and passion into the adult who bestows it. With excellent narration the tale was near impossible to put down. Very very enjoyable! Thank you LibriVox and thank you Mr. Smalley.

(5 stars)

wondering why i had not heard of this author yet. Short, yet elaborate. Read by the reading with a good, comfortable flow. Listened to this before going to bed, by the end, my mind of more awake than it was 2-3 hours earlier.

(5 stars)

A very interesting novella. Though it is an older generation's psychology and a somewhat awkward translation from the German, it is a good story of a child's journey toward growth. The reader does a good job as well, even paced and clear.

E. L. Ruddle

(5 stars)

Youthful curiosity, confusion, desire, shame, discovery, awakening, love, forgiveness and human frailty are woven together to tell a story of a young boy’s tumultuous introduction to the complexities of life. Well written and well read.


(5 stars)

This is an amazing little novel by a much under-appreciated fiction writer. It is a wonderful coming of age story that is dark in its jaded realism yet hopeful in its wonder. And the reader is excellent!

(5 stars)

This was a very well written and entertaining piece of work. From an adolescent’s perspective it reminds me of my first understanding of life and it’s complexities.

Comedy with an edge

(4 stars)

12 year old boy takes revenge on the adults. Fine reading by Lee Smalley.

loved the story and the reader did a great job.

(5 stars)