"[C]aptures and encapsulates Europe in those uncertain hours before the upheaval of a continent and the annihilation of a civilization."—Cynthia Ozick, author of Quarrel and Quandary "[A] writer well worth adding to the short list of giants such as Thomas Mann, Elie Wiesel, and Primo Levi."—Hadassah Magazine, Sanford Pinsker
Who would have thought that seventy-three years after Joseph Roth’s lonely death in Paris, new editions of his translations would be appearing regularly? Roth, a transcendent novelist who also produced some of the most breathtakingly lyrical journalism ever written, is now being discovered by a new generation. Nine years in the making, this life through letters provides us with our most extensive portrait of Roth’s calamitous life—his father’s madness, his wife’s schizophrenia, his parade of mistresses (each more exotic than the next), and his classic westward journey from a virtual Hapsburg shtetl to Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, and finally Paris.
Containing 457 newly translated letters, along with eloquent introductions that richly frame Roth’s life, this book brilliantly evokes the crumbling specters of the Weimar Republic and 1930s France. Displaying Roth’s ceaselessly inventive powers, it finally charts his descent into despair at a time when “the word had died, [and] men bark like dogs.”
When Andreas Pum returns from World War I, he has lost a leg but gained a medal. But unlike his fellow sufferers, Pum maintains his unswerving faith in God, Government, and Authority. Ironically, after a dispute, Pum is imprisoned as a rebel, and all that he believed in is now thrown into upheaval. Moving along at a breakneck clip, Rebellion captures the cynicism and upheavals of a postwar society. Its jazz-like cadences mix with social commentary to create a wise parable about justice and society.
Roth’s signature lyrical elegance and haunting atmospheric details sing in The Hundred Days. “There may be,” as James Wood has stated, “no modern writer more able to combine the novelistic and the poetic, to blend lusty, undamaged realism with sparkling powers of metaphor and simile.”