The monumentality of this biographical work further establishes Joseph Roth—with Kafka, Mann, and Musil—in the twentieth-century literary canon.
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.”
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One of the many merits of “Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters” is that it helps fill in some of the blanks in the troubled and abbreviated life led by Roth...Read Full Review of Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters | See more reviews from NY Times
What’s especially striking about his correspondence...is how little of the writing life makes its way into the written life.Read Full Review of Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters | See more reviews from NY Times
Roth emerges in the letters as the tragic hero that he refused in his fiction.Read Full Review of Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters | See more reviews from Guardian
What these letters reveal, more clearly than any biography could, is Roth's heroism in not only refusing to put down his pen despite unbearable conditions but wielding it so skillfully until the end.Read Full Review of Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters | See more reviews from WSJ online
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