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Flight Without End Paperback – December 31, 2002

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Flight Without End + The Radetzky March (Works of Joseph Roth) + The Wandering Jews
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Product Details

  • Series: Works of Joseph Roth
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook TP (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585673854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585673858
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Roth has the technique and style of a major writer ... his prose is always equal to the diverse effects he demands of it-nicely modulated irony, lyrical flights, hard concrete descriptive passages." -- The New Republic

"Roth, who until his death in 1939, was among the prominent of German writers in exile. His taut style ... details without pity the inner life of the inauthentic self." -- The New York Times

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on March 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
In my approach to this amazing writer Joseph Roth, I found the following sentence by the doyen of literary critics in Germany, a man called Reich-Ranicki (a survivor from the Polish ghettos, now 90 years old). He is quoted on the back of the German pocket book edition of Flight without End as saying that Roth put the protagonists of his tales under a light as clear as glass. I keep thinking about that and it strikes me as a good approximation. Roth's people are not described with many words, but with an uncanny precision, and mostly through their words and actions.

Flucht ohne Ende is in a way unusual for Roth. Not so much the story: the life of a former Austrian officer in WW1, who gets captured by the Russians, is a POW in Siberia, escapes and hides with a Polish drifter in Siberia, assumes a Polish identity, tries to walk home after the war is over, gets caught by the Whites, freed by the Reds, falls in love, becomes a revolutionary, moves on, to the Caucasus, then back to Austria, then to stay with his wealthy brother in the Rhineland, then to look for his former bride in Berlin, then to Paris... The story of a de-rooted man in the turbulences of post-war Europe. Nobody in the whole world is as superfluous as he.

While the plot looks like a typical Roth, including reminiscences of Radetzky March, the writing is a bit different. It starts with a 7 line foreword, dated 1927, and signed Joseph Roth, where he claims that the following is pure fact, the life of his friend Franz, based partly on what Franz has told him and partly on writing from Franz himself. (This is a trick frequently used, e.g. by Nabokov, but untypical for Roth.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A reader on August 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Austrian Lt. Franz Tunda, the main character of Roth's "Flight Without End," escapes from a Russian prisoner-of-war camp during World War I. He hides out in Siberia until the war ends, then attempts to return to his former life in Vienna. On the way, Tunda becomes enmeshed in the turbulence of post-war Europe, a world that seems to have utterly lost its bearings.

Although it would be a stretch to characterize his decade-long effort to get home as a full-fledged Odyssey, the kaleidoscopic variety of his travels and exploits do lend the book some of the marvelously dramatic qualities of the epic genre. Tunda is a brutal footsoldier drafted to fight for the Bolshevik revolution; a mild-mannered Soviet functionary in faraway Baku; a free spirit smothered by the bourgeois conformity of Roth's unnamed but familiar "city on the Rhine"; a love-besotted flaneur on the boulevards of Paris.

Much of Roth's work grapples with the demise of the 19th century's certainties in the aftermath of World War I. In this "Flight without End," the possibilities of life are, both for better and for worse, greatly expanded.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on March 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
.... You can't catch me! I'm the gingerbread man!"

Franz Tunda, the principal figure in "Flucht ohne Ende", is a sort of gingerbread man, kneaded into shape more by events than by his own will. He's a skilled escapist, yet he's captured - literally - in the first sentence of the novella; a lieutenant in the Austrian army of WW1, he becomes a prisoner in pre-revolutionary Russia. He escapes from the prison camp - immediately, in the third sentence! - and finds asylum with a hermit woodcutter/huntsman in Siberia. Assuming his protector's family name, he runs again, having learned months after the fact that the war is over. But he's caught again, first by Whites and then by Reds, well short of home in Austria. This time he's captured emotionally as well, falling in love with his captor, the Revolutionary Woman. Kneaded into plausible Communist cookie-shape by his Pasionaria, he spends the next several years slipping away from various configurations of his identity in the New Utopia of Communism, and then runs full speed frantically out of Russia toward ....

Toward what is always the question. Does the Gingerbread Boy ever have an idea of where his flight will take him? And what if he does escape? Where will he be then?

Franz Tunda escapes to Western Europe - Germany and France - and to "modernity". In both, he is utterly superfluous. The resourceful escape artist has no resources for staying put. Without work, without money, without any useful identity except his knack for expanding upon his adventures in Siberia, he is the prototypical random particle in the cloud chamber of modern times. The book will end with him standing at a corner in Paris, with no sense of what direction to flee toward next. And that's where author Joseph Roth finds him.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Light on June 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this novella, the hero drifts from place to place after returning to Europe from exile in Siberia, where he had been sent as a prisoner of war. I would describe this as minor Roth, in which the skilled journalist has not yet given way to the brilliant novelist. He describes some interesting encounters with his characteristic wit, but the book does not build momentum or lead anywhere in particular. The hero ends up describing himself, like a character from Lermontov, as a superfluous man.

For the Roth fans who will read this short book, I will cite one passage among several that struck me, about a "rich landed proprietor":

"Social sense is a luxury which the rich allow themselves and which has the further practical advantage of serving, to some extent, to maintain property. [Klara's] father loved to drink a little glass of wine with his head forester, to take a brandy with the forester, and to exchange a word with the assistant forester. Even social sense is able to make subtle distinctions. He would never allow any of his servants to pull on his boots, he used a bootjack out of common decency. His children had to wash in snow in the winter, travel the long road to school alone, climb up to their pitch-dark rooms at eight o'clock and make their own beds. Nowhere in the neighborhood were domestic servants better treated. Klara had to iron her vests with her own hands. In short, the old man was a man of principle and fibre, a virtuous landowner, a living defence against socialism, respected far and wide and elected to the Reichstag, where he demonstrated as a member of the conservative party that reaction and humanity are not irreconcilable opposites.
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