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The Hotel Years Paperback – September 29, 2015
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“This wonderful selection of journalism from the Weimar years, a period Roth spent in Paris, Germany and on the road, displays genius from every angle, as a rebel, a loyalist and a man of compassion.” (Jan Morris - Daily Telegraph)
“Roth's journalism creates a vivid sense of a continent on the brink of change.” (Independent on Sunday)
“Nonstop brilliance, irresistible charm and continuing relevance.” (Jeffrey Eugenides - New York Times Book Review)
“Joseph Roth has emerged as one of the greatest, certainly the most prescient, of the German writers of the entre-deux guerres'.” (TLS)
“Roth captures and encapsulates Europe in those uncertain hours before the upheaval of a continent and the annihilation of a civilization.” (Cynthia Ozick)
“A singular achievement of both journalism and literature.” (Thane Rosenbaum - The Washington Post Book World)
“His was a voice of uncowed conscience and irrepressible humanism, his body of work a damning j’accuse against the folly of the age. The dispatches in The Hotel Years constitute a compelling vindication of his claims for the feuilleton’s literary possibilities.” (Houman Barekat - Los Angeles Review of Books)
“So consistently incisive that we devour the lot, compulsively, from cover to cover.” (Amanda Hopkinson - The Independent)
“Roth was as equally magisterial and entertaining in his journalism as he was in his novels, and Michael Hofmann’s new selection of Roth’s nonfiction, his fourteenth translation of Roth’s overall, is thoroughly addictive.” (André Naffis-Sahely - Paris Review)
“Dazzling, elegiac, mordant and harrowingly oracular by turn.” (George Prochnik - New York Times Book Review)
“The Hotel Years is a master class in journalism, and a reminder that when a writer can play multiple small notes, he creates a full composition that carries the depth of meaning.” (Juan Vidal - NPR Books)
“Roth’s hotel years came to an abrupt end in the Old World. Thankfully, his account of them, and of the turbulent cross-currents of his age, live on in exquisite collections such as this one.” (Malcolm Forbes - The American Interest)
“Brilliantly perceptive, beautifully crafted and often dripping with mordant wit.” (Toby Lichtig - The Wall Street Journal)
About the Author
Joseph Roth (1894-1939) was the great elegist of the cosmopolitan culture that flourished in the dying days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He published several books and articles before his untimely death at the age of 44. Roth’s writing has been admired by J. M. Coetzee, Jeffrey Eugenides, Elie Wiesel, and Nadine Gordimer, among many others.
For his translations, acclaimed poet Michael Hofmann has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Dublin International IMPAC Award, the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and The Schlegel-Tieck Prize (four times). He is the highly acclaimed translator of, among others, Kafka, Brecht, and Joseph Roth.
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Top Customer Reviews
The 65 or so essays chosen by the book's editors were mostly written as newspaper pieces, between 1919 and 1939. Roth died in 1939 at the age of 45 of alcoholism, but the Austrian-Jewish journalist had made a name for himself since 1919 as an observer of culture and politics in the inter-war years.
Most of the essays included were printed in the "Frankfurter Zeitung", in a Berlin newspaper, and in two papers that I think were German-language papers published in Paris. But the articles would be printable in any newspaper, at least up til 1936 or so. Roth rarely seemed to write about specific events, though in 1934 he wrote about a journalist's job in reporting "The Night of the Long Knives". No, in general, Roth seemed to write about places he traveled - Albania and the Soviet Union, among others - and the people he met along the way, and the hotels he stayed in. Since he rarely identified which hotels they were, it's difficult to know where they were located. One hotel, though, sounds like a less wacky cousin of Wes Anderson's "Hotel Budapest", with it's international staff and clientele.
To return, though, to my point about reading contemporaneous history. I noticed that WW1 was always referred to as "The Great War", though I'd be surprised if Roth didn't think another world war was on its way. His writing in the early 1920's already referred to "Nazis" and "swastikas". It's too bad that Joseph Roth didn't live longer; I wonder what his impressions of the world of WW2 would be in print. But maybe it's better he didn't live longer. His writing in these selected essays is truly worth reading by anyone interested in the inter-war years.