Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Hotel Years Wanderings in Europe Between the Wars by Joseph Roth (translated by Michael Hoffman, 2015)

I am estatic to once again be able to Participate in German Literature Month, elegantly and lovingly hosted by Lizzi's Literary Live and Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. This is my fourth year as a participant.   On the host blogs you will find the particularities of the event but the basic idea is to read literature first written in German (translated or not) and share your thoughts.  I began accumulating works for the event soon after the event ended last year and I began reading for it in mid-September.  

Works Read for G L V So Far

1.  Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. A brilliant recreation of life in Nazi Germany. 

2.  Ostend, Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth and the Summer Before the End by Volker Weidermann. A fascinating social history 

3.  Buddenbrook Ths Decline of a Family by Thomas Mann.  Must reading 

4.  "The Governess" by Stefan Zweig

5.  Demian:  The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth by Herman Hesse.  Read the major works first.

6.  The Tanners by Robert Walser.  

I greatly admire the work of Joseph Roth. I have so far  read nine of his novels, two other collections of essays besides Hotel Years, and three of his novellas.  I am hoping one day to have read at least all of his now in E book in translation works. .  Roth made a mess of his own life but the fire of his intelligence burns through in his writings.   Perfect man he wasn't, but they don't come much smarter.

The essays, translated and with an introduction by Michael Hoffman, were written between 1919 to 1939.  Roth was at one time the best paid journalist in Europe.  There are sixty four essays in the collection.

Roth lived for many years in hotels, he had no permanent home nor did he seem to want one for at least the last ten years of his life.  He loved living in hotels for the diversity of the staff and guest and, I think, for his ability and pleasure in thinking up stories about the people he encountered.  He did not stay at The Ritz, preferring and much of the time only able to afford low cost places where the management left you alone as long as you paid your bill.  

The essays are on a wide range of topics.  Arranged in several sections by subject matters, some are devoted to his observations on life in hotels.  He traveled a lot and there is an interesting section devoted to his impressions on his visit to the USSR.  He spent time in Slavic countries and overall he is near mocking of the people in these countries. 

I found his essay on Russian expats claiming nobility living in Paris to be exceptionally brilliant.  

Hotel Days at times is near lyrical, at times dark and dank but it is always wonderful to read the thoughts of Joseph Roth.  

There is background information on Roth in my prior posts on him.

        This should be your first Roth 

I was kindly given a review copy of this book.

Mel ü

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