The Hotel Years

Wanderings in Europe between the Wars

Joseph Roth

Published: 3 November 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 288 pages
ISBN: 9781783781287
£9.99

Translated by Michael Hofmann

Overview

The hotel that I love like a fatherland is situated in one of the great port cities of Europe, and the heavy gold Antiqua letters in which its banal name is spelled out shining across the roofs of the gently banked houses are in my eye metal flags, metal bannerets that instead of fluttering shine out their greeting.

In the 1920s and 30s, Joseph Roth travelled extensively in Europe, leading a peripatetic life living in hotels and writing about the towns through which he passed. Incisive, nostalgic, curious and sharply observed - and collected together here for the first time - his pieces paint a picture of a continent racked by change yet clinging to tradition. From the 'compulsive' exercise regime of the Albanian army, the rickety industry of the new oil capital of Galicia, and 'split and scalped' houses of Tirana forced into modernity, to the individual and idiosyncratic characters that Roth encounters in his hotel stays, these tender and quietly dazzling vignettes form a series of literary postcards written from a bygone world, creeping towards world war.


About the author

Image of Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth (1894-1939) was the great elegist of the cosmopolitan, tolerant and doomed Central European culture that flourished in the dying days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Born into a Jewish family in Galicia, on the eastern edge of the empire, he was a prolific political journalist and novelist. On Hitler's assumption of power, he was obliged to leave Germany and he died in poverty in Paris. His novels include What I Saw, The Legend of the Holy Drinker, Right and Left, The Emperor's Tomb, The String of Pearls and The Radetzky March, all published by Granta Books. More about the author


Reviews

‘[Roth's] style is quick, dashed with colour and rendered vivid in English by Michael Hofmann... In an explicit labour of love, the distinguished translator draws his favourite bits of Rothania into a multi-hued frescos of a raucous time and place... A new classic’ Stoddard Martin

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Reviews

‘A hugely significant and wonderfully haunting collection of Joseph Roth's journalism from the 1920s and '30s. Superbly translated by Michael Hofmann’ William Boyd

‘As good as any book in the series [of Hofmann's translations] and, at certain unheralded moments, better’ James Buchan

‘Atmospheric... dark and funny’

‘Dazzling... An exquisite time capsule’ Robert Bound

‘Each of the [collection] is an evocative vignette of a bygone era... The Hotel Years is an instant classic’ Lucy Scholes, Paperback of the Week

‘It seems perhaps a little trite to parrot Roth's assertion that his journalism has given us a portrait of an age - but it is only trite because it is true. With The Hotel Years, Roth has done far more than just give us the portrait of just his age, however, he has also given us a portrait of our own. Reading The Hotel Years is like staring into a mirror - the same anxieties, the same hatreds, the same longings, the same forces at play... Strikingly, Roth's pieces frequently display a Kafka-like suspension of the rules of our world’ Josh Romm

‘Of ineffable worth [these stories] offer us beautifully drawn portraits of the lost world of Mitel-Europa, complete with long train journeys, animated boulevard cafes, grand hotels and a seemingly stylish life lived out of two suitcases in the 1920s and 1930s... [Roth's] stories are bathed with alarming foreknowledge of the new emerging forms of power, yet have no political axe to grind. They are elegiac, dazzling and prescient’ Barnaby Rogerson

‘Poet Michael Hofmann most brilliantly conveys the fury that makes Roth special’

‘Thanks to the expert translations of Michael Hofmann, Roth is on track to canonical status... The writing is so consistently incisive that we devour the lot, compulsively, from cover to cover. Roth's philosophical eye universalises minor incidents with aphorisms worthy of Marcus Aurelius’ Amanda Hopkinson

‘There are so many fantastic scenes, indelible characters and exquisite lines to marvel at... Dazzling, elegiac, mordant and harrowingly oracular’ George Prochnik

‘This collection of [Roth's] journalism creates a vivid sense of a continent on the brink of change’ Lucy Popescu

‘This wonderful selection of journalism from the Weimar years, a period Roth spent in Paris, Germany and on the road, displays his genius from every angle, as a rebel, a loyalist and a man of compassion. It has been translated by Michael Hofmann, whose ear seems so faultless that you feel in reading his work that you have not been reading a translation at all’ Jan Morris

‘Wonderful... displays [Roth's] genius from every angle’





 
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