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Wednesday, 28 August 2013


I clicked on Amazon to add to my Ipad Kindle library Joseph Roth' s masterpiece The Radetsky March [see my blog entry 27 January 2012] - this led me to Perlefter - the Story of a Bourgeois, such a cynical book and the characters dreaded, I am so glad it was left unfinished.

I then read A Life in Letters, charming letters by Joseph Roth as a boy, fighting fit and a successful journalist, intelligent and fearless, Joseph is a most likeable character who descends into a vortex of despairing alcoholism, somehow never losing his integrity - all this with the rise of the Nazis as background, exile and maltreatment of Jews increasing daily.  Letters to and from Stefan Zweig, a star cosmopolitan writer, are so revealing of the times, both are driven into exile.  Roth, we can see, will die of alcoholism and, most poignantly, we know the glittering Zweig later commits suicide together with his wife.

I then read Job - the Story of a Simple Man, a moving, unforgettable and wholly credible story of Jews in Eastern Europe. The book ends in New York and has a most unlikely but joyful fairytale ending.  It led me to reflect how vast the difference is between Ashkenazy and Sephardic Jews.

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