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The Emperor's Tomb Hardcover – 3 Jan 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Publications Ltd; Revised edition edition (3 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847087345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847087348
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 425,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This beautiful, elegant, almost dreamlike novel is described by Hofmann, as a round-the-corner continuation of Roth s masterpiece, The Radetzky March." --The Times

"An urgent and deceptively moving lamentation of stark emotion ... an inspired variation on the traditional coming-of-age narrative ... a profound farewell gesture of love and sorrow, such heartbreaking sorrow." --Irish Times

"Superbly translated by the poet Michael Hofmann ... Roth remains one of the greatest literary genius's of the 20th century." - Evening Standard

"Anyone who knows anything about the last years of Roth s life exiled, impoverished, alcoholic will find it remarkable that he was able to complete a novel, and will be astonished that it is so good ... It sounds sad; it is sad. It sounds depressing; it is not depressing. This is first because each scene is so vividly written. Roth was always a master of the revealing detail, which is less to paint a picture than to evoke a mood. It is also because, in spite of the prevailing atmosphere of melancholy, dissolution, evanescence, and doom, Roth could never quite prevent high spirits from breaking in, and the book is often very funny ... Best of all, no-one handles the passing of time, and the regrets this brings, better than Roth." -Scotsman

"Michael Hoffman has done peerless work in resuscitating Roth's reputation, not least with the publication last year of Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters ... That Roth could write such a wonderful book at such a time in his state of health is utterly remarkable." --Herald

"Roth s way of tying vivid personal incidents to a wider story of continental decline feels more urgent here. His short chapters, with their abrupt endings and fragmentary first-person narrative, depict a puzzling modern world in which old friends talk politics in bars while Death stretches his bony fingers over their drinks ... Mr Hofmann s bold translation pays due respect to the lamplit streets of the city and the romantic feelings of its hero, yet allows for a character to be gobsmacked and for a coachman to be a cabbie . It is the carefully wrought work of a poet in full sympathy with his subject and his subject matter, in all its rootlessness, melancholy and ironic brevity." --Economist

"Joseph Roth s chronicles of a turbulent Europe have been brought back to life in recent years in translations by the poet Michael Hofmann. Now Hofmann gives us Roth s final novel, published in 1938, a year before his death in exile in Paris ... This lament has all the more power for knowing it was written as Europe was about to fall once more." --Metro

About the Author

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 books include What I Saw, Job, The White Cities, The String of Pearls and The Radetzky March, all published by Granta Books. Michael Hofmann is the highly acclaimed translator of Joseph Roth, Wolfgang Koeppen, Kafka, and Brecht and the author of several books of poems and book of criticism. He has translated nine previous books by Joseph Roth. He lives in London and Hamburg.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback
The book gives us vignettes of Vienna before and after the First World War. The narrator is the young Slovene-born aristocrat von Trotta, named Franz Josef in honour of the revered Emperor, and in his attitudes alienated by everything that is modern and post-Habsburg. He valued the heterogeneity of the Empire. Before the war he had lived in the circle of his mostly pleasure-loving, frivolous and cynical equals, who would mock anyone who expressed deep feelings, like love, for example; so he had then to keep to himself his love for Elizabeth, the daughter of a Hungarian count. Not that he shares all the attitudes of his circle. For example he is not antisemitic; and when, on the recommendations of Joseph Branco, Trotta's working-class cousin, a Jewish Galician coachman called Manes Reisiger calls on him and asks him to help his gifted violinist son to get a place in the music conservatory, Trotta knows just the influential man to turn to - a Polish nobleman who has a proprietorial interest in "his" Jews and who delights in annoying the antisemites precisely by getting him this position. Trotta actually accepts an invitation from the grateful Jew to stay in his house in Galicia, and feels very much at home there, as he does in all parts of the Empire. While he is there, the First World War breaks out.

Trotta, Joseph and Manes all enrol; but unlike those who accept the war with a kind of gaiety, these three feel the wings of death. So alienated did Trotta feel from the light-heartedness of the comrades of the smart Viennese battalion with whom he had done his reserve duty that he enlisted in the more plebeian regiment which Joseph and Manes had joined on the Russian front.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. on 17 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fabulous tale of a lost world and a warning against nationalism....
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A.K.Farrar on 6 Jun 2003
Format: Paperback
Spanning the First World War, this short novel outlines the fall from grace of a minor Austro-Hungarian Noble, a scion of a once proud and heroic family.
It is quite a bleak book in many ways - and reminds me of the world Beckett creates in Waiting for Godot. There is an inevitability in the fall and no action could have prevented it.
The language used (at least in this translation) is minimal and strips to the bone images - making those that remain quite haunting. One which has remained with me for several days is the image of violets blooming from the bones of dead men.
Certainly a great, if troubling, book.
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By L. Bainbridge on 1 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback
Good service and a good read.
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