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Job Paperback – 7 Nov 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Granta (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847086160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847086167
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'A tender fable... Dorothy Thompson's translation is enthralling. It is, as his champion Michael Hofmann explains in a thought-provoking afterword, 'regarded as Roth's most perfect book'.' --Independent

'Extraordinary... this is a poetically written novel, drawing from his own experience but speaking of the eternal truths of the human condition. A powerful work by a titan of early 20th-century literature.' --Herald

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 for Paris, where he died in poverty a few years later. 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 teaches at the University of Florida in Gainesville.


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Job is essentially the story of the biblical character Job, transposed into the 20th century, through the life of Mendel Singer, referred to in the book as "an ordinary Jew" who lives with his family in a Jewish community in Russian Eastern Europe and who emigrates to New York City, as part of the major wave of Jewish emigration from the Russian empire to the United States that took place in the years leading up to the First World War. Roth has a clear and poetic style of writing that works well in the story, and he masterfully captures the tension between keeping faith and losing hope when faced with extreme adversity. I give it only 4 stars, perhaps unfairly, only because I found it to be a bit slow, which is attributable to the fact that it is written more in the style of a fable than a novel.
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I am only part way through this book, but I am surprised by just how much I am enjoying it. Written in a style reminiscent of a fable or moral tale, it gradually engages the reader in the dynamics of Mendel Singer's family. He and his wife Deborah are from the outset entirely dedicated to nuturing and protecting their children but face many challenges and uncertainties as their traditional family structure changes, and decisions must be taken on a new and possibly risky direction for their future lives. Originally published in 1930, this perceptive perspective on Jewish family life is full of commitment to the values of loyalty and endeavour, while addressing major issues of poverty and hardship, and the impact on faith and hope.
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A remarkable text! Roth as his best indeed!
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Present.
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