The Hotel Years gathers sixty-four feuilletons: on hotels; pains and pleasures; personalities; and the deteriorating international situation of the 1930s. Never before translated into English, these pieces begin in Vienna just at the end of the First War, and end in Paris near the outbreak of the Second World War. Roth, the great journalist of his day, needed journalism to survive: in his six-volume collected works in German, there are three of fiction and three of journalism.
Beginning in 1921, Roth wrote mostly for the liberal Frankfurter Zeitung, which sent him on assignments throughout Germany−to write about inflation, the occupation, political assassinations−and abroad to the USSR, Italy, Poland and Albania. And always: “I celebrate my return to lobby and chandelier, porter and chambermaid.”
Joseph Roth has emerged as one of the greatest, certainly the most prescient, of the German writers of the entre-deux-gurres’.
Roth’s journalism creates a vivid sense of a continent on the brink of change.
—Independent On Sunday
There are so many fantastic scenes, indelible characters and exquisite lines to marvel at…Dazzling, elegiac, mordant and harrowingly oracular.
—George Prochnik, New York Times
This wonderful selection of journalism from the Weimar years, a period Roth spent in Paris, Germany and on the road, displays genius from every angle, as a rebel, a loyalist and a man of compassion.
—Jan Morris, Daily Telegraph
A hugely significant and wonderfully haunting collection of Joseph Roth’s journalism from the 1920s and ‘30s. Superbly translated by Michael Hofmann.
His was a voice of uncowed conscience and irrepressible humanism, his body of work a damning j’accuse against the folly of the age. The dispatches in The Hotel Years constitute a compelling vindication of his claims for the feuilleton’s literary possibilities.
—Houman Barekat, Los Angeles Review of Books
Roth’s hotel years came to an abrupt end in the Old World. Thankfully, his account of them, and of the turbulent cross-currents of his age, live on in exquisite collections such as this one.
—Malcolm Forbes, The American Interest
The Hotel Years is a master class in journalism, and a reminder that when a writer can play multiple small notes, he creates a full composition that carries the depth of meaning.
—Juan Vidal, NPR Books
Dazzling, elegiac, mordant and harrowingly oracular by turn.
—George Prochnik, New York Times Book Review
Roth was as equally magisterial and entertaining in his journalism as he was in his novels, and Michael Hofmann’s new selection of Roth’s nonfiction, his fourteenth translation of Roth’s overall, is thoroughly addictive.
—André Naffis-Sahely, Paris Review
So consistently incisive that we devour the lot, compulsively, from cover to cover.
—Amanda Hopkinson, The Independent
A singular achievement of both journalism and literature.
—Thane Rosenbaum, The Washington Post Book World
Roth captures and encapsulates Europe in those uncertain hours before the upheaval of a continent and the annihilation of a civilization.
Nonstop brilliance, irresistible charm and continuing relevance.
—Jeffrey Eugenides, The New York Times Book Review