The Hotel Years | Granta

  • Published: 07/04/2022
  • ISBN: 9781783788477
  • Granta Books
  • 288 pages

The Hotel Years

Joseph Roth

Translated by Michael Hofmann

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.

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

William Boyd

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, Daily Telegraph *****

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, Independent

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, The Emperor’s Tomb and The Radetzky March, all published by Granta Books.

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The Translator

Michael Hofmann is a poet, translator and critic. His latest book of poems is One Lark, One Horse. He recently translated Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel Kairos.

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From the Same Author

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Essays & Memoir | Granta 129

Where the World War Began

Joseph Roth