The Legend Of The Holy Drinker | Granta

  • Published: 07/04/2022
  • ISBN: 9781783788460
  • Granta Books
  • 112 pages

The Legend Of The Holy Drinker

Joseph Roth

Translated by Michael Hofmann

This novella, one of the most haunting things that Joseph Roth ever composed, was published in 1939, the year the author died. Like Andreas, the hero of the story, Roth drank himself to death in Paris, but this is not an autobiographical confession. Rather, it is a secular miracle-tale, in which the vagrant Andreas, after living under bridges, has a surprising run of good luck that changes his circumstances profoundly. The novella is extraordinarily compressed, dry-eyed and witty, despite its melancholic subject matter.

A short, boozy, perfectly cut gem of a story... Translated and introduced by that legend of a holy writer Michael Hofmann, it's funny and remarkable

Stuart Hammond, Dazed and Confused

The Legend of the Holy Drinker is a tale of patience rewarded... a dreamy Parisian Catholic setting, destitution softened by fairy tale

Times Literary Supplement


Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

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

Joseph Roth on

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