Book review: Job: The Story of a Simple Man, By Joseph Roth


"I have seen a few worlds perish," says the latter-day Job of this tender fable.

The same was true of its Austrian-Jewish author but Dorothy Thompson's translation is enthralling as the Singer family leave pre-revolutionary Russia for New York where they encounter everything from tragedy to miracles.

In the years leading up to his death in 1939, poverty forced Roth to be overly-prolific but he was nearing his creative peak when he wrote Job. It is, as his champion Michael Hofman explains in a thought-provoking afterword, "regarded as Roth's most perfect book."