What I Saw, by Joseph Roth. Granta, £9.99
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Saturday 07 September 2013
An ironic, nomadic and prolific novelist of the Habsburg twilight, returned to life for English-language readers in Michael Hofmann’s splendid translations, Roth also worked as a keen-eyed and inquisitive journalist.
From cafés to parks to stores, from the races to the movies, these reports from Weimar-era Berlin capture in his diamond glitter of prose the booming but brash capital, “so heartless in its bustle”. A companion volume, The White Cities, collects his (sometimes) gentler and more serene despatches from France, his place of refuge after 1933.
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