Friday, November 28, 2014

Flight Without End by Joseph Roth

Flight Without End by Joseph Roth;  translated by David Le Vay, in collaboration with Beatrice Musgrave.
(translation information taken from Library of Congress record for edition published by  Owen, London, 1977. The copy I read is a reprint of the Owen edition by Overlook Press, Woodstock, New York, 1977. No translation credit given.)
 Library book.

 I was not especially impressed but that could be because I couldn't stay with it for very long at a time. My allergy to certain old books kept kicking in. (see my comments in Sneezing with Steinbeck)

There are some wonderfully witty descriptions of people but not much plot.

The protagonist wanders through Europe guided by chance, not plan. He is an Austrian officer who, at the end of World War I, is in a camp in Siberia. From there he just sort of "goes with the flow" falling into things (such as fighting in the Russian Revolution, working in Baku, returning to Vienna, visiting his brother in the Rhineland and eventually ends up impoverished in Paris.

I don't think it was a very good introduction to Roth. I'm going to try some of the short stories next.


  1. Sorry to know that you didn't like Roth's book as much as you had hoped to. There is not much of a plot in the book as you have said. I loved some of the beautiful passages though - I loved the way Roth brought a complex character to life with just a few sentences.

  2. I'm finding the same with the short stories. I'm reading The collected stories of Joseph Roth / translated with an introduction by Michael Hofmann. I love the character descriptions (and the book was published in 2002, so no sneezing and no doses of anti-histamines).

  3. It's not considered oe of his major works but, like Vishy, I liked it very much. I can see how it couldn't be everyone's cup of tea though. He's not that much of a short story writer. If you'd like to try someting else, that's not too long - try Hotel Savoy.

  4. I haven't given up on the short story collection, and Hotel Savoy is available through my library in a collection with Fallmerayer the stationmaster and The bust of the emperor. I think I've read (and liked) Fallmeryer... Right now I trying to get through December without checking out any library books.