Friday, June 17, 2022

Friday book review--Roth's Rebellion and Hamilton's Pages

I will certainly need to add these two books to my TBR list. Hugo Hamilton wrote The Pages, where a 1924 novel is a main character, Joseph Roth's book Rebellion. Marianne and Ron, our neighbors here at Lakeside, presented a review of the two books at the Lakeside Women's Club today.

"Andreas Pum, having lost his leg in World War I, is rewarded with a medal and a permit to support himself by playing a barrel organ in the streets of Vienna. At first the simpleminded veteran is entirely satisfied with his lot, and he even finds a voluptuous widow to marry. But then a public quarrel with a respectable citizen on a tram propels Andreas’s life into a rapid downward trajectory. As he loses his beggar’s permit, his new wife, and even his freedom, he is provoked into finally rejecting his blind faith in the benevolence of the powers that govern his life. Joseph Roth’s remarkable novel deploys the haunting atmosphere and propulsive power of a dream to convey the bewilderment of an ordinary man as his world falls apart around him."

"JOSEPH ROTH (1894-1939) was an Austrian novelist, essayist, journalist, and publisher. An outspoken critic of Hitler and militarism, he moved to Paris in 1933. Roth’s novels include What I Saw, The Legend of the Holy Drinker, Right and Left, The Emperor’s Tomb, The String of Pearls, and The Radetzky March, an ironic portrait of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that is considered to be his masterpiece." (

"In “The Pages,” Hugo Hamilton’s enticing new novel, “Rebellion” is described as: “A short novel about a barrel organ player who lost his leg in the First World War.” Discarded by the state, Andreas Pum, the disabled veteran, ends up friendless, homeless and hopeless. “Facing death,” Roth writes, “he clung to life in order to rebel: against the world, against the authorities, against the Government, against God.” The award-winning 1999 translation of “Rebellion” by the indefatigable Michael Hofmann, who has also translated half a dozen other Roth books as well as works by Elias Canetti, Alfred Döblin, Franz Kafka and others, is being reissued now to coincide with the release of “The Pages.” “Rebellion” is in fact both the protagonist and the narrator of Hamilton’s novel, a book about the fate of a book." (

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