Archive > The Hundred Days by Joseph Roth Review

From Library Journal

‘Newly translated after being out of print in English for 70 years, this novel by Austrian master Roth (Radetzky March; The Wandering Jews) captures Europe at a time of great political upheaval. The themes are grand and sweeping: the madness of war and politics, the frenzy of mass movements, and the cult of personality. The oversize personality at the center of this novel is Napoleon (although it could easily be Hitler or Mussolini). Roth brings the idolization and hero worship of this leader beautifully to life through the eyes of a wonderful fictional creation: Angelina, a simple country girl who works in the Imperial Palace as a maid and washerwoman. She loves Napoleon above all else, and the author explores the human cost of this young woman’s deep and tragic love. The trajectory of the novel addresses Angelina’s misplaced hero worship, gradually transforming Napoleon from a god to a defeated general at Waterloo. Roth has filled this novel with his gorgeous, trademark descriptive writing.
VERDICT: A tender, heartbreaking novel about living in the modern world; recommended for fans of literary fiction.’



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