The Coral Merchant: Essential Stories

October 30, 2020
The Coral Merchant: Essential Stories

New translations of the greatest short stories by JosephRoth, collected in a beautiful editionJoseph Roth's sensibility - both clear-eyed and nostalgic,harshly realistic and tenderly humane - produced some of the mostdistinctive fiction of the twentieth century. This selection of hisfinest shorter work, in exquisite new translations by Ruth Martin,showcases Roth's peerless skill as an observer of social discordand individual frailty.A coral merchant, longing for the sea, chooses to adulterate hiswares with false corla, with catastrophic results; young Fini, justentering the haze of early sexuality, falls into an unsatisfyingrelationship with an older musician. In prose of fluid beauty andwry precision, Roth shows us isolated souls pursuing lost ideals inthe Austro-Hungarian empire's dying days.JOSEPH ROTH was born into a Jewish family inthe small town of Brody in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Hestudied first in Lemberg and then in Vienna, and served in theAustrian army during the first World War. He later worked a ajournalist in Vienna and Berlin, travelling widely, staying inhotels and living out of suitcases while also being a prolificwriter of fiction, including thenovels Job (1930) and The RadetskyMarch (1932). Roth left Germany when Hitler came to powerin 1933 and settled in Paris. He collapsed at the Café Touron inMay 1939 and died shortly after.