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The Coral Merchant: Essential Stories

The Coral Merchant: Essential Stories

Current price: $18.00
Publication Date: November 10th, 2020
Pushkin Collection


New translations of the six greatest short stories by Joseph Roth, collected in a beautiful edition

Joseph Roth's sensibility--both clear-eyed and nostalgic, harshly realistic and tenderly humane--produced some of the most distinctive fiction of the twentieth century. This collection of his most essential stories, in exquisite new translations by Ruth Martin, showcases the astonishing range and power of his short stories and novellas.

In prose of aching beauty and precision, Roth shows us isolated souls pursuing lost ideals and impossible desires. Forced to remove a bust of the fallen Austrian emperor from his house, an eccentric old count holds a funeral for it and intends to be buried in the same plot himself; a humble coral merchant, dissatisfied with his life and longing for the sea, chooses to adulterate his wares with false coral, with catastrophic results; young Fini, just entering the haze of early sexuality, falls into an unsatisfying relationship with an older musician. With the greatest craft and sensitivity, Roth unfolds the many fragilities of the human heart.

About the Author

Joseph Roth was born into a Jewish family in the small town of Brody in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied first in Lemberg and then in Vienna, and served in the Austrian army during World War I. He went on to work as a journalist, travelling widely, staying in hotels and living out of suitcases, while also being a prolific writer of fiction, including the novels Job (1930) and The Radetzky March (1932). Roth left Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933 and settled in Paris, where he died in 1939.

Praise for The Coral Merchant: Essential Stories

‘One of the greatest writers of the first half of the tormented 20th century’ — Simon Schama, Financial Times 

'Roth is Austria's Chekhov'--William Boyd

'Joseph Roth is counted among the great novelists of the twentieth century'--TLS

‘What Roth sees and hands on is a unique essence, conveying the fragility of what is truly human in us, the ridiculous and the tragic' — Nadine Gordimer