Justin Evans's Reviews > The Radetzky March

The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth
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's review
Jul 16, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in July, 2011

Pretty good, but I'm surprised by the universal praise that gets lavished on it. H. Bloom says it "stands with the best of Thomas Mann." Um.... no, it doesn't come anywhere near that. Maybe I just came in with the wrong expectations. For some reason I was expecting some high modernism; what I got was some pretty solid realism with occasionally beautiful images and analogies, the odd philosophical aside and some use of the present tense. Thomas Mann? Er, no.

I'm also willing to believe that I should have read a different translation. The edition I read was via Joachim Neugroschel. Roth is meant to be a great stylist, but for most of the book (the high emotional points aside, which are very well done) this isn't much more than slightly-better-than-average translanglish. Was Carl Joseph's first lover really wearing 'blue panties'? I find it hard to believe. I also find it hard to believe that the German has the same color palate as this translation suggests: white, grey, yellow, blue, red, green, black, silver, gold. That's it. No shades in between, and everything is one of these colors rather than, say, two of them.

So my three stars could easily have been four stars. Had I come in expecting less Dr Faustus and more The Leopard, I would've gotten what I was expecting and more. Great characters, pretty well done ties between the personal and the historical, and the occasional perfect paragraph.
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03/17 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Justin Evans Ah, I'm jealous! Enjoy!

Also worth noting that Radetzky March has gotten worse in my memory. I seem quite even handed in this review, and believe yours is more accurate, as ever.

Richard Mann is foul.

Justin Evans Mann ist Mann.

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