james's Reviews > The Radetzky March

The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth
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Oct 12, 08

it was amazing
Read in October, 2008

"The Magnificent Ambersons" set in the waning days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Roth has an uncanny knack for exploring a character's internal life through small and telling details as they navigate their tiny social worlds. Even the most peripheral characters burst to life in this way. And towards the end of the book, Franz Joseph himself becomes a tragicomic character, an old man ruling over a fading kingdom, who seems more wrapped up in disguising his own social anxiety than tending to his empire.

Our protagonist, Carl Joseph, we learn, is a fool ultimately, whose legacy as the grandson of the Hero of Solferino prevents him form pursuing a life as a civilian. The reader watches as he bounces from outpost to outpost, coming into contact with the whole spectrum of citizens of that soon-to-vanish world.

Haunting and beautiful and wonderful.
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