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The String of Pearls

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Vienna of the late nineteenth century, with its contrasting images of pomp and profound melancholy, provides the backdrop for Joseph Roth's final novel, which he completed in exile, a few years before his tragic death in 1939. This brilliant, allegorical tale of seduction and personal and societal ruin, set amidst exquisite, wistful descriptions of a waning aristocratic ag ...more
Published May 14th 1998 by Granta Books (first published 1939)
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Fábio Martins
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um fresco em filigrana,da vacuidade, superficialidade e palermice sociais. A forma como Joseph Roth constrói personagens de vidro, frágeis, vazias,ocas e ... realistas, é incontornável. Tornei-me fã instantâneo do autor,e a feira do livro, hoje, alimentou a vontade.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austriaci
Mille e una sono le favole che la bella Sherazade racconta al sultano Harun al Rashid per avere salva la vita. E qui Roth ci illude che ce ne sia un’altra. Un’ultima storia a celebrare le bellezze dell’Oriente e la vita. Partiamo così dalla Persia con una storia che delle mille e una notte ha l’ironia, la freschezza e l’ingegno per arrivare a Vienna in una serie di vicende che si dipanano un anello dentro l’altro facendoci scoprire personaggi che all’inizio sembrano essere secondari ma che sono ...more
Jacob Overmark
I have lost count of how many nights passed between our introduction to Baron Taittinger and his tragic end.

Even the framework of the tale is one, of several, state visits paid by the Shah of Persia to Europe and specifically to Vienna, the story is not about the Persian emperor.
Correct, without him we would not have had some very important elements in the story, but it could as well have been the King of Farawayland.
When Roth picks this frame for his tale, it is more a matter of making the sc
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this novel there is only one virtuous man. Everyone else is weak, empty and selfish. The characters don't have enough will power to change their unhappy circumstances. The novel is pessimistic to the core. All personal improvement is an illusion;even those characters who tried to better themselves end up returning to their original ineptness.

However, their unhappiness, whilst fed by their own inability to cope, finds its origins in the caprices and follies of powerful men. Thus, like a pyram
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Οι τρεις λέξεις που είπα με την ολοκλήρωση της ανάγνωσης: έξοχο, έξοχο, έξοχο!
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I might be capable of making figures that have heart, conscience, passion, emotion and decency. But there's no call for that at all in the world. People are only interested in monsters and freaks, so I give them their monsters."

The String of Pearls (or, The 1002nd Night) was one of the last books Joseph Roth finished. Like Radetzky March and The Emperor's Tomb, it is set during the twilight years of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, and although the trajectories of the main characters' lives are tr
Ben Dutton
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Roth died in 1939, just months before the outbreak of the Second World War. Die Geschichte von der 1002. Nacht, his novel published in English as The String of Pearls (and translated by Michael Hofmann), is so infused with the sense of a way of life coming to an end that it is difficult not to sense Roth’s unease about the transformation of Europe in those fag end days of the 1930s, of a war he knew must be coming. But The String of Pearls is set in the nineteenth century, and so it tells ...more
Dov Zeller
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel's translator Michael Hofmann described "The Tale" craftily as “a fairy tale that had swallowed a novel,” A strange and brilliant piece of fabulist fiction. "The Tale" chews up structures of historical power and class stratifications on a large and somewhat fantastical scale and spits them out in the form of a warped story about a Baron and officer, the Captain of Horse, and his former lover Mizzi Schinagl, who goes from pauper to princess after being given a gift of pearls from the Sha ...more
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El imperio austro húngaro era lo más parecido a ese poder absoluto que envuelve a los monarcas de oriente, hay muy pocos escritores que puedan capturar su espíritu, y Josep Roth lo logra, a través de una historia que inicia como sacada de Las mil y Una noches, con un Sha de Persia visitando Vienna, se suceden una serie de acontecimientos que parecen tan mágicos, y al mismo tiempo sin sentido, pero que sin saberlo son el comienzo de la debacle, el protagonista un Barón perteneciente al ejército c ...more
Maria Beltrami
In Persia sono state scritte le novelle delle 1001 notte, e Roth ci regala invece quella che dovrebbe essere la milleduesima novella della serie.
La Persia è però solo un pretesto, dato che è lo Scià di Persia, preso da giovanile inquietudine esistenziale, a dare avvio agli avvenimenti recandosi a Vienna, capitale dell'Impero.
Presunto avvio, in realtà, che il vero avvio degli avvenimenti è frutto della noia e della nobiliare vanagloria di un inutile barone, vero e proprio paradigma dello spleen d
Steve Middendorf
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this were the first of Joseph Roth’s books that I had read, rather than the last, I might have reacted differently. At a first reading I would have been taken with the exquisite insight Roth provides into the decadence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the banal insouciance and ineptitude of its aristocrats who attached to the military to give their lives meaning. I would have raged at the inequality of the classes. I would have smelled the shit on the cobblestone streets of Vienna which spring ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me gustó bastante. Cruel, lenta y con bastante de cuento oriental
Silvia Sirea
Si tratta del primo romanzo di Joseph Roth che mi capita tra le mani - grazie ad un'adorabile bancarella dell'usato.

Il romanzo comincia e si conclude con la visita dello spocchioso Scià di Persia a Vienna, capitale dell'Impero Asburgico. E' questo il pretesto che l'autore utilizza per scatenare la vicenda principale del romanzo.

I personaggi che si incontrano durante la lettura hanno più difetti che pregi e non è affatto facile affezionarcisi: a partire dal barone Taittinger, un presuntuoso inett
In the spring of the year 18——, the Shah-in-Shah, the great, exalted and holy monarch, the absolute ruler and overlord of all the lands of Persia, began to feel a sense of malaise of a kind he had never experienced before.
And so begins Joseph Roth's novel, The String of Pearls. If it seems like the beginning of a fairy tale, or folk tale, then its original title, Die Geschichte von der 1002en Nacht (The Tale of the 1002nd Night) would probably support that. For me the beginning of this novel fel
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Der Schah von Persien ist in Wien, verliebt sich in eine junge Dame und verlangt, dass die ihm zugeführt wird. Und da muss ein armes Double ran.
Hört sich nett an, ist es auch ein wenig, aber doch hauptsächlich sehr bieder und öde. (5/10)
Alejandro Orradre
Mi primera aproximación a Joseph Roth ha sido extraña. Tal vez por la novela, tal vez por su estilo; sea como sea, no sabría decir si La noche mil dos me ha gustado o no.

Por momentos la historia engancha -sobre todo al principio, con la pequeña trama de enredos palaciegos-, pero después de deshilvana en unos pocos frentes que son tratados por igual cuando no debería ser así. Algunas pequeñas tramas son aburridas y no aportan demasiado al argumento, aunque sirven de exploración literaria y crónic
Not as engaging as "Rebellion," but Roth's dismal world view is certainly here in all its glory. It does not seem to me that the story is meant to showcase that view (like "Rebellion" does) - instead, I think that the story is relating and examining the end of Hapsburg society (and its ilk), especially in regards to the aristocracy vis-à-vis the common people. The glum view of people just comes along for the ride (not that I necessarily disagree with Roth's sentiments). ...more
Mariya  Bahareva
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Это, в сущности, точно такая же книжка, как «Марш Радецкого», тем и прекрасна.
Juan Pinilla
Buena literatura. Situada en otros tiempos y con otras visiones del mundo, pero excelente como la literatura de calidad lo es.
Giuseppe Sepe
Every so often you had to sort something out for yourself, because the laws, so it seemed, weren't there to regulate people's lives, but rather to plunge them into chaos. ...more
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Krásně napsaný příběh z Vídně. Vlídně a střídmě. Roth je jazykový kouzelník.
Miles Fowler
Joseph Roth once again (as in his earlier The Radetsky March) tells a story of downfall in the latter period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, although this book extends over perhaps less than twenty years while the earlier book covers more than fifty. The premise of the novel is the visit to Vienna by the Shah of Persia (as Iran was then called) during the 1870s. This is based on a historical visit by the Shah to Europe about that time. Sandwiched between the Shah's first and second visits, two d ...more
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hesitate to use the word enjoy when describing this book, because this isn’t the sort of book I would say I enjoy. And I more than appreciated it, which always (to me) sounds like a polite way of describing a classic that one didn’t really like but doesn’t want to say that because, hey, it’s a classic.

This novel’s events hinge around a visit by the Shah of Persia to Vienna in the late nineteenth century. The story traces how a variety of people’s lives change because of this visit, and while
Gijs Grob
Met de komische verwikkelingen rond een bezoek van de Sjah van Perzië aan Oostenrijk begint deze, in droog-ironische (en aan Willem Elsschot of Albert Camus verwante) stijl geschreven roman over de Baron von Taitinger en het simpele meisje Mizzi Schinagl die door hun onschuldige desinteresse in geld en andere wereldse zaken ondergaan aan de resultaten van hun daden en aan de handelingen van egoïstische types.

De beschreven sfeer is verwant aan die in de verhalen van Arthur Schnitzler, maar daar g
Fiona Glass
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant writing that captures the atmosphere of a time long since past. I particularly enjoyed the sly humour underlying the elegiac tale of failed chivalry and selfishness.

This particular edition (which I discovered in a heap at a local second hand book stall) is published as 'The String of Pearls' but in many ways the original title, The Tale of the Thousand and Second Night, is more appropriate as it does indeed read like one of the 'Thousand and One Nights' tales with its rambling structur
K's Bognoter
Den 1002. nat har ikke samme format som andre af Roths bøger. Den rummer ikke samme overbevisende eksistentielle smerte som Job og har heller ikke den poetiske tone som Roths noveller. Den har en satirisk-ironisk kant, som minder om Radetzkymarch, men mangler dennes historiske swung.
Dermed ikke sagt, at Den 1002. nat er en dårlig bog. Det er en lettere sag, nærmest en komedie, men ikke uden satirisk bid og er i det hele taget præget af Roths sikre hånd (selv om den også bliver lidt lang i spytte
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Uno degli ultimi romanzi dello scrittore e giornalista austriaco, "La milleduesima notte" appare quasi in bilico tra la dimensione del testamento spirituale e la profezia apocalittica sui destini e l'eredità di un mondo, l'Austria dell'ormai ex Impero Absburgico, che nel 1939, anno di uscita del libro, sta per essere inghiottito da un baratro ancora più profondo del precedente, la follia nazista dell'Anschluss e della seconda guerra mondiale.

Continua su
David Fernandes
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Roth é impiedoso e mordaz na sua análise da melancólica, aburguesada e decadente sociedade austríaca do fim do Império Austro-Húngaro, brilhantemente corporizada pelo inútil Barão Taittinger. Com ele e mais umas quantas personagens densas, este romance popular é um cordel de episódios divertidos e sádicos que acontecendo num contexto, capturam na verdade certos aspectos intemporais de qualquer sociedade humana.
Jonathan Goddard
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel, but was expecting more from the ending, which just fizzled out and didn't seem to have any conclusion. It had a nice circular plot, with all the characters from the start drawn together in the same place at the finale, yet the finale lacked power. I really liked the character of Baron Taittinger, and Roth's descriptive prose. ...more
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Joseph Roth, journalist and novelist, was born and grew up in Brody, a small town near Lemberg in East Galicia, part of the easternmost reaches of what was then the Austro-Hungarian empire and is now Ukraine. Roth was born into a Jewish family. He died in Paris after living there in exile.

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43 likes · 3 comments
“I might be capable of making figures that have heart, conscience, passion, emotion and decency. But there's no call for that at all in the world. People are only interested in monsters and freaks, so I give them their monsters. Monsters are what they want!” 1 likes
“An indescribable sadness emanated from the white splendour of the staircase and balustrade; the blood-red, now almost black splendour of the carpets. The huge palms in their huge pots looked like they had recently arrived from the cemetery. Their dark green leaves also looked blackish, like wizened, perished weapons from olden days.” 0 likes
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