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Der leviathan

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d373c9c) étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d35045c) étoiles sur 5 "Do you want to do a deal with me? Just say the word!" 29 juin 2011
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
(5 stars for story, 3 stars for book size) This tiny book, closer to a short story than to a novella, was the last piece of fiction by author Joseph Roth (1894 - 1939), published posthumously in 1940, a poignant study of Roth's last days as he awaited his expected death. Born in Galicia, near Ukraine, Roth had attended college in Vienna, then served in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, later mourning the loss of the Habsburg Empire and all it represented. In Berlin, he began working as a journalist and on fiction, reaching the apex of his career with the publication of The Radetzky March in 1932, a generational family saga, full of the pomp, pageantry, color, and military maneuverings during the last days of the Habsburgs. The day that Hitler became Reich Chancellor in 1933, Roth left Berlin for Paris, never to return. By his early forties, he was a serious and sick alcoholic, rarely able to sustain the long-time concentration needed for long novels. He died at age 45, a suicide by alcohol.

The Leviathan features an observant but illiterate Jew, living in Progrody in the Ukraine, the premier dealer of coral jewelry for the local farmers' wives. Operating his shop from home, he imagines that a coral's biggest dream is to be plucked by a diver and "brought to the surface...to become an ornament on a beautiful peasant woman." Until the coming of the Messiah, Nissen believes, the corals will remain under the control of the Leviathan, a creature who lies curled on the seabed floor beside them.

Nissen has always yearned to see the ocean, and when a young sailor comes home from Odessa, he persuades the sailor to take him back to Odessa when he returns. Bewitched by the ocean, he stays for three extra weeks, drinking, whoring, and neglecting his religious duties. When he returns, he discovers that a new coral seller has arrived, undercutting him in price and stealing his former customers. This new coral seller's dark eyes appear gentle enough, but "they glowed so powerfully that a strange redness appeared to flare up in the midst of all their blackness." Nissen's world dramatically changes as he comes to know this mysterious stranger, and then makes a fateful decision which changes the world as he knows it.

Roth, a master of description, creates a variety of moods and atmospheres as his narrative moves forward, full of tension and urgency. Though the story resembles an allegory for children, the themes and concepts are complex, even enigmatic. It is difficult for a reader not to substitute Joseph Roth for Nissen Piczenik, and the highly respected and literary books written by a sober Roth for the perfect corals of Nissen. The corals of the new seller Lakatos are greatly inferior, suggesting the potboilers and newspaper articles that Roth sometimes wrote to make money. Like Nissen, Roth, too, feels out of place, constantly moving, until Hitler takes over and leaves him permanently homeless-his Jewish culture, like the corals, under threat of extinction.

Direct connections, if any, between free will, God, the Devil, and chance are left to the reader to decide as the conclusion resolves the surface issues. Book club readers should enjoy discussing what Nissen's final actions connote--triumph or failure, a deliberate decision or a desperate impulse, a resolution or a resignation to fate. In the meantime, this touching, allegorical story gives insights into Roth's last days and some of the issues which may have been haunting him. Mary Whipple
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d43bdd4) étoiles sur 5 Haiku Review 1 septembre 2012
Par J. Edgar Mihelic, MBA - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I've been trying to distill my reviews to seventeen syllables. Here's an attempt.

The coral merchant
sees the world and will learn
faking matches real.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d4e4a8c) étoiles sur 5 Nice book and story 26 mai 2013
Par Avid Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This is a small, but nicely written book. Also a great story to read. I think it's one of the books everyone has to read once in their life.
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