Joseph Roth

Perlefter

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Now available for the first time in English, Perlefter: The Story of a Bourgeois is a novel fragment that was discovered among Joseph Roth's papers decades after his death. The book chronicles the life and times of Alexander Perlefter, the well-to-do Austrian urbanite with whom his relative, a small-town narrator, Naphthali Kroj, has come to live after becoming orphaned. The colourful cast of characters includes Perlefter's four children: Foolish Alfred, with his predilection for sleeping with servant girls and widows and boasting of the venereal diseases he contracts; the hapless Karoline, whose interest in math and physics and employment at a scientific institute seem to repel serious suitors; the flamboyant Julie, a sweet, pale and anemic girl who likes any man who is inclined toward marriage; and the beautiful and flighty Margarete, besotted with a professor of history. Written circa 1928–30, Perlefter represents Joseph Roth at the very peak of his literary powers – it was penned just after the publication of The Silent Prophet and just before his masterpieces Job and The Radetzky March. Rich in irony and exemplary of Roth's keen powers of social and political observation, Perlefter is an important addition to the Roth canon.
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130 printed pages
Original publication
2013

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