Rebellion (Everyman’s Library, 407)
This is a classic novel by a great Ukrainian writer, Joseph Roth. He left Ukraine for Berlin in 1920, as did a great many of his countrymen due to unrest in the region. Originally a pacifist, Roth served in the military as a war correspondent. Undoubtedly those experiences formed this novel.
It is the story of a veteran who loses his leg in battle, wins a medal for his trouble, and is promised a prothesis. The promised prothesis does not arrive as the veteran, Andreas Pum, is summarily dismissed from the hospital with papers allowing him to become a hurdy-gurdy street musician. Andreas revels in the status he has attained as a disabled veteran with such privileges. Andreas shares a room with a shady couple, although he is scrupulously honest. It seems all his dreams come true when he is taken in by a recent widow, given a little donkey and a cart for his work, and has a new happy home.
This simple story is stunning in its vivid sense of tragedy. It is a classic and is beautifully presented as such in a lovely beribboned Everyman’s Library edition. Even the paper highlights the quality of the words upon it.
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