Please enjoy Faure's Pavane while reading today's post.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As with Roth's book on Berlin, this book is a collection of vignettes, little essays on Roth's thoughts and feelings about his time in France, which were the years in the 1930s up to his death in May 1939.
The first several chapters, Roth is once again describing the landscape of different Parisian neighborhoods, small French towns, the people he encounters and their customs. It is like he is trying to take snapshots of each place and person, to record the pleasure of remembering. Some people will like this approach, others will consider it a little sentimental. But in the context of what was transpiring in Europe in the decade that led up to the Second World War, we realize that Roth is clinging to an era that he knows is about to disappear for good.
In his final chapters he deals more with the looming Nazi threat. An essay he wrote on Jewish children refugees was particularly illuminating and the determined ignorance of people in France and England as to what sort of person Hitler and his henchmen really were.
He also writes about writers from the early part of the century who were already setting the stage with their anti-Semitic writing. There's an interesting study done by an author who I can't remember that asserted that Hitler did not start anti-semitism. He fanned a flame that had already been ignited because he knew it would make him popular. He told the masses what they wanted to hear.
These final chapters alone are worth the price of the book.
View all my reviews