JOSEPH ROTH NOVEL: “FLIGHT WITHOUT END”

April 9, 2011 at 8:13 am | Posted in Books, History, Literary | Leave a comment

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Flight Without End

Joseph Roth (Author)

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook TP
  • January 15, 2003
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781585673858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585673858

Franz Tunda is  a man whose story Joseph Roth tells in Flight Without End (even the title seems somehow appropriate). Both, fact and fiction, relate the tragedy of central Europe this century. Tunda was a product of the First World War.

Half Polish, he served in the Austro-Hungarian army, was captured by the Russians but escaped to hide out in the vastness of Siberia. When the war ended he was re-captured by the White Russians and threatened with death. He survived to fight with a unit of the Red Army during the Soviet Revolution. Disillusioned and dismayed by Communist fanaticism he made his way west in search of a new life, leaving his Russian wife behind. This quest too ended in frustration and exclusion.

Tunda, then, is what polite opinion would call the model of an unreliable character. For Roth, however, Tunda’s ideas were as little egotistical as they were moralistic. What defined him was his restless desire for freedom and ‘he was as willing to throw away his assets as he was able to avert what was of disadvantage. He behaved as the mood took him, occasionally from conviction, always from necessity.’

Tunda’s story is one of personal loss and alienation, of restless disappointment. And like all of Roth’s characters, the personal loss symbolises a larger one, the passing of a way of life.

Roth ends the novel with the striking line: ‘No one in the whole world was as superfluous as he.’ The great struggle in which Lotnik fought and suffered ultimately made of him a superfluous character. And the world he once knew disappeared as well.

Flight Without End

Joseph Roth (Author)

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