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Job: The Story of a Simple Man was published in 1930. The novel tells the story of an orthodox Jew whose faith is challenged after a series of misfortunes that result in him immigrating from Tsarist Russia to New York City's Lower East Side. Harriet Porter of The Guardian reviewed the book in 2000: "Roth captures essential truths about faith, hope and despair within his reworking of a Biblical story. His writing is rich without being dense, and has a fable-like directness."
Joseph Roth is one of the best-known of European Jewish novelists. Originally from Brody in Austrian Galicia, he lived in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris working largely as a newspaper columnist and correspondent. His work Radetzky March is considered by many to be a classic of 20th century literature. A common theme in his work is the passing of the "old world" and the danger of the political and social forces that emerge following the First World War. In 1933 he moved to Paris as a refugee from the Nazi regime. Roth died in Paris of poor health related to alcoholism six years later, in 1939. The Leo Baeck Institute is pleased to hold a large body of original, handwritten manuscripts and personal photographs kept by the author, now found in our archives.
Joining us for this session is Keiron Pim, British journalist and author, whose much-anticipated biography of Joseph Roth will be published by Granta books in 2022. A writer on a wide-variety of subjects, from pop culture history to medieval Hebrew Poetry, his book Jumpin’ Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the Rock’n’Roll Underworld, was named the best debut biography of 2016 in the Guardian. You can learn more about Keiron Pim and his other work on his website here.
Purchasing or Borrowing the Book
You can purchase the book here. You may read whichever translation works best/most accessible to you.
You can prepare in advance by listening to Keiron Pim discussing Roth’s novel Job: the Story of a Simple Man and other Roth works in an online panel discussion here.