I do not feel that I’ve gotten a very good sense of Britain in the four months since I moved to London for graduate school. And so, seeking to understand this place a little better, I did what I sometimes do when I’m not sure what to think about something: I turned to George Orwell.
What happened on Friday was not a regime officer tossing copies of Marx one by one into a bonfire in a public square, but it was nonetheless a book burning, an attempt to intimidate a movement or stifle an ideology by destroying its literature.
Conquistadors noted that the Aztec capital – with these verdant gardens rolling into the royal city of pyramids and palaces – was more breathtaking than any in Europe. Then they leveled most of the pyramids and filled in most of the canals.
Yet another tired page in a growing collection of articles that are inexplicably obsessed with the apparent demise of middle-class, heterosexual romance and the endless perils of being a millennial twenty-something.
Hoffman’s biographical passages, expert arrangement of Joseph Roth’s correspondence, and crisp footnotes yield a full arc of synchronised decay — the social fabric of Europe, Roth’s career, and his worldview — all in unison.