Radetzky March


So far I've read 6.5* of the 10 (purportedly) greatest German novels of the 20th century, and just now have come to Joseph Roth's Radetzky March. The faded elegance of the K.u.K. monarchy gives me such a whack of nostalgia that I begin to believe I may have lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in a former life. I'd like to think I was a cavalry captain, but I probably was an assistant junior scrivener in the Hungarian Land Tax (g) Assessment Subdirectorate.

In any case, I am loving Radetzky March. The unsentimental melancholy, the heel-clicking manners, Roth's bemused irony, alles so mitteleuropäisch. The father-son dialogue is priceless: 'Watch out for the girls! Most of them are sick!' — 'Jawohl, papa!' I hope it never ends, but when it does I'll post a few comments. 

* I'm still wandering through the third book of The Man Without Qualities, which meanders a bit. Kind of like the second part of Faust.