The Hundred Days

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Overview

Napoleon's return to the throne in Paris, as imagined by the incomparable Joseph Roth.
Set during the infamous period between Napoleon’s escape from Elba and his second defeat and recapture at Waterloo, The Hundred Days describes the great Emperor’s last shot at glory and his final transformation from a godlike ruler into an ordinary, humble man. Roth frames the novel through the perspectives of Napoleon himself as well as his devoted Corsican laundress Angelina, to show the ...
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The Hundred Days

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Overview

Napoleon's return to the throne in Paris, as imagined by the incomparable Joseph Roth.
Set during the infamous period between Napoleon’s escape from Elba and his second defeat and recapture at Waterloo, The Hundred Days describes the great Emperor’s last shot at glory and his final transformation from a godlike ruler into an ordinary, humble man. Roth frames the novel through the perspectives of Napoleon himself as well as his devoted Corsican laundress Angelina, to show the demise of their seemingly intertwined fates. The Hundred Days is enriched with Roth’s signature lyrical elegance and haunting atmospheric details.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-07-02
Sympathy for characters vies withpurplish prose and blaring symbols in this reimagining of Napoleon's briefresurgence after his first exile.Roth (Joseph Roth: A Life inLetters, 2012, etc.) focuses on the period (actually 111 days) betweenNapoleon's triumphant return to Paris from banishment on Elba and his defeat atWaterloo, imagining a great man moving toward his downfall. In this slimhistorical novel, the author dwells on the Corsican's solitude, ambitions andshifting emotions in two sections, while two others concern a palace laundressnamed Angelina, also Corsican, who is infatuated with the emperor and whoseaunt tells fortunes for the great man. Napoleon has an encounter with thewasherwoman that leads to an almost-tryst, as well as two brushes with her son,a drummer boy in the army. The second of these, on his final battlefield, is,like many of the book's stronger scenes, damp with bathos. Angelina brieflyinterrupts her adoration of the man, "so great that everything in the world washis," to dally with the "world of sabres, spurs, boots and woven braid" in theperson of "the magnificent Sergeant-Major Sosthene," a comic giant and thedrummer boy's dad. She will also find refuge during the Elba days in the bed ofa kind Polish cobbler with a wooden leg. Aside from reviewing his troops,studying his maps and visiting his mom, Napoleon does little until his coachride to Belgium and flight to the Atlantic and his last jailers, the British.Roth dwells at length on his solitude and his consciousness of time runningshort. Ticking clocks and trickling sand in "an hourglass of polished beryl"are less than subtle reminders of "his enemy, Time."Where the classic Radetsky Marchcould woo any reader with its breadth, insight and humor, this novel offers asentimental miniaturist painting soppy little scenes that maybe only a Rothcompletist will appreciate.
From the Publisher

"[Roth's] Napoleon is a vivid depiction of waning greatness." — The Boston Review
Library Journal
07/01/2014
Newly translated after being out of print in English for 70 years, this novel by Austrian master Roth (Radetzky March; The Wandering Jews) captures Europe at a time of great political upheaval. The themes are grand and sweeping: the madness of war and politics, the frenzy of mass movements, and the cult of personality. The oversize personality at the center of this novel is Napoleon (although it could easily be Hitler or Mussolini). Roth brings the idolization and hero worship of this leader beautifully to life through the eyes of a wonderful fictional creation: Angelina, a simple country girl who works in the Imperial Palace as a maid and washerwoman. She loves Napoleon above all else, and the author explores the human cost of this young woman's deep and tragic love. The trajectory of the novel addresses Angelina's misplaced hero worship, gradually transforming Napoleon from a god to a defeated general at Waterloo. Roth has filled this novel with his gorgeous, trademark descriptive writing. VERDICT A tender, heartbreaking novel about living in the modern world; recommended for fans of literary fiction.—Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811222785
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 700,603
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Roth (1894-1939) has been admired by J. M. Coetzee, Cathleen Schine, Jeffrey Eugenides, Joseph Brodsky, and Nadine Gordimer, among others. His noted works include The Radetzky March, The Legend of the Holy Drinker, The Leviathan (his final work, published posthumously after Roth’s untimely death at the age of 44) and the anthology The Collected Stories of Joseph Roth.

Richard Panchyk is the author, editor, or translator of over twenty books.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 13, 2012

    Interesting change of pace for Roth

    Set during Napoleon's 100 Days and concerning the emperor himself, and one of his washerwomen, this is quite a change from Roth's more typical novels set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mostly in the Austrian Empire or its remnants. The Hundred Days is much more internalized than is common for Roth, and thus either more slowly moving or much faster, depending on one's tastes. Napoleon is the central character, and two of the novel's four "books" move almost entirely within Napoleon's thoughts. I prefer the other works, most of which I have read by now, but this too is insightful and well-done.

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