Weights and Measures by Joseph Roth

Most people depart this world without having acquired so much as a grain of truth about themselves. Possibly they acquire it in the next world. Some, however, are granted self-knowledge while they are still in this world. It usually comes to them quite suddenly and alarms them mightily. Inspector Eibenschütz belonged to this category of men.

originally published in 1937  by the name Das falsche Gewicht and translated by David Le Vay from German, this short novel tells the story Anselm Eibenschütz downfall and tragedy.

in the beginning of the novel Eibenschütz was a reserved non commissioned soldier who enjoyed the life of barracks but because of his wife he was forced to leave the military life he enjoyed and to start to live like a normal civilian life

he would never have abandoned the military if his wife, in her rigorous, even inflexible, manner, had not compelled him to do so

after his departure from military he was appointed as Inspector of Weights and Measures to the district of Zlotogrod which was very corrupt town, and just as he arrived the townspeople and the officials didn’t like him just because

All the members of the group met Inspector Eibenschütz with mistrust, not only because he was a stranger and a newcomer but because they supposed him to be a thoroughly honest man who had not yet become a lost soul.
For they themselves were lost souls. They suffered themselves to be bribed and they bribed others. They defrauded God and the world and their superiors. But even the superiors in turn defrauded their higher superiors

if  his work environment was not positive his marital life also didn’t farewell as he felt very lonely around his wife and sensed her indifference to him but also very nostalgic to the very predicted military life he used to enjoy.

after several weeks our Eibenschütz discovers his wife infidelity and this leads him to hate his wife more and stay outside house more often then he used and even after his return to his house he become more lonely that even the cats didn’t allow him to pat them, just then he falls in love with gypsy women who  his passion to him would lead him to downfall.

although Eibenschütz is very kind person but he also very rigid when it comes to his work and doesn’t forgive any misdeeds done by the poor townspeople which only makes him to hate himself more and for the townspeople to hate him more, and how his love for the gypsy women changed his point view of world and nature around him.

it is amazing how love and mood can affect how we see our surrounding and how we humans have the ability to give meanings to something which have no meaning outside our brain

But the breeze from above was already mild and reminiscent of Easter, and when one looked up at the sky one could see that the stars standing there no longer looked quite so cold and pitiless. It felt as if they had moved a little closer to the earth. At the same time, a very benevolent, very gentle wind made itself felt

 

this is one of the least known works of Joseph Roth and unless you have little biography and background of the author and Austria Hungry empire you would loss the meaning of this novel and its autobiographical nature

 112 pages
Published October 5th 2017 by Penguin Classics

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Weights and Measures by Joseph Roth

      1. that sounds so fantastic, and a big recommendation if he’s one of the best you’ve read! It’s strangely true how many groups seem to be nostalgic for being under the control of that kind of empire. And having lived in Austria, I can tell you they’ve never forgotten that they were once the center of an empire!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. well for example ISIS uses that nostalgia which many Muslims feel for the Caliphate to recruit many gullible Muslims.
        Ren you remember that book you recommended to me Dancing Bears also tells how many nations who were Communist once including mine yearn for that authoritarian life where people were citizens before they become sects in Iraq and tribes in Somalia
        one book leads to other i guess

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s