Sunday 12 May 2024

Book Review: Weights and Measures by Joseph Roth (Modern Classics)

Weights and Measures
Joseph Roth
Pushkin Press
29 October 2024 (1937)
160 pages
eBook - PDF
Modern Classics
ARC via Edelweiss

At his wife's insistence, Eibenschutz leaves his job as an artilleryman in the Austrian army for a job as Weights and Measures Inspector in a remote part of the Empire near the Russian border. Attempting to exercise some rectitude in his duties, he is at sea in a world of smugglers, profiteers and small-time crooks. When he discovers that his wife has become pregnant by his own clerk, he spends less and less time at home, preferring to frequent a tavern on the border. Here, he becomes hopelessly drawn to a gypsy woman; she, however, is prepared to share the bed of the landlord Jadlowker, Eibenschutz's enemy, an unprincipled profiteer who has made the tavern a beacon for smuggling activity.


Weights and Measures was a short but impactful read. It was fascinating to see Eibenschutz's downward spiral, and Roth's tight prose immediately got to the nitty gritty of every moment, thought-process and emotion. Eibenschutz's longing and nostalgia could be seen also to mirror the decline of the world around him as it hovers on the cusp of war. I enjoyed Roth's writing style immensely and would be interested to read more of his works in the future. I am giving this book four stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

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