To Deserve Such Pain

During his lifetime, Leonid Tsypkin, who survived Hitler and Stalin only to face the sterility to post-war Soviet life, was forced to write “for the drawer.” Discovered by today’s audience, his style, which blurs the background while simultaneously capturing the specific, has special resonance in an age of near-total surveillance.

Prisoner of the Deep

The Leviathan may look to us like a cautionary tale about the peril to traditional provincial folk of entering the modern world. But interwar-period author Joseph Roth was no traditionalist at all but a cosmopolitan committed to the an imperial ideal. Perhaps The Leviathan should be seen as Roth’s farewell to the continent. Meet the protagonist of the story—a Jewish coral merchant living in a small town in the Ukrainian region of Volhynia who loves his merchandise a bit too well—and meet Roth at the same time.