The incomparable Joseph Roth imagines Emperor Napoleon's last grab at glory, the hundred days spanning his escape from Elba to his final defeat at Waterloo. This particularly poignant work, set in the first half of 1815 and largely in Paris, is told from two perspectives, that of Napoleon himself and that of the lowly, devoted palace laundress Angelica--an unlucky creature who deeply loves him. In The Hundred Days, Roth refracts the deep sorrow of their intertwined fates.
Roth's signature lyrical elegance and haunting atmospheric details sing in The Hundred Days. "There may be," as James Wood has stated, "no modern writer more able to combine the novelistic and the poetic, to blend lusty, undamaged realism with sparkling powers of metaphor and simile."
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This is not perhaps the real Napoleon, but it's certainly a remarkable creation that leaps off the page.--Jake Kerridge
What a marvelous writer! Read him now, you can thank me later.--Michael Dirda