In The Hotel Years, Hofmann has chosen a selection of these columns to illustrate Roth’s experiences and writing style. Each column sketches a detail of his life, from details of the hotel itself to his experiences during the rise of antisemitism.
We also learn how his experiences in the Great War had shaped him, with his jaded view of the futility of armed forces. This is again reflected in cynical views of the rise of violence in Germany during the 1930s, and an understanding of where all this is likely to lead.
But then the mix includes the difficulty in interacting with a beautiful woman in his railway compartment. He also reflections on how life has continued even in Sarajevo, the point where the trigger for the War was fired.