Translated from the German
This novel by Max Brod was first published in Berlin in 1912. The eponymous hero Arnold Beer is a young Jewish man living in the assimilated community of Prague. He is talented but something of a dandy and dilettante. Some aspects of Brod’s novel are clearly autobiographical – Beer is heavily involved in the promotion of an air show and there are clear echoes of the show in Brescia in 1909 which Brod and his friend Franz Kafka attended.
Fleeing an entanglement with his secretary, a Christian girl, and the imminent catastrophic failure of his air show, Arnold visits his 94-year-old grandmother who lives in the country. At first embarrassed by his relationship to the impoverished and ailing old woman, he soon develops a deep affection for her and ‘a love for his own roots’.
5th May 2020