At the end of the Great War, Andreas Pum has lost a leg but at least he has a medal and a barrel-organ which he plays on the streets of Vienna. At first the simple-minded veteran is satisfied with his lot, and he even finds an ample widow to marry. But then a public quarrel with a respectable citizen on a tram turns Andreas's life onto a rapid downward trajectory. As he loses first his beggar's permit, then his new wife, and even his freedom, he is finally provoked into rejecting his blind faith in the benevolence of both government and God.

About the author

Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth was born in 1894 into a Jewish family living in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and now split between Poland and Ukraine. He became a successful journalist and travelled widely, eventually becoming best-known for his novels The Radetzky March (also in Penguin Modern Classics), The Emperor's Tomb and The Legend of the Holy Drinker . He died in Paris in 1939.
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