The latest addition to my website is Joseph Roth‘s Die Geschichte der 1002. Nacht (The String of Pearls; The Tale of the 1002nd Night). This is another excellent novel by Roth, focussing on three characters whose life all takes a turn for the worse, particularly as a result of the visit of the Shah of Persia to Vienna in 1873. The Shah wants a particular Austrian countess to sleep with and in order to placate him and preserve her, Baron Taittinger comes up with a look-alike, Mizzi, one of his former flings. The Shah is not too happy but Mizzi is rewarded with a string of pearls. As in other novels, by Roth and others, the pearls bring bad luck for the Baron and Mizzi as well as the owner of the brothel where Mizzi works. We gradually follow the downfall of all three, as a combination of bad luck and trying and failing to function outside of their normal sphere of activity, leads them to disaster. The novel is superbly well told and must rate as one of Roth’s finest.