Amerika
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Amerika

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  10,250 ratings  ·  371 reviews
Amerika (auch: Der Verschollene) ist neben Das Schloss und Der Process einer der drei unvollendeten Romane von Franz Kafka, entstanden zwischen 1911 und 1914 und 1927 von seinem Freund und Herausgeber Max Brod postum veroffentlicht. In den fruhen Ausgaben wurde der Roman unter dem von Brod bestimmten Titel Amerika" veroffentlicht. Siehe hierzu untenstehenden Bucheinband de...more
Library Binding, 277 pages
Published 1946 by New Directions (first published 1927)
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Chak
Sep 09, 2008 Chak rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: angst-ridden hipsters who aren't worth the trouble to punch
Recommended to Chak by: my husband... THANKS!
Shelves: fiction
Life is too short. Don't walk - RUN - away from this book. Masochist that I am, I got more than two-thirds through the book and finally could not stand it anymore. Amerika is about this 16 year old boy named Karl who gets exiled to America by his German parents after impregnating a household servant. Just as he was bewildered and passive during the aforementioned fornication (the maid overtly seduced him), Karl remained so for the rest of the book (at least what I read). Repeatedly, and without...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
My copy has a Preface written by one Klaus Mann in August 1940. It describes Franz Kafka's life, his very sad life. He had poor health, worked in a gloomy office, never made enough money and with a solitary romance that was "doomed to dreary frustration." He never enjoyed any spectacular success as an author. His works became famous only after he died. Drats.

AMERIKA was supposed to be Kafka's light, funny and optimistic novel. It tells the story of Karl Rossman, a poor boy of sixteen who had bee...more
Lobstergirl
Apr 01, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marco Rubio
Shelves: covers, own, fiction

Well my friend Chak says to run from this book - she recommends it for "angst-ridden hipsters who aren't worth the trouble to punch" - which doesn't describe me - I like to think I am worth the trouble to punch. But I saw it in the store with this adorable Edward Gorey cover (totally uncredited) and knew it would be mine all mine. It smells like an old mausoleum but that's what I get for buying a book from the Eisenhower era.

-----

Wow. Weird, weird, weird. I liked the first third of Amerika quite...more
Nicholas Karpuk
I had difficulties not feeling like a tool while reading Kafka at work on my breaks. A guy with a beard and thick rimmed glasses read Amerika, just makes me feel like a parody of myself.

Kafka is one of those authors young men latch on to in high school or college and inevitably talk way too much about. I can definitely see the appeal with the themes of alienation and a system that works against the well-meaning individual. But there's something I realized while reading this book:

Kafka would have...more
Chad Post
A couple years ago, some trickster posted the first page of David Foster Wallace's INFINITE JEST to a Yahoo group looking for advice about "his" new novel. Not surprisingly, the um, yahoos, didn't recognize the source text and populated the message board with all sorts of terrible advice about the lack of action and the fact that he "knows what to do--just dump it and start over!"

Obviously, this provided a shitton of laughs for the literati, for those who respect DFW's writing and know that the...more
Zöe Zhai
A very nice story. One cannot tell if it is an unfinished one. It doesn't like The Castle or The Trial at all. There is a name for his protagonist, a realistic journey, although it is from his imagination.

For the first two or three chapters, I couldn't put down the book. It's attracting, appealing. I wanted to find what's going on the next. In the book, the atmosphere is haunted with European and American emotional conflict. And Karl, the protagonist, is in between.

Because Karl got seduced and...more
معتز
ما الذي يسعني قوله!
أن تلك الرواية تقرأ ببطء دفعة ثم تترك، ثم تقرأ من جديد و تترك كأنها جرعات على فترات
أن لها من الأثر ما يترك ترسبات في روح قارئها.. على الأقل بالنسبة لي نفسية، رغم ما سمعته أنها تعد أكثر روايات كافكا تفاؤلاً ، سعادة ، أو بهجة..
ما أفهمه هو أن كافكا قدم حياة واقعية عادية في إطار غير عادي و دون مبالغات تصويرية، و لا عجب في ذلك.. فالواقعية السحرية خرجت من تحت عباءته
.
تلك القدرة التي تجعله قادرًا على أن ينقل مشهد عادي من الحياة لا يبدو منطقيًا ليجعله ممنطقًا ومقنعًا أكثر من اللازم.
يقو...more
Wyatt
Much like the protagonist in Roth's recent Indignation, one can't help but sympathize with and occasionally relate to Kafka's young tragic hero Carl, who, despite his efforts and good intentions is misread, slandered, and otherwise abused and molested while trying to make his way up in the world--held at bay of course by the lack of objectivity and empathy of people in power. In this case, the power mongers are rather lowly themselves: the cooks and waiters at the hotel where Carl finds himself...more
Cecily
The first chapter (The Stoker) was published as a short story and is included in The Metamorphosis. The usual themes of alienation/rejection, aspiring to please/fit in, being bemused in unfamiliar territory are there, but it is generally more optimistic and realistic than his other novels, though the final chapter (about the Nature Theatre of Oklahoma) is much more surreal, and doesn't really seem to "fit" with the rest of the novel.

See my Kafka-related bookshelf for other works by and about Ka...more
Tony
Kafka, Franz. AMERIKA. (THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED). (Ger. vers. 1927; this translation 1996). ***. This was Kafka’s first novel, but the last to be published. As far as one can tell with Kafka, he never edited it for publication, with the usual unfinished ending. It actually starts off as if there will be a story and/or a plot, but soon fizzles out to the author’s usual disoriented meandering into a variety of styles and incidents that are only loosely – if at all – interconnected. My belief has n...more
Blair
So I read the translation by Michael Hofmann from 1996, about which New Directions says, "the translator returned to the manuscript version of the book, restoring matters of substance and detail: material appears which has never before been presented in English and the original ending is also reinstated." Hofmann's introduction is good, and he counters Muir's claim that it is a story of innocence by saying, "I think the opening sentence establishes Karl's guilt beyond all doubt. He may feel and...more
Bogdan
I really liked this style of Kafka, some sort of naturalism or realism. Comparing with the other short novels and some fragments from "The Trial", this novel is totally different. I really enjoyed it, and I liked the innocence of Karl Rossman, the main character. It is pretty bad that Kafka did not manage to finish the book and that some chapters at the end are not quite polished. The last chapter, "Oklahoma Theater", resembled a little bit with Pinocchio, and the main character has the mix betw...more
Rima Ibrahim
ما أن تنتهي من قراءة هذا الكتاب حتى تتنهد و تسمسح عرق جبينك كما لو أنك قد فقت من حلم مزعج مليء بالتفاصيل, و هذه حال كتابات كافكا في العادة
هي رواية كافكا "الأمريكية" كما وصفها, و التي لم يضع لها عنواناً, و لا نهاية, و سقط فصل ما منها يجعل بعض الأحداث تقف عن موضع ما فيها لتبدأ أحداث أخرى, هي رواية كافكا اليتيمة, و تعرف أيضا بروايتها المتفائلة, رغم أنك قد لا تجد أي نوع من التفاؤل داخلها لكن حالها أفضل بكثير عن باقي رواياته الكابوسية.. المميز في هذه الرواية كونها تتحدث عن شاب نزل الأرض الأمريكية و...more
Kaveh
داستان كوتاه "آتش انداز" را كه در مجموعه داستان هاي كوتاه كافكا آمده است، گسترش داده و به صورت رمان درآورده است. آن داستان كوتاه، فصل اول اين رمان است. رماني كه كافكا قصد داشته، برخلاف بقيه ي داستان هايش، اميدبخش باشد و پاياني خوش داشته باشد. متاسفانه چندين فصل از فصل هاي مياني كتاب مفقود است و همين ما را از تحولات داستان ناآگاه مي گذارد.
Núria
Yo quiero a mi Franz más oscuro y pesimista, gracias. Esta novela se me antoja (en comparación) como demasiado convencional, poco kafkiana.
Russell Olson
Kafka's ability to turn the banal and mundane into a fantastical dream world is incomparable. The mintue you delve into his own brand of sentence and grammar you are pulled away from the familiar and into its distorted mirror image. The "k" in "Amerika," is without a doubt Kafka's signature. This Amerika is the self-absorbed, work driven and character obsessed America, not the "with liberty and justice for all," America. The opening paragraph clues you in immediately, the Lady Liberty of Amerika...more
§--
A parody of Horatio Alger, very much like Nathanael West's A Cool Million. A young boy arrives at Ellis Island, and must pull himself up by his bootstraps. His uncle, a US Senator, takes him in, introduces him to high society, but then, one night, one of his wealthy friends tells Karl that he's no longer welcome in the Senator's house. The Senator has provided him with a one-way ticket to San Francisco. But then, on the way, Karl meets some alcoholic bums, and travels with them to the nearby cit...more
Jason
Like much of Kafka's oeuvre, Amerika is all but filled with maniacally hostile figures of authority and the hopelessness of a (too) forthright protagonist attempting to stave off their machinations as soon as the slightest show of weakness is made. Then those who have stood by the protagonist are made to suffer on the sidelines as they are witness to his repeated falls. The Lift-boy sequence is quite reminiscent of the entire journey of the Land Surveyor in The Castle.

Somehow the seeming fortune...more
Matthew
Kafka is a fantastic writer, and I did like the story of Karl ... but there were a lot of parts to this one that dragged on and on. I quickly grew tired of Karl's failure to succeed, and his inability to stand up for himself.



That being said, there is a lot of literary value in Amerika, and it is something that I am glad to have read. I especially like Kafka's take on American society, especially since he never made it to America at all. Little wonders like the desk that could open to any size an...more
Seif Salama
I found this to be a difficult novel to think of as by Franz Kafka's. My prior acquaintance with Kafka is with The Trial, The Castle and Metamorphosis. This book seems on the surface to be so different. There is a tone of lightness, airiness, even comedy. I found virtually none of these things in my other Kafka readings. I learned a great deal about reading Kafka from this novel. I had never consciously realized it, but I had thought that some of the odd and bizarre things which happened in The...more
Stephen
As E.L. Doctorow says in a very perceptive introduction to this volume, "Kafka would always have difficulty with the longer form of the novel" (xix). This difficulty is in evidence here. I am a great fan of both Kafka's "The Castle" and "The Trial," wherein the sheer power of the psychological and, I would say, religious themes compensate richly for a somewhat clunky presentation. But in this case the compensation is not so clear. Karl Rossmann, the young "hero" of "Amerika," is sent by his fami...more
Pat
There's something I've noticed about pre 1900 European adolescent protagonists (Karl, anyone in Dickens, Jude The Obscure) that I just fucking loathe.

Partly it's the total lack of agency, any random sketchbag who floats across their transom holds them completely in thrall. Delamarche and Robinson start out by making Karl sell his own clothes (he's has a prepaid train ticket to San Fran to look for work and has a pocket full of money, but instead he takes their advice to sell the clothes off his...more
David
If the author wasn't Franz Kafka, I would expect it to have been written by someone else. Admittedly, it was his first book, and was supposed to be a comedy of sorts, but I did not find it particularly entertaining or humorous. It was interesting, that having never visited the United States, he was able to relatively accurately display what it may have been like to be an American immigrant in a variety of scenarios. Now that I have read everything by Kafka, out of some sense of masochism, I woul...more
Cleo
I started reading Amerika, one of Kafka’s three great unfinished novels, with this essay by David Foster Wallace in mind. In it he laments the difficulty he has trying to get his students to appreciate the humour of Kafka’s work - a humour which he muses can seem alien in a culture that has learnt to “see jokes as entertainment and entertainment as reassurance.” I promptly forgot all about David Foster Wallace’s opinions as I got lost in the maze of plot - but as I neared the end it came back to...more
Lee Broderick
This is probably the least satisfactory of all of Franz Kafka's unfinished novels. My edition came with an introduction which filled in the history of the work and helped to explain some of its peculiarities. Apparently it was the first story that Kafka began to write, before even Metamorphosis and his other short stories. There after he returned to it at various points.

That disjointed gestation explains a lot of its idiosyncrasies. The first two thirds of the novel are completely unlike his lat...more
Stacy Palacios
I have not read much from Kafka, but up to what I have heard from other people he is a good author. However, in my opinion America was not his best work. I do have to admit that this might be because he did not even finish the book in the first place and was not meant to be published. It’s very well written, I will give Kafka credit for that; but it is still not my favorite. I did not like how Kafka could not make up his mind on whether if Karl was sixteen or seventeen. I think the story would h...more
Daniel Jon
So. Another K. gets swallowed up in a bewildering landscape of rules, pitfalls, traps, illogicality and hilarity. This time, it is some form of Americ(k)a, rather than the Trial's bureaucracy or the social maze of the Castle, that renders this particular K. so helpless, though it's clear, from Kafka's original title, 'The Man Who Disappeared', that this is perhaps intended as a portrait of an individual, probably Kafka himself at the time of writing, rather than a social critique of a continent,...more
Patty
Wow - I wish I would have realized from the beginning that Kafka did not finish this book! Yet, at the same time, it is an engaging and fast-moving read.

That said, it offers some great insight of some of the immigrant experience. You see the main character, Karl, have to struggle through some tough situations in a new land. He is thrust into many situations where he has to trust complete strangers, which is hit-or-miss, just as it is in real-life. Because he has no almost no familial connection...more
Jon
I can't compare Mark Harman's translation to the old one by Edwin and Willa Muir since I haven't read that, but I enjoyed this very much. (This is the first time the word "enjoy", rather than "admire", applies to a Kafka work in my experience.) Karl Rossmann is a turn-of-the-20th-century Pinocchio (with sleazy companions Robinson and Delamarche as the Fox and the Cat) trying to become a real person, a modern-day Candide whose innocence hurts him while standing him in good stead at the same time....more
Eric
Odd and uneven, as an unfinished novel should be, I suppose. Still puzzling over whether Kafka thought there was bridge from NY to Boston, whether it's a simple error, or if he were making some sort of surreal point about what's possible in Amerika. Some of the passages are stunningly clear and eerily beautiful, like an early one when Karl steps out onto a balcony and sees New York as though refracted through shards of glass. Other passages, with Delamarche, Robinson and others, seem strained an...more
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Who is fanny? 7 120 Jul 12, 2013 01:58PM  
  • Conversations with Kafka
  • Franz Kafka's The Castle (Dramatization)
  • Wittgenstein's Nephew
  • The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
  • Couples, Passersby
  • Doctor Faustus
  • Exile and the Kingdom
  • The Man Without Qualities Vol. 1: A Sort of Introduction and Pseudo Reality Prevails
  • Auto-da-Fé
  • I'm Not Stiller
  • Group Portrait with Lady
  • Dog Years (The Danzig Trilogy, #3)
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Vertigo
  • The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr
  • The German Lesson
  • Jakob von Gunten
  • The Hothouse
5223
Franz Kafka (German pronunciation: [ˈfʀants ˈkafka]) was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (presently the Czech Republic), Austria–Hungary. His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered to be among the most influential in Western lite...more
More about Franz Kafka...
The Metamorphosis The Trial The Complete Stories The Metamorphosis and Other Stories The Castle

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“So then you’re free?’
‘Yes, I’m free,’ said Karl, and nothing seemed more worthless than his freedom.”
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“It's impossible to defend oneself in the absence of goodwill” 9 likes
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