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3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
This gripping biography of the great Czech novelist, diarist and short story writer chronicles Kafka's entire (if tragically curtailed) life (1883-1924), but it focuses upon the writer's relationship to his father and his inheritance as a member of the Jewish mercantile bourgeoisie in Prague. Born into a German- speaking Jewish family, Kafka was a subject of the Austro-Hun ...more
Published June 2nd 2005 by Abacus Software (first published 2004)
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Modern biography of Kafka, by a professional biographer rather than a friend. Lighter and more readable than Brod's, with more context because of the benefit of hindsight, eg lots of stuff about class/cultural divisions in Prague, Jewish life etc, that Brod took for granted. Focused very much on how his relationships with women (and his father) affected his life and work.

See my Kafka-related bookshelf for other works by and about Kafka (
Jun 03, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An acceptable biography, certainly does not eclipse the bio of Reiner Stach, who gives me clear insight into how Kafka experienced the world and himself.
Cooper Renner
I was about 40% through this one before I finally wore out on endless quotes from K's letters and analyses of his angst, deciding to skip those sections and just concentrate on the "outer" life, dealings with friends and publishers and so on. I ended up just flipping through page after page , occasionally stopping for a reference to a publisher or his health. So I didn't read quite half of the book as a whole. Maybe if it had been subtitled "A Psychoanalytic Life," I would have skipped the book ...more
Jim Good
Dec 17, 2009 Jim Good rated it liked it
Story of Franz Kafka from birh through death. Appears unhappy in many aspects of his life much though that may be tinted by hthe biographer relying heavily on his letters to his twice engaged andnever married fiancee. Shows the development of his writing techniques and his relationship with his father and how that interplayed with each other. An entertaining read for those interested in Kafka's writings, but may be more interesting as a piece on period courting and dealing with terminal illness.
Nov 17, 2010 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a very good biography on one of the greatest literary authors/novelists of the first half of the twentieth century, and probably the best of central Europe's literary product. It reads well and it flows, but it took me almost a year to come back to it and finish reading it. The book covers his relationships with women, his parents, his literary connections. It's not a feel good book, but it is interesting enough to want me to follow it up with reading of one Kafka's original works.
Sep 25, 2009 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this concise biography, filled with quotes and anecdotes, that makes a life in which not much happens seem rather riveting. Also provides an intriguing background to read Kafka's fiction against.
Rather stable biography of Kafka. As much of Kafka's life was recorded in the letters he wrote to others and were majorly saved, as well as the thick amount of diaries Kafka kept and were preserved after his death, biographer Nicholas Murray keeps his biography of Kafka majorly based solely on the factual, linear progression of these items maintained by Kafka himself, and investigating into the truthfulness of them (and depicting where there may be falsehood/difference) when appropriate.

As far a
Krvava Meri
Feb 16, 2014 Krvava Meri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kafkovo biografijo sem brala dva meseca in pol. Zelo mučno jo je namreč brati. Zaradi prepoznavanja sebe v Kafkovih tesnobah in odtujenosti od sveta. In zaradi njegovega trpljenja v malem mračnem svetu, ki si ga je ustvaril znotraj zidov svojega jaza. Vendar to je tudi razlog za vztrajnost pri branju. Trudiš se razumeti večnega dečka iskrivih oči in mu skozi branje njegove biografije ponuditi vsaj trohico razumevanja, ki ga ni bil deležen v svojem kratkem življenju.

Pričakovala sem, da mi bo najt
May 19, 2015 Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I kind of didn't understand Kafka's stories/books, but after knowing about his life, I totally do understand them now! Nicholas Murray was very clear to talk about Kafka's life. Everything is much easier now when I read Kafka. If you are looking for a good biography, this is the right book!
Oct 06, 2010 Eduardo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This biography is very readable & paints a wonderful picture of an enigmatic and interesting writer and thinker. It made me want t re-read The Trail & The Castle.
Jun 03, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I've ever cried so hard in my life as I did when I finished this biography.
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Nicholas Murray is an English biographer, poet and journalist.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
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