Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Hunger Artist” as Want to Read:
A Hunger Artist
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Hunger Artist

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  8,534 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
The last book published during Kafka's lifetime, A Hunger Artist (1924) explores many of the themes that were close to him: spiritual poverty, asceticism, futility, and the alienation of the modern artist. He edited the manuscript just before his death, and these four stories are some of his best known and most powerful work, marking his maturity as a writer. In addition t ...more
Hardcover, Kafka's Short Prose, 84 pages
Published January 15th 1996 by Twisted Spoon Press (first published January 1st 1924)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Hunger Artist, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Hunger Artist

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Petra Eggs
Dec 07, 2011 Petra Eggs rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
What he did for fame. What he did to prove himself. How some people take things to extremes and then find the thing itself has taken them over. How pointless it is to die for something so petty. How perhaps the clarity of imminent mortality makes the protagonist confess the true reason for his self-starvation. If he did, if it was.

Or if it was really about that at all? Was it really about the existential pleasure of living for the day and enjoying what there is? Or perhaps it was about if a tre
Huda Yahya
May 06, 2012 Huda Yahya rated it it was amazing

I am too overwhelmed to write , for i AM the hunger artist !
It's like watching yourself , your life , your decisions ,and above all your DEATH !
This is how i visioned my death ! I just didn't have any idea that another person knew how exactly it's going to be !
Kafka creeps the hell outta me . Seriously !
Steven  Godin
It would appear Kafka saved some of his best writing for the time just prior to his death in 1924, and "The Hunger Artist" has a feel of bitter irony and maturity but still retains the same ground as previous works, that being alienation and withdrawal. The exhibit point being a man in a cage fasting for 40 days, and from the first few sentences Kafka induces a consciousness of time by tempting the reader to inquire only of the situation of the hunger artist himself rather than worry about place ...more
This is a collection of four short stories, at least three of which concern performance art. These four are also included in some version of The Metamorphosis.

The First Sorrow

This tells of a trapeze artist so dedicated to his art, that he lives for and on his trapeze. Travel is torturous because he has to come down (though for longer journeys, he goes by train and lies in the overhead luggage rack!).

Voyeurism often features tangentially in Kafka's works (and sometimes explicitly), but that is no
Ibrahim Saad
Apr 26, 2015 Ibrahim Saad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

بما أن هذا العمل هو التجربة الثالثة لي في عالم فرانز كافكا ، أعتقد أنه بات من السهل أن أدرك أن أفضل وصف له ، هو ما وصف به نفسه قائلاً :
لا مبالٍ تماماً ومثيرٌ للشفقة؛ بئرٌ جفّت، والماءُ فيها على عمق يستحيلُ الوصول إليه، ولا شيءَ يؤكّد ما إذا كان هناكَ ماءٌ أصلاً. لا شيء، لا شيء. ما الذي هناكَ ليربطني بالماضي أو بالمستقبل؟ الحاضرُ شبحٌ يعبّرُ عنّي، فأنا لا أجلسُ إلى الطاولة بل أحومُ حولها. لاشيء، لا شيء. خواء، ملل، لا ليس مللاً بل مجرّد خواء، لامعنى، ضعف.

أكثر ما يعجبني في عالم هذا الكافكا المذهل
Apr 17, 2012 Prashant rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
When I was born, I started to learn the tricks of the world.

I did everything I was asked to do.

I did years of schooling.

I was asked to take a paying degree of engineering, I did it.

I was told that management is "THE" thing for the future and that's where the big bucks are. I did that too.

But somewhere down the line I lost track of myself.

What will happen if someday everything I did looses its relevance?

What will I do? Will I panic. Yes, sure.

But what will the future hold for me then?

How wil
Scarlet Cameo
Dec 01, 2014 Scarlet Cameo rated it really liked it
Shelves: rc-16
"Un hombre condenado a mirar al mundo con una claridad tan enceguecedora que éste le resultó insoportable y se encaminó hacia la muerte"

Esta es la descripción que hace Kafka del ayunador, un hombre que conforme se describe su mundo y su necesidad de sentir hambre transmite un velo de angustia y desolación que sólo él, y sus semejantes, podían entender. El arquetipo del hombre solo cuando está rodeado de gente, siempre inconforme con el mundo y completamente incomprendido pero, que al mismo tie
Sidharth Vardhan
For most part it could be read in different ways:

1. as an allegory on life of jesus. Jesus died trying to tell the people about righteous path. However, just like hunger artist he was never understood and soon ran out of fashion. To me personally, it appears weakest of interpretations.

2. About path of abstinence. Hunger artist was personification of abstinence and was replaced by ever hungry beast showing a change in values of society. He chooses abstinence because he could not be at peace with
Oct 02, 2016 Pantelis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just before the end, Dora Diamant gave Kafka an appetite for life...
Nov 06, 2013 Chaymâa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I always try to view a piece of art as abstract and intricate as the soul of its creator. Judging it by its surface would be like judging a person by their appearance, an opinion biased to its very core. Worshiping it according to its fame or its signature is discrimination against Art in its purest sense. I honestly have no idea where my thoughts will lead me. I know though that feelings are submerging me right now and I feel shrouded by the sight of this hunger artist. He was a master in the a ...more
Apr 01, 2016 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, 2016, kafka
The life of a nutrition deprived man in a cage, a prisoner by will. One of those stories you keep thinking about and sink into days after.
Dec 23, 2007 Faith rated it did not like it
Dear this book,

It's not you, it's me. I just hate you a lot. I hate you so much that it probably comes from some deep-down place where I actually hate myself for not being able to understand why people have been throwing this dang story at me with regularly repeating intervals for the past ten years. Maybe it's because each time I'm handed a dog-eared copy, I wake up the next morning with a red-wine hangover, draped in someone else's cardigan, because you actually, literally smell like patchoul
Nov 24, 2014 Vipassana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: philosophy, fiction
This is a tiny story and I'd recommend that everyone read it. Think about your hunger. Do you starve yourself for lack of nutrition or do you poison yourself with what you are given? Do you choke your children with your own inadequacy and suffocate those try to live consciously?

In the moments when one is faced with something intense, it is easy to get overwhelmed. But take twenty minutes, read this story and answer your questions.
Aug 13, 2013 Tracey rated it it was amazing
[There are a few spoilers throughout this review] This is likely my most valued short story of all time. The symbolism in this story is somewhat hidden, but if you're looking for it, it's right there in front of you. I remember hearing others talk about the story, and oftentimes they focused too much on the character and not enough on his mission. Yes, he is used as a man who starves himself literally throughout the story, but readers must ask themselves, is it really food that the hunger artist ...more
Jan Rice
Dec 09, 2014 Jan Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, ebook
I have a Kafka deficit.

I suddenly became aware of it. So when I saw a review of a very short short story of his I decided to read it--easily done since it's online.

I didn't read anything else about it first that would explain it or tell me what it was supposed to mean. Sometime recently, though, I did read something about Kafka. I thought it was The New Yorker, but according to Google they haven't published any Kafka articles since January, and it wasn't that long ago. It was something about hi
Georgiana Ileana
Jul 16, 2016 Georgiana Ileana rated it it was amazing
The book not only shows Kafka's desire for permanence and eternal recognition but is also the perfect allegory of the writer , the artist in general . It shows the modern artist's attitude towards existance and his struggle with going beyond his own limits . The "hunger" is undoubtely the lack of frivolities , which defines the life of the artist.

"Those who don't feel the hunger cannot understant it "
Victoria Thompson
Dec 19, 2012 Victoria Thompson rated it really liked it
It's life. All of us are in the cage, trying to be and do something that makes no sense and that leads only to death. Everyone else is our audience and our tormenters.
Ahmed Oraby
Mar 28, 2017 Ahmed Oraby rated it liked it
ولكن المزاج كان رغم كل ذلك كئيبا على الدوام، وراح يزداد  كآبة في جميع الأوقات، لأن أحدا لم يتمكن من أخذه على محمل الجد.
Víctor Galán
Jan 10, 2017 Víctor Galán rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este sencillo pero original cuento supone una de las obras más interesantes de su autor. La historia es la de un hombre que aparentemente solo disfruta pasando hambre, lo que atrae el interés del público hacia él. La dependencia del hombre hacia el fervor popular le hace creer que solo vale para ayunar y causar pena, se vuelve dependiente de un factor externo.
Cuando observar a gente ayunando pasa de moda, este intenta a la desesperada encontrar trabajo en un circo, donde lo aceptan pero pasa ca
Yash Sinojia
Dec 28, 2015 Yash Sinojia rated it really liked it
This short story was the last work of Kafka symbolically expresses the death.
In “A Hunger Artist,” the hunger artist’s troubled relationship with his spectators suggests that the artist exists apart from society and must therefore be misunderstood. In the hunger artist’s case, being an artist means cutting oneself off from the world, a conclusion reflected in the hunger artist’s conscious choice to sequester himself in a cage. This physical separation of hunger artist and spectator mirrors the s
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The Hunger Artist here is a symbol alright, but a symbol of what, your guess is probably as good as mine. As portrayed, he is somewhat like a modern magician of stunts, David Blaine-like, displayed in public, but all he does is not to eat. In the old days he enjoyed fame, people liked him and respected his profession a lot but now he is no longer a star.

Maybe he is a symbol for old-fashioned virtue. Or for people like monks, priests, nuns or saints for many of the things Kafka said of the Hunger
Ravi Gangwani
Mar 17, 2015 Ravi Gangwani rated it it was amazing
Someone knocked door...
I opened it and BOOM... It penetrated inside my me.
After three paragraphs I took one minute break to breath and again went into the world of breathlessness ...

The sheer passion and suffering of it, without any greed, or benefit, just to attain the salvation, of that hunger artist, just not UPLIFTED, it LEVITATED me...

There are millions of people like this Hunger Artist in this world, who made negotiations with life and still, just want one thing, to please the desire of vi
Sonia M
Aug 17, 2016 Sonia M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
He wants to be admired for his capacity to overcome his own existance, his nature, the basic needs. Starving for fame, but people honoured his struggle only in the beginning. When it stopped being a struggle and hunger came easily to him, he was not a martyr anymore. Speactators turned to other intersts.
But what was the real reason of his decision to become a hunger artist? He didn't know what else to do. Why didn't he try another job? He found no meaning, nothing to please him. That's how mart
Huda AbuKhoti
Nov 30, 2015 Huda AbuKhoti rated it it was amazing
Life in a nutshell.
Jun 13, 2013 Shari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
I thought I’d seen enough strangeness in Kafka’s world in Metamorphosis and The Trial then I came upon this story. What is it about Kafka and twisted POVs and realities? Just imagine: a man doing a 40-day fast, in a cage, with people coming – and paying – to see him literally starve. I’d rather watch Samsa turn into a bug (I can see the computer geniuses over at Pixar doing a CG version of that) than see this supposed-to-be artist waste away before my very eyes, and do it voluntarily, with an at ...more
A Hunger Artist is a Franz Kafka short story that was published in the early 1920's. A Fasting Artist would be a better title because that's what the protagonist is, that's what he does, and he does it publicly, seemingly for the entertainment of the "people". He is very good at it and takes pride in his ability to fast for up to 40 days. But as time goes on the people begin to lose interest in his fasting's until there is no one left, no one who is interested. The story is obviously an allegory ...more
Dayanira Reyes
Oct 26, 2014 Dayanira Reyes rated it it was amazing
I'm just so glad for this story and for Kafka to achieve his permanence in some of the people in this world. I'm glad that he opened a little space for us people who loves the art of the untouchable, unseeable, and the undiscovered. It is a fine story, a Kafka's best.
Ahmad Sharabiani
اگر میتوانی هنر گرسنگی کشیدن را به کسی توضیح بده، فهماندن چنین چیزی به کسی که آن را حس نکرده امکان ندارد
Oct 10, 2011 Bruce rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Short Fiction: May Group Reading #2 -- A Hunger Artist 101 18 May 31, 2016 11:27PM  
  • Signs and Symbols (Stories of Vladimir Nabokov)
  • The Rocking Horse Winner (Travelman Classics)
  • Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
  • The Fly
  • Franz Kafka: A Biography (Second Edition, Enlarged)
  • The Swimmer
  • Araby (Dubliners)
  • Heldenplatz
  • From the Diary of a Snail
  • Der arme Spielmann
  • A Rose for Emily
  • The Lottery Ticket
  • The Grand Inquisitor
  • The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
  • Kew Gardens
  • Sonny's Blues
  • Conversations with Kafka
  • Doktor Murkes gesammeltes Schweigen und andere Satiren
Franz Kafka 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 literature.

His stories include The Metamorpho
More about Franz Kafka...

Share This Book

“This perversion of the truth, familiar to the artist though it was, always unnerved him afresh and proved too much for him. What was a consequence of the premature ending of his fast was here presented as the cause of it! To fight against this lack of understanding, against a whole world of nonunderstanding, was impossible.” 23 likes
“Não temos juventude, ficamos logo adultos, e continuamos então adultos por um tempo demasiadamente longo, vêm daí um certo cansaço e uma certa desesperança que atravessa com um vinco largo a essência no conjunto tão tenaz e cheia de esperança do nosso povo” 2 likes
More quotes…