The Castle
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The Castle

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  18,134 ratings  ·  631 reviews
Note on this edition:
"Definitive edition with an homage by Thomas Mann."
They are perhaps the most famous literary instructions never followed: "Dearest Max, my last request: Everything I leave behind me ... in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others'), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread...." Thankfully, Max Brod did not honor his friend Franz...more
Hardcover, 481 pages
Published March 12th 1969 by Modern Library (first published 1926)
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George
Jun 28, 2007 George rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I'm re-reading The Castle 10 years later with older, more patient eyes and it's proving to be a wonderful time, especially with the new translation.


"The Eighth Chapter" of The Castle is, perhaps, some of the most beautifully composed writing in all of modern literature. The new translation adds a dreamy, sudden stillness and frightening sense of desolate open space in Kafka's work which is better known for his breathless, claustophobic style of writing and description. This feeling was lost and...more
Sonky
Aug 18, 2012 Sonky rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 19th-Century Czech and German editors
Recommended to Sonky by: It is society's fault as a hole.
Honestly, I quit.

It was too, how do I say it?...Kafkaesque. But am I greater than the writer himself? No. Kafka quit too and just as mid-sentence as I--only later in the text. Evidently, he died of tedium. Thank goodness I stopped before Kafka's work killed me too.

I was not enriched by the petty squabbles of German? Czech? villagers and the gyrating evasions of bureaucrats worshiped in detail by said squabbling villagers. I didn't like the protagonist; I couldn't even admire K. for not liking K....more
Zanna
A young land surveyor arrives in a village, appointed by the count of the castle on the hill overshadowing the country. In a dreamlike, labyrinthine tale riddled with material and emotional inconsistencies,Kafka envisions a bureaucratic administration bloated and twisted beyond all imaginings, in which reverence for authority is elevated to an extreme and bizarre form of religious observance (religion itself is tellingly absent). K's affaires and intrigues are governed by almost arbitrary and my...more
Alessandro
The devil has a library. Alongside Necronomicon and Malleus Maleficarum, you can find a copy of Franz Kafka's The Castle. To read this is to know pain. This book is an ungodly torment. It doesn't even have proper paragraph division. There are paragraphs that contain chapters inside themselves. How much of a mind twist is that? Wall of text of death! The narrative unravels in a feverish and dream-like state and never breaks from it. Nevertheless, I manage to finish reading this sucker. Oh! I am t...more
Nicholas Karpuk
I think my reaction to the ending was roughly, "What? Really? Damn it!"

It ends in mid-sentence, and unlike Amerika, there's not a damn bit of closure. Most of the plot threads were left open, and it feels like most of the third act had been left undone.

I guess I didn't understand the level of completion, The Trial and Amerika giving me a sense that it might be mostly done, with a few holes and missing pieces.

Nope, it's a big damn tease.

And insult to injury, it feels like the least well edited...more
Szplug
I originally read the Muir translation of The Castle years ago, and have just finished the recent one by Harman. I think I prefer the Muirs on a literary basis, and Harman's as to linearity and style. In both versions I cannot give a five-star rating, as, like all of Kafka's big three novels, they were unfinished when he died - indeed, The Castle ends in mid-sentence - and this flaw, this lack of resolution, cannot be overcome by editing regardless the number of times it is attempted.

Harman's tr...more
L.S.
The book starts with K. arriving in the village near the castle. I found the first 40 pages a bit annoying because I was expecting him to get to the castle and let the story begin. But only when I finally understood that he is never to get to that castle I could finally enjoy the book. I think that the story could go on forever. It is said that the book is not finished. Maybe. But it is like it was left like that. After finishing it I had an odd reaction: I thought that I should re-read it at on...more
Yasmine mostafa
رواية أخري غير مكتملة لفرانتس كافكا...رواية شديدة التعقيد، ملأى بالتفاصيل و الوصف حتى لتشعر انه يحكي حلما أو موقفا حدت له شخصيا مع ان أحداثها تدور خلال 6 أيام، ذلك الجو الكابوسي المقبض الذي يشعرك انما الكوابيس صنعت خصيصا لتتلائم مع كتابات كافكا... تطرأ في ذهنك عشرات الأسئلة عن الرواية التي قد يراها البعض مجرد تأويلات لأحلام رآها كافكا أو هي إثارة لأسئلة كانت تشغله من أجل الثورة على الظلم و الاستبداد...و حتى نهاية الرواية لن تدري من هو (ك) و لا من هو (كلم)،أسئلة لا حصر لها لم يكلف كافكا نفسه عناء...more
Nick Black
Had Kafka lived to finish and edit this, it would be remembered as his greatest novel and one of the absolute masterworks of the Western canon. Le sigh, his death left a great cultural artiface incomplete and is a tremendous loss to us all.
Sandra
Oscuro, enigmatico, onirico, allucinato, defatigante, frustrante, ripetitivo, monotono, opprimente, insensato, angosciante, iperrazionale, ambiguo, presuntuoso, sarcastico, frenetico, surreale, assurdo. Mille altri ancora potrebbero essere gli aggettivi per parlare dell’incompiuto romanzo kafkiano senza che alcuno riesca a darne una definizione che lo racchiuda. Geniale, anche per questo.
Però niente affatto congeniale ai miei gusti di lettrice, lo dico subito per giustificare la mancanza di stel...more
Diocletian
This book is a tedious read. It is long, detailed, and philosophical- basically, not light reading. That probably was a lot of my problem; I did not give the book as much attention and study as is needed to fully comprehend and enjoy it. However, not all of my thoughts on the book can be traced to where and when I read it. The book's lay out is very unusual; at least in the version I have, paragraphs can go on for over ten pages, sometimes a whole chapter, before you get on to another indented...more
Israa
ربما نبذ الظلم وسعى الى العدل والإنسانيه
ربما كانت فلسفته فلسفه وجوديه عظيمه يقدرها رواد التعبيريه والسرياليه والوجدانيه وهؤلاء
ولكن أنا فقط لا أبالى
هذا هو رائد الأدب الألمانى

فرانتس كافكا
القصر

رواية أخرى لم ينهيها كافكا ونشرت بعد وفاته
كل شئ فى هذه الروايه غارق فى الخوف
خوف من الناس وعلى الناس, خوف من الوجود,خوف من العدم...واحساس الخوف هذا هو الفكره الأساسيه فى الروايه
فى الروايه فتور يدفع بك الى الجنون
وفيها هدوء يدفع بك الى الثوره او ربما الحنق الشديد
وفيها تشاؤم يدفع بك_ربما_الى التماس التفاؤل

ربما ف...more
Sarah Smith
If you're looking for aesthetic diversions while encamped at your parents' 250-acre rural farm for a summer of reading and writing before moving on to grad school for major leagues reading and writing activities, let me suggest dipping into the heavily annotated books at your local and increasingly religious small-town university for one hilarious joyride. Yes, writing in library books is tacky enough, but what if the marginalia attempts doggedly to make a case for the Castle, Kafka's emblem of...more
matt

A haunting, bleak religious allegory that is, for once, a haunting bleak religious allegory.

The small subplot (I was tempted to call it a subsection) regarding Amelia and Barnabas (a country girl summoned unwillingly to be the mistress of a creepy beaurocrat from where else but The Castle itself) is one of the best stand-alone ALMOST short stories ever.

You know how novels will sometimes break away from the main narrative and start dealing with a smaller story, not quite a subplot but self-contai...more
Cody
I had the esteemed (and terrifying?) pleasure of reading this after having traveled to Prague. The landscape of Městská čast Praha 1, encompassing the Jewish quarter, Josefov, and the Prague Castle, illuminated this text tremndously; a perfectly example of mise en scene. Upon a return to Prague this past year, I couldn't shake many of these mortifying images from my head, even when confronted with the recent massive influx of tourists, which are, sadly, rapidly changing the dynamics of the city....more
Henna
رمان قصر هم مثل محاكمه ناتمام است. مردي به نام كا. به قصر فراخوانده مي شود تا كار مساحي را پيش بگيرد اما به محض ورود به دهكده اعلام مي كنند نياز به مساح ندارند و اينگونه مي شود كه كا. در اين دهكده سرگردان مي شود و داستان ادامه پيدا مي كند. به نظرم رمان قصر در حين ناتمامي تمام است!
Rise
1.

The Castle, whose contours were already beginning to dissolve, lay still as ever, K. had never seen the slightest sign of life up there, perhaps it wasn't even possible to distinguish anything from this distance, and yet his eyes demanded it and refused to tolerate the stillness. When K. looked at the Castle, it was at times as if he were watching someone who sat there calmly, gazing into space, not lost in thought and therefore cut off from everything, but free and untroubled; as if he were
...more
Mad Dog
"ALL YOU NEED IS ... ARGUMENT" might be an appropriate subtitle for this book. If you like arguing and confrontation (wrapped in an old-fashioned and 'creepy-absurd' shell), then this book is for you. The protagonist K is talkative, clever, egoistic, high-strung, brash, and goal-driven. He'll lie to get what he wants, and then argue that he is not 'technically' lying. Absurdity abounds: doors that are too small, kids taking a bath in a big tub in the kitchen (in front of a visitor), a schoolroom...more
AC
Jul 07, 2012 AC marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-german
This translation, by Mark Harmon, is based on a thoroughly revised and critical text (- a critical text is one in which the manuscripts have been reexamined, variants weighed on philological and scientific grounds, and editorial decisions made on a defensible basis -- i.e., not on a "hey, this sounds cool!" foundation.)

The old edition, translated by Muir, was based on Brod's original text, which had done great violence to the original manuscripts by trying to regularize the writing, the language...more
Lamski Kikita
it was Gerstacker's mother. She held a trembling hand out to K. and made him sit down beside her, she spoke with an effort, it was an effort to understand her, but what she said struck K. "I know you can't help my son. Had you any power you would have helped yourself, Mr. Land Surveyor." To this, K. did not respond. He took his hand out of hers as if retrieving a bone from a rabid dog. "You think you have connections in the Castle, but you don't; no one does". A cough interrupted her, which gav...more
Ziggy
It took a while for my brain to unwind after I had finished reading The Castle in the wee hours. There were too many themes and ideas to decipher; I was going at it as if I was peeling an onion, striving to discover what Orhan Pamuk calls the 'centre' of the novel, but only to realise that the futile attempt itself is the point of the book.

Kafka's writing in The Castle was like the rabbit of Alice in Wonderland, running away from me, fast, yet at the same time enticing me to keep up. Chase as I...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
"The Castle" is one of my most hated books of all time. I don't know if some of the work was butchered in J.A. Underwood's translation, or if Kafka is just a really dry and boring author. A previous owner of my copy wrote a note saying it "reads like an instruction manual" and "doesn't elucidate fear and pain in life anymore than living it". He is probably a better reviewer than I am, because his description fits the book perfectly!



*SPOILERS AHOY*









For those fortunate enough not to have read the...more
Andy
Unlike in "The Trial," where banal moments were given a terrifying atmosphere, in this book I had trouble caring whether or not K. ever got to the castle. In "The Trial" I wanted Joseph K. to get the hell out of the process he was trapped in; with "The Castle" I really felt I was reading an incomplete book that wasn't quite sure what it was doing. And whereas I like the humor in most of Kafka's work, here the slapstick and side treks seemed forced. Instead of eerie and surreal, the book felt...w...more
Josh Watkins
Even through the last page J.'s face was stretched with grin, he had his father's dimples, made no small spectacle of tittering into his own collar while reading The Castle on the train or in cafes. One night a friend made his way to J.'s apartment from a neighboring village. He found the door ajar and, pushing it open, found himself washed in an odd light which he'd been unable to see from the street. Rising up the stairs the friend had to bend himself forward, the ceiling was low and jagged, t...more
Adam Davis
Hard Work

That title refers to the subject of the novel, as much as it does to reading it. 'The Castle' is the tale of one man's seemingly endless struggle against bureaucracy, and the apparent apathy of the locals. In places, I could clearly see what Kafka was driving at, (working for local government helps), and I started to forgive the book its failings. The trouble is, characters are introduced and forgotten with no apparent purpose, and this disrupts the flow of the piece, making reading it...more
Nathan
Very tricky to review. From an objective point of view, I can see why some people consider it one of the great novels of the century, but from a subjective standpoint—I think it was as painful reading it as it was for K. trying to get the Castle!

The frustrating battles with bureaucracy, the unfathomable contradictory social etiquette of the villagers, the way poor K. is deceived and condemned, treated like a child... at some points I wanted to scream at the novel.

As for the incomplete ending, pe...more
Taka
AAAHHHH!: A test of how much ambiguity you can take--

At first glance, it reads like a reiteration of The Trial: K. as the name of the protagonist, inaccessible authorities, futile, repeatedly frustrated attempts to access it, etc. But here Kafka is doing something different from what he did brilliantly in The Trial, and that is to portray a community. Instead of the extremely solipsistic and solitary life of Josef K., we get K.'s relationships with the villagers, even a strange romance (somethin...more
Danyellemastro
Hmmm. This book came to me when I was not ready to receive it. And whilst the behaviour of the assistants during the first third of the novel kept me more than well amused (LOL, ROFL etc) I wasn't up to fighting the last third, where the threads started to come undone.

I can appreciate Kafka's style of prose, and was genuinely in alignment with K's reaction to his surroundings. I was surprised when K. was suprised. I was confused when K. was confused. I was enlightened when K. was enlightened. To...more
miaaa
Two things:

One, this is one unfinished book. So of course there are some inconsistencies. But even if Kafka finished it, you think it would be less complicated? We can keep dreaming the world would be a peace altar.

Two, again Kafka lowered himself, put the whole world burden on his main characters, humiliated him, belittled him. It leaves you pulling your hairs off feeling -first sorry then irked- to K.

Somehow I am sure, Lamya is quite annoyed herself for suggesting us reading this book together...more
Cecily
An extraordinary combination of beauty and subtle, paranoid horror - "growing inured to disappointment". Who else can make snow sinister (scary perhaps, but surely not sinister)? It ends in the middle of a sentence, more tantalisingly still, it ends with a mysterious old woman just about to say something... Very apt for a tale of layers of secrecy and never-ending frustration.

It can be interpreted as an allegory for Jewish alienation and/or as a semi-autobiographical rendition of his relationsh...more
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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 Metamorphosis and Other Stories The Complete Stories The Metamorphosis, in the Penal Colony and Other Stories: The Great Short Works of Franz Kafka

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“I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more” 74 likes
“One must fight to get to the top, especially if one starts at the bottom.” 16 likes
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