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Amerika: The Missing Person

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,502 Ratings  ·  460 Reviews
Kafka began writing what he had entitled Der Verschollene (The Missing Person) in 1912 and wrote the last completed chapter in 1914. But it wasn’t until 1927, three years after his death, that Max Brod, Kafka’s friend and literary executor, edited the unfinished manuscript and published it as Amerika. Kafka’s first and funniest novel, Amerika tells the story of the young K ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Schocken (first published 1927)
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Jun 17, 2015 Desislava rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
“So then you’re free?’
‘Yes, I’m free,’ said Karl, and nothing seemed more worthless than his freedom.”

I liked the beginning of Amerika, it's definitely weird, yes, but I liked it. After being seduced by a 35-year-old servant and gotten her pregnant, 16-year-old Karl Rossman is shipped to America to begin his life free of stigma. Then he met his wealthy uncle. However, Karl's life of luxury is short-lived. After offending his uncle, he is cast out on his own. So, Karl heads off down the road
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
Nov 23, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Jorge Luis Borges afirmaba que los personajes de Kafka eran “Profesionales de la derrota.” En cierto modo, podemos asegurar eso cuando encuadramos a tres personajes tan particulares como K. de el Castillo, Joseph K. de El Proceso y Karl Rossman, protagonista de América en ese rótulo, todo confirma que el Maestro nunca se equivocaba y en cierta medida, los podemos ver como personajes alter ego con características autobiográficas del mismo Kafka.
Pero hay algo esperanzador en América que no sucede
Sep 09, 2008 Chak rated it did not like it  ·  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
Jan 20, 2015 Vipassana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book over a year ago but decided against reading it once I realised that it was 'unfinished' and I didn't want that for my first Kafka. In retrospect it seems so foolish, but I cannot deny the fact that I'm glad I hadn't read it then because I wasn't filled with the sufficient amount of despair towards the life I lead, to throughly feel this book, to find closure in it's incompleteness.

One is easily horrified by the rare and exceptional abominations of the world, but not by everyda
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
Apr 01, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marco Rubio
Shelves: own, covers, 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
Chad Post
Jan 01, 2013 Chad Post rated it really liked it
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
Jun 12, 2015 Behzad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
آمریکا یا مفقود الاثر تحت تأثیر دیکنز نوشته شده. رمان، مثل دو رمان محاکمه و قصر، ناتمامه ولی از اونجایی که قصه گوتر و سر راست تر از دو رمان یاد شده س، این ناتمام ماندگی باعث میشه که وقتی کتاب به آخر رسید حس کنیم تجربه ی ناتمامی داشتیم. مثلا اون حس خوشایند تعلیق و بلاتکلیفی که در محاکمه ممکن میشه، اینجا وجود نداره.
البته نباس فراموش کرد که به هر حال داریم اثری از کافکا میخونیم، بنابراین جزئیات و رویدادها میتونن علاوه بر معنایی که در سطح دارن، معنای دیگه ای در عمق داشته باشن. اینکه چه معنایی، جای ت
Jun 21, 2015 Faisal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يأتي هذا العمل من رغبة كافكا في الاختفاء، والذي ينمسخ في آخر الأمر إلى حضورٍ أكثر من المتوقع.

لسرد كافكا نبرة صلاتية اعترافية خاشعة، بكل السخرية اللاذعة التي تنطوي عليها.
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.
Jul 04, 2012 Pat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 17, 2009 Wyatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 08, 2014 Cecily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, kafka
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
Oct 02, 2015 Shima rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
اول از هر چیز توجه داشته باشید که این کتاب ناتمام است
کافکا هیچ وقت نوشتن این کتاب را تمام نکرده است. بلکه آن ها دست نوشته هایش برای کتابی بوده اند که گرچه درصد آن را نوشته ناگهان رهایش کرده است. در نتیجه در فصل های پایانی کتاب قسمت هایی نوشته نشده است
اما در مورد نیمه ی اول کتاب که کامل است باید بگویم فقط دلم می خواست شانه های کارل (شخصیت اول) را بگیرم و تکان بدهم. به نظر میاد بدبختی بعد از بدبختی دیگر بر سر او میاید و گرچه هیچ کدام به طرز مشخص تفصیر او نیست -یا حداقل نتیجه ی ساده دلی های کوچکش
Restless Books
Jun 19, 2014 Restless Books rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I got pulled once again into the world of My Struggle, I was in the middle of a story about another Karl: not Karl Ove Knausgaard, but Karl Rossman of Amerika. Franz Kafka’s first (and, according to Schocken, funniest) novel is also his most incomplete, least frequently read, and most recently translated into English. Filled with the familial guilt Kafka’s characters so frequently handcuff themselves with, and the author’s typically behemoth, meaning-laden institutions, this immigrant sto ...more
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
Zöe Yu
Apr 09, 2013 Zöe Yu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german, american
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
Luan Morina
Jul 04, 2015 Luan Morina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
there are lots of unknown about Kafka's political views, but to my understanding he wasn't such a fan of capitalism... he demonstrates that in this book, where beside the system he tries to 'poke' also the people and the believers on this... anyway, there still might be hope for Amerika, according to him... liked it, an interesting story, much actual actually :)
Jan 25, 2016 Gazelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the moment Karl Rossman set his eyes on the statue of liberty you realize that nothing good expected to be there in the land of opportunities for him! One might fairly say of course you won't! It's Kafka! But that won't change the reality of the kind of troubles a 16 year old would face in a strange land packed with newcomers who are looking to find happiness and wealth in every possible way.
Karl is not there by his own will, being sent away from home for a mistake he made makes everything
Andrea Poulain
Jan 01, 2016 Andrea Poulain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015

Si quieren valorar este libro por lo que es tienen que tomar en cuenta las siguientes cosas:

1. Es un libro inacabado y publicado póstumamente. Sí, hay algo que parece un final, pero hay un salto extraño hasta él, no parece justificado y lo único que te hace pensar es que Kafka está en drogas.

2. Kafka nunca visitó América. Y tampoco le importó no retratar a una América fiel, lo que se nota desde la primera página. Hay incongruencias por aquí y por allá, pe
Rima Ibrahim
Jul 21, 2014 Rima Ibrahim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, german
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
Stephen Durrant
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
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
Jul 11, 2013 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 05, 2013 Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Simão Pedro
Apr 12, 2015 Simão Pedro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Já tinha lido "O Fogueiro" em "Contos Completos" de Kafka, portanto foi uma surpresa bem agradável constatar que este "O Desaparecido" - mais conhecido por "Amerika" - não é nada mais nada menos que a continuação de "O Fogueiro".

Karl Rossmann, personagem principal da obra, é a típica personagem kafkiana que podemos encontrar em "A Metamorfose" ou "O Processo": constantemente humilhado e imerso um clima que roça o absurdo. Murakami, entre tantos outros escritores contemporâneos, bebe da fonte de
Jun 01, 2009 Bogdan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: central-europe
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
Apr 21, 2015 Roger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Who is fanny? 7 149 Jul 12, 2013 01:58PM  
  • Franz Kafka's The Castle (Dramatization)
  • The German Lesson
  • I'm Not Stiller
  • Wittgenstein's Nephew
  • The Assistant
  • Auto-da-Fé
  • Couples, Passersby
  • The Hothouse
  • Conversations with Kafka
  • The Stechlin
  • The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr
  • The Confusions of Young Törless
  • The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
  • Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years
  • Group Portrait with Lady
  • Cat and Mouse
  • The Radetzky March  (Von Trotta Family #1)
  • The Marquise of O— and Other Stories
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
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“So then you’re free?’
‘Yes, I’m free,’ said Karl, and nothing seemed more worthless than his freedom.”
“It's impossible to defend oneself in the absence of goodwill” 24 likes
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