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The Castle

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  20,319 ratings  ·  694 reviews
Translated and with a preface by Mark Harman

Left unfinished by Kafka in 1922 and not published until 1926, two years after his death, The Castle is the haunting tale of K.’s relentless, unavailing struggle with an inscrutable authority in order to gain access to the Castle. Scrupulously following the fluidity and breathlessness of the sparsely punctuated original manuscrip
Paperback, A New Translation Based on the Restored Text, 316 pages
Published December 15th 1998 by Schocken (first published 1926)
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Jun 28, 2007 George rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Aug 18, 2012 Sonky rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.
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
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
Only a total stranger could ask such a question. Are there control agencies? There are only control agencies. Of course they aren’t meant to find errors, in the vulgar sense of that term, since no errors occur, and even if an error does occur, as in your case, who can finally say that it is an error.

We were all once younger. I don't know if we have all been haunted.
Jeff Jackson
Ratings seem especially beside the point with The Castle. If you have any affinity for Kafka, it's worth your time. It contains some of his strangest and most disturbing images (the sound of singing children coming out of phone receivers) and a bone-deep feeling of being lost in a world whose rules we can't *even* fail to grasp. But it's also unfinished and there are moments late in the novel where you can feel Kafka spinning his wheels, getting lost within the continually forking paths of his c ...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
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
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.
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
Jul 07, 2012 AC marked it as to-read
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
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!


For those fortunate enough not to have read the

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
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

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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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!
Rosa Ramôa
Talento nato para o sofrimento...
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
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
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
Emir Never
"The present English edition is based on the definitive German edition of Das Schloss (New York: Schoken Books; 1951). Thus it is considerably larger than the previous editions, which followed the text of the first German publication of the novel. The additions--results of Max Brod's later editing of Franz Kafka's posthumous writings--are: the concluding section of Chapter xviii the whole of Chapters xix and xx, and the Appendix, consisting of variations, fragments, and, above all, of many passa ...more
An amazing book, and how lucky I got to read it in the Czech Republic! I had it for kindle, translated by John Williams I think, so I may have to read the alternative translations. A little fan-girl of me perhaps, but to be reading it as we explored Prague's castle and the Kafka Museum (which I wrote about here) was brilliant really. Though also existentially terrifying, as I find all of Kafka.

The book opens with a concrete description of the castle, a clear vision of its place and structure as
Vit Babenco
“Keeping his eyes fixed upon the Castle, K. went ahead, nothing else mattered to him. But as he came closer he was disappointed in the Castle, it was only a rather miserable little tower pieced together from village houses, distinctive only because everything was perhaps built out of stone, but the paint had long since flaked off, and the stone seemed to be crumbling.”
Those who wield earthly power don’t sit high like Olympian gods they hide behind the closed doors concealed in the endless bureau
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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” 84 likes
“One must fight to get to the top, especially if one starts at the bottom.” 19 likes
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