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Kafka: The Decisive Years
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Kafka: The Decisive Years (Kafka #2)

4.46 of 5 stars 4.46  ·  rating details  ·  74 ratings  ·  14 reviews
This is the first of a three-volume, definitive biography of Franz Kafka. Eighty years after his death in 1924, Kafka remains one of the most intriguing figures in the history of world literature. Now, after more than a decade of research, working with over four thousand pages of journal entries, letters, and literary fragments, Reiner Stach re-creates the atmosphere in wh ...more
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published November 7th 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published September 12th 2002)
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Feb 18, 2014 Geoff marked it as to-read
Shelves: biophilia
I traveled a great deal these past two weeks and didn't get much of a chance to read, so despite being behind I am now increasing by burthen by taking on these two big volumes of Kafka biography- during a spell of year-end insomnia I picked this one up and got sucked in. Young Kafka hanging on the edges of Prague's Jewish theater district and literary circles, suffering the administrative workday in an asbestos factory, admiring and envying the precocious talents of others, flirting with Zionism ...more
Paul Fulcher
I ought not to like this book - but the author, Reiner Stach, does a remarkably good job of disarming criticism by acknowledging the book's shortcomings up front.

I'm not generally a fan of literary biography as a way to interpret books. I'm in the Milan Kundera school where a book should stand or fall on it's own merits, not by reference to the author's life. And in Kafka's case his fame and acknowledgement as a key literary figure significantly precedes the release of his letters and diaries o
Among the most consistently insightful biographies of Kafka that I know. Stach illuminates Kafka's personality, mind and temperament, his drive to write more clearly than any other biographer. If you choose only one biography if Kafka to read, make it this one.
Marilyn Moreau
Very well researched, thought out, and presented. A study not only Kafka's life, but his works as well. Highly recommended.
A.S. Patric
I’ve never been a fan of biographies but my favourite book last year was the David Foster Wallace bio by D.T. Max. This year, I might hold up the Kafka biography by Reiner Stach. You wouldn’t expect either biography to make for happy reading. And yet both writers lived eyes-wide-open lives and laid their souls bare—which does make for a compelling read. Reading a great bio is similar to watching a brilliant documentary. They seem rare, but one will occasionally come along that reveals the world ...more
Jim Hale
Didn't live up to all the hype and starred reviews. Tedious in the extreme, the bulk of this volume is Kafka's tormented relationship with Felice Bauer. Reading about it is as maddening as it apparently was for poor Felice, almost rising to the insanity of the fictional account from Monsieur Proust featuring Marcel and Albertine. Fortunately, it did pick up momentum in the final chapters as the events of WWI come into play.
For fans of the troubled and oft misunderstood writer this, the first volume in a three part series, will prove an essential reference. For fans of literate, incandescent, exquisitely written biographies, Kafka by Reiner Stach will be a standout in any collection.
Recommended by Ann,
He leído muchas biografías de Kafka y sin duda ésta es la mejor. Porque entiende que en Kafka vida y obra están indisolublemente ligadas. Porque siguiendo esta premisa usa recursos de ficción que hacen que sea un placer leerla.
Scott Mccloud
An interesting look at Kafka's early years, his writing craft, Prague, etc... Definitely thorough. Paints a compelling picture of his times & personality, as well as how he worked.
Buzz Borders
Hands down the most detailed and witty biography I've read in a long, long time. The information is so captivating, and Kafka jumps off every page.
Pervin oznergiz
Pervin Öznergiz bir sabah yatağında huzursuz düşlerden uyandığında kendini dev bir kafka'ya dönüşmeye başlıyorken bulur...
A great biography of Kafka's mid to later years. (Not that he lived that long, but you know.)
An amazing, must-have biography if you are at all curious about Kafka.
Sep 10, 2012 Joseph is currently reading it
This is one of the best 2 or 3 literary biographies I've read.
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Reiner Stach is a freelance author and biographer of Franz Kafka.
More about Reiner Stach...

Other Books in the Series

Kafka (3 books)
  • Kafka:  Die frühen Jahre
  • Kafka: The Years of Insight
Kafka: The Years of Insight Kafka:  Die frühen Jahre Ist das Kafka? 99 Fundstücke Kafka: Kavrama Yılları (2. Cilt) Kafka: Karar Yılları (1. Cilt)

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