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, inaAAAHHHH!: 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 (something that is prematurely aborted in The Trial, with various women).
Here more than in his previous novel, I felt like Kafka steps up a notch the ceaseless ambiguity he loves so much. Everything is thrown into confusion, every statement, characterization, fact is established only to be cancelled, annulled, equivocated by the opposite possibility. The woman you thought you knew is cast in a very calculating, chilling, heartless person; the official K. saw with his own eyes is now disputed to be the one and the same official everyone else is talking about; a family is despised and yet they may be innocent; what a character says is interpreted in a different way and overridden by what another character says next; the castle is powerful and efficient and yet it takes them forever to process anything and at times seems powerless; everything is constantly shifting and you're not sure where you are, and THAT is the pleasure of reading Kafka. It's pretty much a test of how much ambiguity you can handle, and if you can, this is an awesome book.
And that Chapter 23 (out of 25)...!! THAT chapter is simply MONSTROUS. EGREGIOUS. Or whatever you want to call it. I literally SCREAMED at the end of it, whether in pleasure, pain, or otherwise is for you to find out. But that chapter alone is worth trudging through all 270 pages.
I wasn't impressed. It's too Dickensian, too farcical, too flimsy and lack the dark and compelling stuff The Trial or MetamorphosisNot Quite Kafka Yet
I wasn't impressed. It's too Dickensian, too farcical, too flimsy and lack the dark and compelling stuff The Trial or Metamorphosis are made of. Granted, all the marks of later Kafka are there: the helpless protagonist pushed around by vast systems (esp. the hotel and the Oklahoma theater, which foreshadow his later novels), the seemingly pointless and endless meanderings from one place to another, the long and swift-reading sentences strung with semicolons and comma splices, the vivid descriptions with a hint of the absurd/parodistic, etc. But it felt like Kafka, like the protagonist Karl Rossmann, was meandering his way through this world to find himself.
One thing i did take away from this is a new understanding of what kind of writer Kafka is: he is a writer of farces. Breon Mitchell, the translator of The Trial points out that The Trial begins as a farce and ends as a tragedy. Here, in The Missing Person, it's mostly farce. It's the farcical premises he begins many of his stories (the most prominent one being The Metamorphosis) and takes it to its tragic conclusion.
All in all, only the most stout Kafka fans should tackle this novel....more
This is my second time reading this (after seven years) and holy shit it's so good I was blown away, and I liked it so mucA Perfect Unfinished Novel--
This is my second time reading this (after seven years) and holy shit it's so good I was blown away, and I liked it so much that I'm fantasizing about "finishing" the novel for Kafka himself. I don't want to read this as a surreal tale of alienation and absurdist parody of bureaucratic rigmarole as most people might, or interpret it in any way because to me that'd be doing a disservice to such a beautifully weird and complex world Kafka creates. So without imposing any interpretation and reducing the work to some analytically/intellectually gratifying (yet artistically limiting/crippling) thing, I want to accept it as it is: a dark and strange story that resonates with something deep and unconscious in us.
Rereading Metamorphosis for the third time and the rest of Kafka's stories for the second time (albeit in a different translatSo so so so gooooooooood
Rereading Metamorphosis for the third time and the rest of Kafka's stories for the second time (albeit in a different translation), I have to say this is another one of those books you have to come back to again and again. The translation by Hofmann, though quite British, is really good, reproducing the long-winded, meandering sentences of the original German. I wasn't a fan of the first and last sets of stories (from Contemplation and A Country Doctor), but Metamorphosis, "Judgment," and "In the Penal Colony" are SO good they alone are worth getting this book. (There are other good stories in the last part of the book—"A Hunger Artist" and maybe "Josephine"—but they pale in comparison to these fantastic [no pun intended] stories).
Avoid the Muir translation like the plague and get this one. ...more
I read Schulz's strange and achingly lyrical The Street of Crocodiles back in September 2007, and returning to the slExcellent, excellent, excellent--
I read Schulz's strange and achingly lyrical The Street of Crocodiles back in September 2007, and returning to the slim collection (and his other stories) after almost six years, I confirmed my initial judgment, that Bruno Schulz is a genius. True, there's no narrative (they're more like sketches and anecdotes), and descriptions of the most mundane things take up paragraphs and paragraphs with more metaphors than you can hold onto. And yet. And yet, his world never ceases to fascinate you—a world where everything is trembling at the threshold of mythical revelation. The imagery, the lyricism, the worldview—these will always stay with me.