Joe's Reviews > The Complete Stories

The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
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Jul 23, 08

bookshelves: fiction
Recommended to Joe by: Ann Pashenkov (I still have your book!)
Read in July, 2008

You know, I'm not a huge fan of Kafka.

So far, a lot of his writing seems to say "Look how well I write!" though the stories themselves don't really stand up.

They usually start off well enough with the introduction of interesting characters, but the plot almost always takes an excruciatingly long time to reveal itself.

Then on these shaky foundations, some action finally takes place, though it's usually contrived or unbelievable. (Yes, I know it's fiction!)

But even the beloved Metamorphosis - one of the better stories in this collection - starts out interesting but eventually tapers off and fizzles out.

It also doesn't help when your half-way through a story and it suddenly says "[three pages missing]" and then picks back up as if nothing happened. How can we appreciate or even make sense of the story if entire pages are missing from the manuscripts?

All great writers use letters, words and sentences to construct their masterpieces, but it's what they do with them that makes their works great. A paragraph out of Hamlet is not Hamlet. The work should be judged in its entirety.

Regardless of Kafka's role in literary history, what good is his writing if it's not reprinted word for word? That seems to say that we should value even the crumbs from the glorious loaf that was Kafka's writing, regardless of its lack of continuity. This kind of unwarranted hero worship bugs me more than Gregor Samsa!

And if the missing pages are disposable, that's even more evidence that Kafka wasn't a very good writer.
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message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel yeah- kafka had to be an assface and go die the way he did. i would have to agree though--are his works really that great...not so much. when his friend discovered all of franzy's manuscripts after he died, he also found a note begging that the manuscripts be burned. instead they were published, missing pages and all...and now i find myself wallowing in the sludge that is kafka every semester. wah waaaaah...why do people always ignore the death notes of mediocre authors?

stop while you can joe...not worth it. although if you insist on rocking any more kafka you should check out amerika. he died before it was finished, so you know, there's not really an ending, ony something about going to the circus in california? but it is an enjoyable romp; good characters being destroyed by the stupid americans around them and all that hooha. i'm sure it can be found at a library...IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!


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