Jason's Reviews > Amerika: The Missing Person

Amerika by Franz Kafka
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Mar 03, 12

bookshelves: fiction, novel, classic
Read from February 21 to March 01, 2012

The first chapter of this unpublished novel is the Kafka short story "The Stoker." The last chapter, a fragment sometimes titled The Theater of Oklahoma, is excellent. And some of the scenes in between are very good, although they add up to a certain amount of aimlessness, possibly because the novel was never finished. Even the aimlessness is well written, frequently humorous, and unique.

Amerika begins with Karl Rossman arriving in New York harbor. The Statute of Liberty is holding a sword, which is a sign of the refracted vision of America to come. Karl meets up with his wealthy uncle, goes to a country house outside of New York, gets disowned by his uncle and embarks on his own adventures, including working at an enormous hotel. Along the way he passes through surreal and dreamlike scenes, many of them of industrialization, modern technology, and modern social relations.
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