Derek's Reviews > Collected Stories

Collected Stories by Franz Kafka
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Jun 11, 12

Read from June 04 to 11, 2012

This is my first encounter with Kafka and, I must say, it was a relatively enjoyable one.

Collected Stories contains every work of fiction written by Kafka during his lifetime, at least what we know of, aside from his novels. There were several misses -- most notably Kafka's longer works, which hammer away constantly, consistently, unrelenting on the same string of thought with the longest sentences that would make Mark Twain blush -- but many of his "flash fiction"-like pieces were remarkable, nugget-y, and easily digestible.

I must say that I found Kafka's first short story collection, Meditation to be the most enjoyable, aside from the outrageous and hilarious short work "Poseidon," which was my favorite in the entire book. While Meditation is much less absurd than his later work, which is oftentimes what people find loveable about Kafka, I felt that this earliest collection spoke to me the greatest.

Other stories connected with me as well, in unusual ways, such as In the Penal Colony, which was violent, horrific, and, to be completely truthful, funny. I think perhaps my enjoyment of military science-fiction somehow fueled the pleasure of this read, and I kept thinking about the Imperial Guard commissars of the Games Workshop's Warhammer 40k universe. Other stories that intrigued me were, not surprisingly, The Metamorphosis, and, surprisingly, Description of a Struggle, which is regarded by many critics as one of Kafka's least effective works, due to its fragmented and confusing style. In truth, I found Description of a Struggle to be a great mental exercise and I oftentimes found myself wondering what Kafka was trying to get at when he penned it. For some reason, the work just clicked with me. So, fuck you, John Updike. How dare you try to encourage me to skip that story!

Overall, Collected Stories left me motivated to do something with my life, make waves, all that nonsense. I can appreciate these absurb, bizzare pieces, and I will most certainly continue reading Kafka's novels.
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Reading Progress

06/07/2012 page 211
42.0% "This is my first encounter with Kafka; I find his stories a joy to read. Elegant, pointlessly pointful, and hilariously depressing. I can't wait to finish these stories and read his novels."

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