Petra X's Reviews > A Hunger Artist

A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka
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's review
Dec 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, reviewed

What he did for fame. What he did to prove himself. How some people take things to extremes and then find the thing itself has taken them over. How pointless it is to die for something so petty. How perhaps the clarity of imminent mortality makes the protagonist confess the true reason for his self-starvation. If he did, if it was.

Or if it was really about that at all? Was it really about the existential pleasure of living for the day and enjoying what there is? Or perhaps it was about if a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to see it... A novella, or a long short story it is of infinite depth and endless interpretation. But then that's the genius of Kafka all over.

Updated 10 May 2015
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 7, 2011 – Shelved
December 7, 2011 – Shelved as: fiction
December 7, 2011 – Finished Reading
May 5, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim The only Kafka I've read is The Metamorphosis, which I suspect nobody is allowed to leave school without reading. Amazing writing, but it completely freaked me out when I was a teenager.


Petra X I think you are right, Metamorphosis is one of those required school books, like Tom Sawyer that form our common frame of reference.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Zabala-Graye For a while, I thought you were talking about Kafka personally in the first paragraph.


message 4: by Gayle (new) - added it

Gayle Kim wrote: "The only Kafka I've read is The Metamorphosis, which I suspect nobody is allowed to leave school without reading. Amazing writing, but it completely freaked me out when I was a teenager."

I grew up watching classic movies from the 30s-50s, so when I read The Metamorphosis, the first thing I thought of was Vincent Price and "The Fly." (:


Petra X Ian wrote: "For a while, I thought you were talking about Kafka personally in the first paragraph."

Hmmm, I see what you mean though.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Zabala-Graye How rude of me. I forgot to say that I loved your review.


message 7: by Gayle (new) - added it

Gayle Petra X wrote: "I've never seen The Fly. Is it worth downloading?"

Only if you like 50s horror movies. :) Jeff Goldblum & Geena Davis did a remake in the 80s, but I never watched that one.


Petra X I like schlock movies and John Waters kind of stuff, but not sure about horror movies.


message 9: by Gayle (new) - added it

Gayle "Horror" in the 50s is definitely not what you would call horror today. When I was a kid we called them monster movies. You got to use your imagination about any horror that may have occurred!


Petra X My mother, who didn't like books in general, read the entire The First Pan Book of Horror Stories series, about 25 books. So I did. Overdosed on horror stories for all time!


message 11: by Gayle (new) - added it

Gayle Ahh...Had not heard of this; will have to put it on my to-reads. Thanks!


Petra X Gayle wrote: "Ahh...Had not heard of this; will have to put it on my to-reads. Thanks!"

Did you ever read it? If so, what did you think of it?


message 13: by Gayle (new) - added it

Gayle Actually I had forgotten what I did about this book, assuming your speaking of the Pan series. I did go back and search for it in my local library and they do not have it, so that's probably what happened. I haven't bought a book in years because I tend to hoard them and I have too many now.

I do haunt used book shops quiet often, so there is the possibility that I will run across one some day, although I read that only a few of the series were actually published in the U.S.

Thanks for reminding me; these will be something to keep in mind for my grandchildren.


Petra X Sorry, I meant Kafka's Hunger Artist. :-)


message 15: by Gayle (new) - added it

Gayle Oh, no actually, I do not remember reading the Kafka work, which doesn't necessarily mean that I did not. I was more interested in the Pan series, since I have not heard of before. I will probably like the Kafka book as well.

Will definitely put that on my list.


Cecily Ian wrote: "For a while, I thought you were talking about Kafka personally in the first paragraph."

Neat. ;)

Petra X wrote: "My mother, who didn't like books in general, read the entire The First Pan Book of Horror Stories series, about 25 books. So I did. Overdosed on horror stories for all time!"

Reminds me of Mrs Winterson (adoptive mother of Jeanette Winterson who wrote "Oranges are not the only fruit" and "Why be happy when you can be normal?") who banned all books except the Bible - and murder mysteries.


Petra X Cecily wrote: "Reminds me of Mrs Winterson (adoptive mother of Jeanette Winterson who wrote "Oranges are not the only fruit" and "Why be happy when you can be normal?") who banned all books except the Bible - and murder mysteries...."

Apart from being abusive, my mother wasn't like Mrs. Winterson at all, not at all prejudiced or restrictive. She just didn't like reading books much. Only women's magazines.


Cecily Yes, sorry. I should have caveated my analogy; it was purely the dislike of books - with one, gory exception - that I was thinking of. Obviously I had no idea of the differing reasons for that, or indeed anything else about her.


Elyse Wow... Geeeee!!!' Gotta read these 12 pages!


Petra X Elyse wrote: "Wow... Geeeee!!!' Gotta read these 12 pages!"

It is so worth it. Fabulously written. I can see all sorts of grammatical errors and things I need to change, but after Cecily told me she received 500 updates from me even though I didn't send any to my feed, I'm frightened to. It's killing me not to though.


Cecily Petra, please don't let that put you off. I was startled and amused. It made me gasp when I saw the total in the daily updates email, but then sigh with relief when I saw most of them were just additions to shelves (which I ignore, whereas reviews, I at least skim).


Petra X I am so sorry. I feel so terrible about it. None of it was supposed to hit the update feed. I have no idea when it has.


Petra X So I corrected it. I just couldn't stand seeing the bad grammar.


Cecily Gosh, I wish I'd never mentioned it. I was impressed how much you'd catalogued. The workings of the GR algorithms are not your responsibility, and it was easy to scroll by, as they were at the end. My initial concern was that I'd have 500+ reviews to skim from one day's updates. Really, don't feel guilty; use GR however you wish to!


Dolors What a powerful review, Petra. You made the hair stand up on the back of my neck...


Petra X Dolors wrote: "What a powerful review, Petra. You made the hair stand up on the back of my neck..."

Gosh thanks. That's a hell of a compliment coming from such a writer as you Dolors!


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