This was my first stab at Kafka’s novels. This unfinished work is delightful and showcases Kafka’s indebtedness to the sense of humor found in silent films that tackle the issue of class disparity — namely those of Chaplin. When not read with this sense of humor in mind, which I’m sure can be done if one is so intent on reading Kafka as a “serious” author, I suppose one can extract some sense of existential forlornness out of this. On another note, I must say that the gaps in his fragments have a somewhat unnerving quality to them. And somehow the tension that remains between the narrative continua between “completed” main fragment and the shorter ones left me with the feeling of unease and mild nausea I can feel when reading texts I might consider dark. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Kafka himself is dark, especially in the light of what has come to be known as darkly humorous today.( I am not saying Kafka is a funny author)
I know people tend to call this Kafka’s ‘funny’ novel, but that’s not really the case- it’s still filled to the brim with paranoia, strange forces constantly against you, powerlessness…perhaps because of its odd setting.
It’s a real pity that this novel is unfinished. I’ve loved the final and totally independent chapter about The Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Who knows where Kafka wanted to take his Karl after that.
I felt sad I didn’t know any German and I could have bet that this book must be really good before translation.
Reason for not posting for a long time is that for a while I have been reading my eyes out, so I don’t feel like writing anything. But on completing this Amerika I felt that this is the kind of book that deserves a review. So the decision is that I will be reading Kafka after I finish my war and peace unless something else comes up.
What an awesome match between Germany and England, though it was quite sad for England.