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The Castle Paperback – Deckle Edge, December 15, 1998
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One of three unfinished novels left after Kafka's death, The Castle is in many ways the writer's most enduring and influential work. In Harman's muscular translation, Kafka's text seems more modern than ever, the words tumbling over one another, the sentences separated only by commas. Harman's version also ends the same way as Kafka's original manuscript--that is, in mid-sentence: "She held out her trembling hand to K. and had him sit down beside her, she spoke with great difficulty, it was difficult to understand her, but what she said--." For anyone used to reading Kafka in his artificially complete form, the effect is extraordinary; it is as if Kafka himself had just stepped from the room, leaving behind him a work whose resolution is the more haunting for being forever out of reach. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I first read this novel years ago when the only option in translation was the Muir translation. This new complete translation, which includes a large section that Kafka's friend and literary executor Max Brod decided to excise, transforms the novel into an entirely different book. For one thing, the section that Brod left out indicates even more vividly the degree to which the novel is concerned with depicting the more horrific aspects of modern bureaucratic life. For another, the manner in which the text simply breaks off in mid-sentence reinforces the nightmarish quality of the book, for just as we wake up from a dream, never able to complete the tale, so we break away from the narrative, never knowing what K.'s fate is.
The novel contains more a situation than a plot. K., a surveyor, arrives in a village having been hired by the local Castle, presumably to survey. Instead, K. quickly learns that he may not have been hired at all, and manages to break rapidly a number of laws of which he was utterly unaware and whose logic is far from obvious.Read more ›
This book made me into a Kafka admirer. He brings life to characters in otherwise drab situations and makes them seem very real. The reader feels the frustration, absurdity, the pettiness and the powerlessness in a personal way. You feel the haughtiness and aloofness of the Castle staff as if they were a part of your own community. You feel the pettiness and delusional gossip of the townspeople as if you were seeing it first hand. The story is riveting and the pace seems fast even when there is little action.
The story starts with the protagonist (identified only by his initial, K.) walking to what sounds like a routine surveying job. Soon he is frustrated by a very confusing series of obstacles. As the story develops the obstacles become more chaotic. K.'s original purpose in going to the castle is never fully elaborated and his motives seem lost or stolen. The forces acting upon K. are shrouded. It seems as if some invisible force has plotted to test K. to the limit of human endurance of tolerance of ambiguity.
Kafka combines the themes of:
social class commentary,
alienation from a heartless social system,
absence of any protective power,
fear of strangers,
fear of change,
search for the meaning of life,
inscrutability of authorities,
indifference of forces ruling human fate,
persistence in the face lost purpose,
abuse of power
acceptance of pointlessness goals.
As the plot progresses it takes on a surreal nightmare quality. Is the protagonist having a nightmare, going insane or confronting the reality of his situation?
There is no end to the frustration.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This K. is simply not as engaging as Josef K. of The Trial. I first wondered if this book simply suffered for longer, drawn out conversations (and conversations about... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Mr. Richard K. Weems
The notion that Harman’s translation corrects errors made by the Muirs is laughable nonsense. One need only look at the first paragraph of The Castle to see that Harman himself... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Orson Welles
This book can be read as an introduction to dystopian literature.
Joseph K.(the protagonist) arrives in a village and struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities... Read more
To me, this is the quintessential Kafka book. This book has it all: subtle touches of surreal realism, Kafka's hallmark bureaucratic ramblings, bizarre situational comedy, and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by A.N.S.
Now that I have read Metamorphosis and The Castle, I feel that I have been Kafka-ized. I now understand what is meant by Kafkaesque. Read morePublished 9 months ago by anonymous2
Good book. Really well written. Not actually done with it. But the editing is terrible.
Skips paragraphs when an ending word is hyphenated between pages... Bad digital copy