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The Castle (SelfMadeHero) Paperback – November 5, 2013
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Like Kafka’s last novel, Mairowitz’s graphic adaptation ends midsentence. Neither Mairowitz nor any other reader can say whether the land surveyor K. ever meets the Count, his supposed employer, in the castle. Nor can they ever determine whether he meets the Count’s agent, who K. repeatedly tries to contact by way of a messenger and with whose disgraced family he ends up sheltering when he fails to discover whether he has actually been hired at all and everyone else in town has closed their doors on him. Of course, the villagers—ignorantly in thrall to the castle and its authority—haven’t helped him at all, regardless of any sympathy they might have for K. Critics have argued that the story might satirize bureaucracy, political authority, or religious salvation. Or might it be an allegory of the Jew in a Gentile society? Jaromír 99 perhaps bets on that last interpretation with artwork that is a matter of stark swatches and blocks of black, white, and gray, suggestive of woodcuts and expressionism in general and German artist Käthe Kollwitz in particular. --Ray Olson
“Of all Kafka’s fiction this is the most personal. K. is not of course a mouthpiece for Kafka–he lacks Kafka’s grave intelligence and humor–but his inner conflict between a taste for ordinary life and the demands imposed by his quest were in good part shared by Kafka . . . The Castle projects a greater strength of will than we have encountered in Kafka’s earlier writings–an effort to overcome the muteness of existence.” –from the Introduction by Irving Howe --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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