The Basic Kafka (英語) マスマーケット – 1979/9/1
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Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883, where he lived until his death in 1924. Widely esteemed as one of the twentieth century's most important writers, he is the author of the novels The Trial and The Castle.
If you do one thing before you die, it should be reading this book - study it if you have to. It's an astonishing work, and we should all be grateful that his friend didn't honor his dying wish, which was to burn all of his writing.
Simply without parallel, this book is filled with amazing stories, parables, philosophy, and other thoughts. Of particular interest is the way in which he makes you think about how much we don't see the modern world for what it is: in his day, the industrial revolution was forever changing the "civilized" way of life, and beginning our unconscious enslavement to fat-cat corporations.
Read. This. Book.
secondly, the author (erich heller) of the introduction is completely obnoxious (i know that's quite a subjective judgment). in some areas of the intro he produces incredibly insightful textual interpretation, yet at other times he tries so hard to make his analysis esoteric and postmodern that he ceases to clearly communicate anything at all to the reader (me!). perhaps if i were inside his brain i would know what he is alluding to in these completely obtuse explications, however i'm not, and he doesn't do much work in an attempt to bring his reader to the point of his realization, throughout much of the intro.
but of course, aside from the translation and the i'm-trying-too-hard-to-be-pomo author of the introduction, kafka's writing is incredible.
oh, p.s. - it seems to be missing a few important pieces of kafka's work that should have been included into this book since i don't believe they're all that long: "investigations of a dog", and "in the penal colony" are not included, perhaps amongst other appropriate additions.