As Promised – Kafka Mini Reviews

Just finished reading the last short story in the collection, and I am ready to write the mini reviews I promised you ages ago. 🙂

The last story I reviewed was The Stoker so I begin this with In The Penal Colony.

This short story, In The Penal Colony, was written in 1914 and published in 1919.  It is described as a parable.  I agree with this.  It’s describes a torture device that is actually put to use.  The description of that scene is pretty graphic and if you don’t like blood, you won’t want to read it.  It’s not scary, not by a long shot, just puts too much emphasis(in my opinion) on the bloody nature of the device.  It’s also one of his longer stories.

A Country Doctor is next.  It was written in 1916 and published in 1919.  This story must have been one of his “dream logic” stories because it was quite confusing.  Either that or the doctor, while freezing to death waiting for a horse to take him on a house call, loses his mind; said mind going on one last house call that made very little sense.  Read it if you like, but I saw nothing to recommend it except Kafka’s emotive writing.  His use of words to convey surrealism on the verge of horror is fantastic.

An Old Leaf was published in 1919 with no mention of what year it was written – most likely 1916 along with A Country Doctor.  Not sure what this story was trying to say but at least it wasn’t that long.

A Hunger Artist, written in 1921 and published in 1924.  This short story is about an actual hunger artist who can’t seem to come to terms with how society viewed his idea of “art”.  People used to flock around people who were actual hunger artists but only because of the morbidity and oddity of these “performers”.  I found it interesting from a historic perspective.  I wouldn’t have considered these performances as being art.

Josephine, the Singer, or The Mouse People was also written in 1921 and published in 1924.  It’s a longer story, but it also deals with an artist who can’t come to grips with the way her society actually views her “art”.  I found this story to be boring.  I won’t lie since that would be a disservice to you, the readers of this review.  Read it for yourselves as you may get more out of it than I did.

The last story in the collection is actually part of a larger novel.  Before the Law, written in 1914 and published in 1919, is part of his completed novel The Trial which was published posthumously in 1925.  Before the Law is very short and doesn’t make any sense at all to me.  It might to you.  Personally, I think I’d rather read The Trial as context might help it make sense to me.

And thus ends my mini reviews of the remaining short stories of Franz Kafka.  As always,  I urge you readers to read this body of work for yourselves because only then can you truly know how you feel about them – know completely what you have brought away from reading them.  I am no expert on anything and thus, you have no need to take my word for anything in regards to this body of work or any other.  Don’t take my word, or anyone else’s for that matter – find out for yourself!

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

Kafka and More

I’ve almost finished reading the collection of short stories by Kafka.  I’ll do a quick overview of each one as soon as I’m done.  Writing complete reviews of each would rather spoil things for you, if I haven’t done so already with my other reviews.  Kafka is well worth a read because of the way he writes and not just what he writes.  I’m looking forward to reading at least one of his novels in the near future.

Working the mid shift I’m on at work has thrown my life out of whack.  I can’t really plan things like I could before.  I only have so much time before and after work to do things.  What makes things harder is that my back issues are getting worse since I started work.  I don’t lift heavy things but I do a lot of walking, bending over and other things which is causing me a lot of pain.  I have to force myself to work a full shift because by the time I’ve been there an hour my feet feel like I’ve been on them for days.  I’m going to call the doctor tomorrow to see about getting an appointment.  I need something done so I can keep working.

My filet crochet project of the peacock is nearing the end – only about 30 more rows to go – if I don’t decide to add panels to the side of it.  It is looking quite lovely, and I’ll be posting a picture of it when it’s done.

I messed around and missed the deadline for entering Mr. Nobody into the contest for FunDead Publications, but that’s okay because I’m going to turn the short story into a full length novel called The Demon’s Rules. 🙂

I joined Soldier’s Angels, a volunteer agency that links volunteers with soldiers and groups of soldiers here at home and abroad.  They have many teams doing things from writing letters to sending care packages to providing items for baby showers and other things as well.  All branches are served by this group, and I’m happy to be a part of the team.

I’m also loom knitting hats for cancer patients and veterans here in the States.  I’m only making one a day due to my schedule, but it’s still something.

So, I’m working, reading, writing, and crafting every day – very busy schedule. 🙂  How are things with you?

See you all on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

Kafka – The Judgment and The Stoker

Since the first was so short, I read the second right after it.

The writing style of Kafka is more along the lines of allegories and seems, to me, to be more like a recounted dream or a disjointed thought rather than what we all, him included, consider to be “proper” short stories.

Both The Judgment and The Stoker were written in 1912; both were published in 1913.  The Stoker won the Fontane Prize in 1915 and became the beginning of his novel, Amerika, published posthumously in 1927

The Judgment is more like a half remembered dream, the beginning is understandable and realistic.  I didn’t like the main character, Georg Bendemann, at all.  From his musings over a letter he’d just written to a friend in Russia, he doesn’t strike me as being much of a friend.  You’ll see what I mean when you read it.  After preparing the letter to be mailed, it suddenly occurs to Georg he should consult his elderly father whom he still lives with, about the wisdom of sending this particular letter with its particular news.  The interview with the father is like a twisted dream – it is full of drama, conflicting action and emotion which made it surreal to me.  The ending, didn’t make much sense.

Still, it is worth reading, if only so you can shake your head and think”what is the world was he thinking when he wrote this?”

The Stoker is a story taken out of a passage in young Karl Rossman’s like.  He is sent off to America to avoid a scandal involving a 32 yr old chambermaid who seduced him and bore him a child.  Karl is described as not quite old enough for college though he has finished what we would deem “high school”.

The entire story happens on the ship Karl has taken to Ellis Island but not yet embarked due to a forgotten umbrella.  He is lost while searching for the lost item below decks and happens upon the stoker of the ship who is also a fellow German.  They strike up a friendship of sorts, trading tales of woe and bad treatment.  Karl, is a bid to assist the stoker with getting justice for his own mistreatment aboard the ship, urges the man, whose name is never mentioned, to go to the captain with him to tell him all about it.

Off they go, resolute the stoker should have his say, and Karl, poor guy, is separated from the stoker during the course of the meeting by his estranged uncle who also happens to be a Senator.  Nothing more is said in this story about the poor stoker, or his fate, but Karl is left quite unhappy and a bit bereft.

This second story is quite good I feel.  It was like two ships passing in the night only these two actually got to know one another enough to touch each other’s lives – like the fingertip stroke of a pretty girl across your arm as she passes – a fleeting touch that means very little but still changes your perspective for a bit.

I am eager to read more of Kafka’s work and will look for Amerika as I really want to see what becomes of young Karl.