HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Franz Kafka, born 3 July 1883
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
Kafka is not a cheerful writer, but he is certainly powerful. I think his novella Metamorphosis is chilling. It is the story of a young man who wakes one morning to find he has been turned into a giant insect. The Trial is an incredibly modern novel about the power of bureaucracy, and the dehumanising of men in the industrial world.
I have visited the tiny Kafka museum in Prague, which is a fascinating place. Do go and see it if you are lucky enough to have a trip to Prague. Kafka wrote in German, so today the Czechs seem to have a rather ambivalent attitude towards him. He was Jewish which always made him feel something of an outsider – so much of his angst and alienation went into his work.
However, you do need to be feeling cheerful before reading Kafka, otherwise you will be left in a state of depression!
Franz Kafka died on 3 June 1924, aged 40.
I’d be most interested to know what you think of his work? Tell me in the comment area below.
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