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Franz Kafka has 52 ratings and 3 reviews. Laysee said: In 21 Short Tales, Franz Kafka presented a collection of extremely short but intriguing stories.
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He mostly described awful, absurd, stressful, weird and confusing situations that human beings experience on daily basis. Sadly, I can relate to his labyrinths of endless bureaucracy. This writer is not for everyone. And there's nothing wrong with that.


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So my connection with him was instantaneous. It's a shame that mostly happens with people that died a couple or hundreds of years ago. No Lake House around here, huh? God, I hated that movie. View all 13 comments. Jul 17, Sidharth Vardhan rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Old Man in the Woods Or The Monkeys by fire We monkeys have sat by this ever-burning fire for generations because we are afraid to go outside the perimeter of its light into the dark.

Although we have tried to look beyond into the darkness everyday hoping to find something; yet all of us are afraid to step out. And this fear is not baseless, for whoever has entered the darkness has never returned. Thus this fire has a very central role to play in our lives. It has been there for as long The Old Man in the Woods Or The Monkeys by fire We monkeys have sat by this ever-burning fire for generations because we are afraid to go outside the perimeter of its light into the dark. It has been there for as long as memory goes back into the past.

One is often tempted to ask who created it in the first place - you can depend upon monkeys to let their curiosity rule them. While over the years, organized efforts have been made to increase it by feeding wood and thus increasing perimeter of its light - one must add 'quite successfully'; the question of its origins remain debate-able.

Some argue that it was always there — but imagination finds it hard to deal with infinities.

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These days it is even contested that it was a result of an explosion. However, a widely accepted view has been that the Old Man did it. The Old Man, who it has been claimed, lives outside the perimeter of light. And they keep fighting among each-other as to whose description is better than other. Another thing for which you can depend on monkeys for - to form their opinions on things they know nothing about and then fight to prove they are right. They have formed factions — major as well as minor. There is, for example, a faction, J, which is sure there is an Old Man and he is very kind since as, so the legend goes, this old man first asked one of our ancestors to kill his son; but later out of total mercy told him he need not do so.

There is another faction, C, which argues that the old man actually once sent his son among us, named Jay Cee — after doing a plastic surgery on him to give him the form of a monkey. Yet another faction, I, will have it that Jay Cee was only Old Man's ambassador to our little land like many others, who had come to us to tell us about the day the fire will be dissolved and all bad monkeys will be punished.

Kind of makes you feel like you are in a classroom where teacher has gone out on an errand and will punish in-disciplined souls on return! And all these factions along with many others have each have at least one leave of its own. If any of my fellow monkeys happen to be listening, forgive the mockery! Anyway, some of these last who say there is no old man at all, claim the old man is an illusion — the result of our vivid imagination which shows brain what it wishes to see. The argument is favored by the fact that despite large extension of illuminated land as the fire has grown over the years — even to areas where the Old Man was supposed to be; he is still not to be found.

Instead he seems to have silently crawled back as if avoiding us, hiding from us. May be he has too many wrinkles and feels hideous. Instead, so these non-believing monkeys will have you believe, that Old Man was imagined back when fire was still new and fears high; our ancestors needed a human that could father them and in absence of such a father figure they might have imagined one.

In fact, we monkeys have always found it difficult to get over our daddy issues. That could explain all those fights. Who daddy loves the most? Whether or not, this father figure is real, these infidels argue, it is high time we become independent of him — even if it is tempting to have belief in a higher figure, if only as someone to curse on a rainy day.

At the moment, one cannot help but wonder whether he thinks of anything of our acknowledgement or further requests and gifts we keep on making. And one doubts if he did anything at all worth acknowledging. For example, how did he created the fire in first place? Some argue he used woods and stones; others argue that he used petrol and wood — you see even on this point there has been no clarity but most seems to agree that a fire implies an old man who started it - for fire, they say, can't create itself and monkeys, they all seem to be surely incapable of doing it.

There is also the very nature of Old Man — in fact some people think that he is not old at all; still others, though very few, are sure that it is a woman and there are some who say he has a vulture head. These last are considered primitive by others. Also what is there to say that Old Man is not a bad guy? In fact, look at the facts — his messages have created only confusion and differences.

We are fighting with each other stupidly — one could claim that he is making us fight each other for his entertainment; powerful have always made fun of powerless —the temptation is just too strong. Just look at how we monkeys play with insects. Yes, I insist upon it. The Old Man is just making fun of us; it sure must be hard for a man in his position not to laugh at our monkey-ish behavior.

May be, may be Old Man is the biggest enemy we have. Anyway the hard truth remains one can never be sure. And yet all these factions are so sure of being right they must kill others to prove it — in service to or protection of Old Man they say. At times, one walks along perimeter of the fire's light for a lone walk, dejected with all this barbarian behavior; and looks outside the perimeters; hoping — yes hoping for sometimes one can't help it; hoping to see him … And yet, all the while being sure that there would be nothing but darkness visible.

Aug 17, Seth rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Everyone, at least a little. Buy a good collection of Kafka's stories and put it in the bathroom. If you've been led to believe that Kafka wrote drab stories about alienation and angst and that The Metamorphosis is a tradgedy , then take a magic marker, cross out the name on the spine, and pretend it's a weird book by Dave Sedaris or something.

Best Franz Kafka Short Stories | List of Kafka Short Fiction

Kafka's stories are smart, often funny, quick to read, and as modern and relevant as ever. In the bathroom you'll probably bypass the larger works including The Metamorphosis Buy a good collection of Kafka's stories and put it in the bathroom. In the bathroom you'll probably bypass the larger works including The Metamorphosis and discover his short-shorts. We call it "flash fiction" now: Kafka was a master of the form, but they are too short to use as an essay subject in high school, so too many people don't read them.

When you've adjusted to Kafka as an absurdist who actually likes people, then re-read The Metamorphosis and finish it this time--it ends on an "up" note, much to most peoples' surprise and strike out into The Hunger Artist, The Penal Colony, and the rest. Treat this is a collection of fun, short, absurd, witty stories and forget everything your high school english teacher told you. He or she had't actually read Kafka in decades, after all. View all 3 comments. I first bought this in , in an edition where Vintage had removed the full stops from the text in error, or to lure me into some Kakfaesque trap.

View all 5 comments. Aug 19, John rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: But this collection also has far shorter yet likewise spot-on renderings out of our developing collective unconscious, such as "A Hunger Artist," ever-more-essential reading for anyone trying to following a creative calling amid the materialist hurly-burly. More intense distillations are served, as well, in what would come to be called "flash-fic. Kafka insists on the primacy of that vision, never flashy, his good judgment eliminating anything that might distract, might suggest artist matters more than art.

The cult of personality that's grown up around him, over the last few decades, is one of the most galling travesties of our literary culture. View all 11 comments. Jun 06, Brian rated it it was amazing Shelves: Those stories stand out among the rest. However, reading all of his shorts gave me no less pleasure. I liked his shorter stories most, as they packed meaning and depth into a small speck, like the small matter scientists say blew up into the Universe.


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I love the way Kafka describes settings. I love the way he makes me feel. Two stories I could not finish. Updike mentions in the beginning the term Kafkaesque originated from his novels. I anticipate reading these three novels and have ordered them already. He has an unbelievable way with words. He has no Hobbits or Aes Sedai, no hybrid man-creatures or Spider-Morph babies eating their mothers when they drop from the womb.

He speaks of a normal world but through the lens of his mind, and it transforms into a beautiful place. I get that now. His stories make you laugh or react in some surface way, then something grows inside the back of your mind and a double meaning invades. I had an experience a few days ago, the Kafka mind invaded, and it helped me understand the endeared term derived from his name.

I had been promoted so I hid in the bathroom. I dropped to my knees and palms, placed my face on the floor and said thanks to God. Then I thought, what if a Black Widow crawls out from behind the toilet and bites me and I die right here giving God thanks. Funny in a sick way, ironic. A good story idea: That strange, conflicted way of thinking defines Kafkaesque for me. Kafka has claimed the number one place on my favorite authors list.

What an amazing soul! Probably most readable, rhythmic and rounded among these tales, so much so that I forced my brother to listen to me reading it aloud to him, is The Great Wall of China, which contains the immortal parable of the messenger. Kafka's tales are oblique, frequently, I think, resisting reading in terms of established philosophical or ideological positions. Their psychological resonance is immense, even when it's difficult to pin a definitive meaning to the action, to divine the motivations of the chara Probably most readable, rhythmic and rounded among these tales, so much so that I forced my brother to listen to me reading it aloud to him, is The Great Wall of China, which contains the immortal parable of the messenger.

Their psychological resonance is immense, even when it's difficult to pin a definitive meaning to the action, to divine the motivations of the characters, or to suck out an aphorism.

Franz Kafka: 21 Short Tales

Tales like The Metamorphosis describe the atmosphere of the period almost by exquisitely carving out the negative space. Investigations of a Dog is another of my favourites, interrogating, indirectly but with keen clear sight, unspoken anxieties and motivations behind social habits, and perhaps religious practices.

I have a theory that every honest reader will find themselves uncomfortably, of course in Kafka. I am the animal narrator-protagonist of The Burrow , who obsesses over its home's security and defences, and experiences bliss rolling on the floor of one of its chambers in brief, luxurious forgetfulness. Reflecting on this is quite therapeutic for me; I am able to challenge myself.

View all 8 comments. May 30, Cecily rated it it was amazing Shelves: Every story is different, but each one takes you to a different world, or an alternative view of one we are in and perhaps wish we weren't. Some are funny, some sad and many are both. Some are so short they are more like prose poems. Great for dipping into and getting a taste of Kafka before and during and after tackling his larger works. See my Kafka-related bookshelf for other works by and about Kafka http: May 27, Zachary F. The night sky invited him, with its dark blue and its gold.

Unknowing, he gazed up at it, unknowing he lifted his hat and stroked his hair; nothing up there drew together in a pattern to interpret the immediate future for him; everything stayed in its senseless, inscrutable place. In itself it was a highly reasonable action that Wese should walk on, but he walked onto Schmar's knife. Why no Austenesque or Woolfian? What else can there possibly be to glean? Kafka reheated two or three times over is not really Kafka at all, no matter how Kafkaesque it may seem at face value.

Going into the Collected Stories , I thought I knew more or less what to expect: And of course you can find all of that here—the stereotypes have an ample foundation in reality. The perpetual anxiety of his characters, along with the bodily contortions and discomfort that so often accompany it, were literally painfully familiar to me as a sufferer of chronic anxiety. The meaningless corporate hoop-jumping and purgatorial workplace setpieces are still, as so many have said already, shockingly recognizable in our age of cubicles and Excel spreadsheets.

So much of his writing, especially the ultra-short, flash-fiction-y pieces that I count as my favorites, are suffused with real curiosity and surprise, even whimsy. Yes, I said it: Most of his protagonists are sympathetic, if a little aloof, just normal-ish working people trying their best to reach an understanding with their neighbors and make sense of a senseless world.

Not every story in this compilation is a masterpiece. Generally speaking, in fact, I think that K is at his best in the very short fictions: If I were more self-aware, maybe I'd have taken that lesson to heart and kept this review short too. But then again, Kafka has the advantage here: I, on the other hand, have to condense Kafka. View all 6 comments.

Jan 23, Brian rated it really liked it. There is something about Kafka's writing that just pulls you in, ties you to the chair and makes you experience it - in all of its frustration, humor and sadness. When observed objectively, it is almost insane that we still read an author that only published a few completed short stories. Kafka ordered all of his work to be burned upon his early death at 41 - his executor and friend, Max Brod, sensed the unfulfilled genius in Kafka's work, and refused his friend's dying wish.

So I asked myself w There is something about Kafka's writing that just pulls you in, ties you to the chair and makes you experience it - in all of its frustration, humor and sadness. So I asked myself when I took this book of the shelf a couple of months ago, "Why read this book of stories for the third time? In addition, most of the stories in this collection are unfinished. The remainder of the collection is like staring into a handful of uncut, unpolished diamonds - the reader is forced to look at the potential rather than the current state.

This collection includes everything that exists from Kafka's pen, with the exception of his three unfinished novels. I don't think that Kafka is the best short story writer. But after reading his stories for the third time, I think I've realized why I like him so much. Kafka's particular talent at a particular point in human history is serendipitous. I believe that his writing is a bridge between the story writing and telling of the 19th century and the dawning of a new age in literature the "Modern" and then "Post-Modern" literature ages.

I can sense 19th century Europe in his stories as much as I can the David Foster Wallace, Ben Marcus and other talented late 20th century writers. This positioning is unique and rather daunting for an author with little finished work. A word of warning: Reading through pages of these is like a journey through a deranged mind, so if you choose to read this book cover-to-cover, plan on tackling this section in short bursts. Jan 16, Geoff rated it it was amazing Shelves: I can't believe I haven't rated this one yet. This is where you go to find Kafka, even more so than his unfinished novels.

The Catcher in the Rye J. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Lord of the Flies William Golding. Invisible Cities Italo Calvino. Cannery Row John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck. Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad. Metamorphosis and Other Stories Franz Kafka. The King in Yellow Robert W. The Karamazov Brothers Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Lady Chatterley's Lover D. The Princess Bride William Goldman. To The Lighthouse Virginia Woolf. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte. The Trial Franz Kafka. Marina Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The Lord of the Rings J. A Monster Calls Siobhan Dowd.

Great Expectations Charles Dickens. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath. The Horror in the Museum H. Fahrenheit Ray Bradbury. Tales from Shakespeare Charles Lamb. Other books in this series. Best Short Stories Guy de Maupassant.

Eleven Short Stories Luigi Pirandello. Best Short Stories Franz Kafka. Selected Fables Jean de La Fontaine. Tartuffe and the Bourgeois Gentleman Moliere. Selections Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Back cover copy Students of German language and literature will welcome this dual-language edition of five stories by Franz Kafka Considered one of the greatest modern writers, Kafka's work brilliantly explores the anxiety, futility and complexity of modern life.