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The Castle (1926)

by Franz Kafka

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,59779937 (3.95)163
A remote village covered almost permanently in snow and dominated by a castle and its staff of dictatorial, sexually predatory bureaucrats - this is the setting for Kafka's story about a man seeking both acceptance in the village and access to the castle. Kafka breaks new ground in evoking a dense village community fraught wiht tensions, and recounting an often poignant, occasionally farcical love-affair. He also explores the relation between the individual andpower, and asks why the villagers so readily submit to an authority which may exist only in their collective imagination.Published only after Kafka's death, The Castle appeared inthe same decade as modernist masterpieces by Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Mann and Proust, and is among the central works of modern literature. This translation follows the text established by critical scholarship, and manuscript variants are mentioned in the notes. The introduction provides guidance to the text without reducing the reader's own freedom to make sense of this fascinatingly enigmatic novel.… (more)
  1. 42
    The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (chrisharpe)
  2. 10
    The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips (4leschats)
    4leschats: Both deal with the surreality and dehumanization of bureaucracy
  3. 10
    The Music of Chance by Paul Auster (susanbooks)
  4. 00
    The Investigation by Philippe Claudel (jodocus)
  5. 00
    Ice by Anna Kavan (razorsoccamremembers)
  6. 00
    Metropole by Ferenc Karinthy (alzo)
    alzo: more kafka-esque than kafka, a man finds himself in an uknown city with an unrecognisable language, trying to find a way out of the city back home
  7. 01
    The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati (chrisharpe)
  8. 01
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  9. 13
    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (alzo)
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» See also 163 mentions

English (64)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Un libro que quedo inconcluso, sin embargo puede observarse mucho de los elementos de la literatura de este señor donde un individuo busca adaptarse a un sistema cuyas reglas son innecesariamente complejas, un laberinto agobiante de sin sentidos donde la burocracia es llevada a limites insospechados. ( )
  Enzokolis | Jan 17, 2022 |
At the conclusion of the 'first edition':

This book is a wild goose-chase. Every single character is a lunatic, it seems; and I'm still not convinced that K. is even a land surveyor. I think he just lied because he wanted to crash at the inn on his first night, but nitpicking bureaucracy forces him to justify his stay.

As he fights inefficaciously to get official permission to stay, the Castle, via its 'officials,' runs K. through a series of hoops and miles of red-tape. During this Odyssean journey, K. meets characters who have a slavish, worshipful attitude toward the distant, possibly fictitious authorities of the Castle. In contrast, one family is completely defamed for the simple fact that one of its principal female figures refuses to sleep with one of the petty officials after he sends her an angry and extremely coarse letter which amounts to little more than an old-school 'booty call.'

K. also has a fling with one of the alleged official's self-described mistresses (I believe he goes after her merely as a means of trying to gain access to the Castle). They are 'engaged' for over half the novel, whatever that means, but ultimately break up due to K.'s persistence in trying to gain access to the Castle via the aforementioned defamed family.

This version of the story ends with K.'s ex-fiancée's walking out of the room, comforting another man, one of K.'s former assistants.

This piece, to me, seems to be a satire of bureaucratic inefficiency as well as the neurotic tendencies of regimented, hierarchal societies; but I'd be lying if I said I fully understood what exactly Kafka was going for with this one.

At the conclusion of the bonus material translated from the 'definitive German edition':

Bureaucrats fight over paperwork like something out of a fever dream Studio Ghibli animation.

Pepi, Freida's replacement, comes up with the idea that Freida actually used K. as a means of climbing the ladder of social position, which K. dismisses as nonsense, but one can't help but see some truth in the theory.

In the end, K. indirectly admits to having lied the whole time about being a Land Surveyor (at least, that's how I interpret his comment to the landlady "you haven't been telling the truth either" in response to her accusation that he has been lying about his position); ultimately, he secures a place to stay (all he was trying to get in the first place) by securing a hiding place with Pepi and the other chambermaids to winter in relative warmth and comfort, earning his keep by sharing the workload. So it seems that the lowest rung on the ladder of society seems to be the most sensible (sometimes fiction really does reflect real life!).

Still, at the conclusion, I feel as if I'd be lying to say I totally understand this novel, but I suppose inscrutability is what makes a Kafka a Kafka! ( )
  djlinick | Jan 15, 2022 |
I rated this when i read it but am doing this review much later and in hindsight it seems better than the rating i gave. It is unfinished but that doesn't matter much due to the nature of the story.
A man arrives in a village which stands in the shadow of a castle. He seems to be some sort of revolutionary who wants to get into the castle to fight the System and stand up the The Man etc. He assumes the people in the castle are afraid of him or at least deem him a threat but your never sure if this is the case or whether they even know he exists.
Its the original dystopian bureaucratic nightmare story. It has an amazing atmosphere to it. Its greatest strength however is the constant change of perspective. The nature of each character changes a lot during the story as the protagonist learns more about them. Nothing and no one is ever what it seems. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
Memur Bey Bizim Bi’ Evrak İşi Vardı da: Şato (Detaysız-Spoilersız- ve Detaylı İnceleme):
https://parttimegamersite.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/memur-bey-bizim-bi-evrak-isi-... ( )
  SultanNurK_Gucuk | Aug 11, 2021 |
I read this around 1960 when I was in the military. It stuck me then, and on more than a few occasions since, as a haunting depiction of trying to get on in life.

I've even used it as a satirical remark on occasion. For example, waiting almost four hours recently for the 'beancounters' to clear my release from the hospital, I asked the clerk if they had ever read Kafka's The Castle. ( )
  LGCullens | Jun 1, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (83 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kafka, Franzprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Böhmer, GunterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bragg, BillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brod, MaxEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fabian, ErwinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, MarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, ErnstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, EdwinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, WillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pasley, MalcolmEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rho, AnitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sötemann, GuusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilkins, EithneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was in the evening when K. arrived.
It was late evening when K. arrived. (tr. Mark Harman)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

A remote village covered almost permanently in snow and dominated by a castle and its staff of dictatorial, sexually predatory bureaucrats - this is the setting for Kafka's story about a man seeking both acceptance in the village and access to the castle. Kafka breaks new ground in evoking a dense village community fraught wiht tensions, and recounting an often poignant, occasionally farcical love-affair. He also explores the relation between the individual andpower, and asks why the villagers so readily submit to an authority which may exist only in their collective imagination.Published only after Kafka's death, The Castle appeared inthe same decade as modernist masterpieces by Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Mann and Proust, and is among the central works of modern literature. This translation follows the text established by critical scholarship, and manuscript variants are mentioned in the notes. The introduction provides guidance to the text without reducing the reader's own freedom to make sense of this fascinatingly enigmatic novel.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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