Monday, June 20, 2011

The Castle

by Franz Kafka

I read Franz Kafka's the Trial several years ago and absolutely loved it. I thought it was so funny and found frightening parallels with our current criminal justice system. The Trial is one of my favorite novels. So I was really looking forward to reading the Castle for the Once Upon A Time Challenge.

The Castle is the story of a land surveyor, K. who is summoned to a village by the Castle authorities to be its new land surveyor. The entire story is that of K. trying to deal with the Castle bureaucracy and begin his work as the land surveyor, which he never achieves. The story line certainly had potential.

Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy it. While like the Trial it dealt with the nightmare of bureaucracy, it totally lacked the humor of the Trial. And while it was dark, it was more depressing then truly dark. The characters were also uninteresting and I didn't really care what happened to K.

Obviously this is a highly acclaimed work and some people absolutely love it. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that it was unfinished, but then again so was the Trial. I really wanted to love it as I usually enjoy reading about the absurdity of bureaucracy. The Trial was magnificent. Another one of my favorites is All the Names by Jose Saramago about a clerk in the registry of births, marriages and deaths.

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