Born OTD in 1883, Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, Franz Kafka. Like Orwell, Kafka has given his name to a world of nightmare, but in Kafka’s world, it is never completely clear just what the nightmare is. The Trial, where the rules are hidden from even the highest officials, and if there is any help to be had, it will come from unexpected sources, is a chilling, blackly amusing tale that maintains, to the very end, a relentless atmosphere of disorientation. Superficially about bureaucracy, it is in the last resort a description of the absurdity of ‘normal’ human nature.

Still more enigmatic is The Castle. Is it an allegory of a quasi-feudal system giving way to a new freedom … More

Born OTD in 1883, novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, Franz Kafka. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers, and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity

Like George Orwell, Franz Kafka has given his name to a world of nightmare, but in Kafka’s world, it is … More

When a land surveyor, known only as “K.”, is summoned to the Village, he is forced to negotiate an obscure hierarchy – among assistants & messengers, chambermaids, landladies, masters & mistresses. But how is he to receive his instructions from the Castle when no one knows what his employer looks like, telephones ring unanswered, & there is anyway no land to survey? A piercing study in futility, Kafka’s final masterpiece ends – much like life itself – in mid-sentence.

Kafka never finished The Castle, his final novel. What he did complete is a vision of a relentlessly dystopian realm … More