Introduced by James Lasdun
Illustrated by Bill Bragg
Kafka's first novel follows the adventures of Karl Rossman, sent away from home after getting a maid pregnant. Part social satire, part coming-of-age novel, it is lighter in tone than the rest of his fiction, and owes a debt to a writer he hugely admired: Charles Dickens.
‘He took his hand away from his chin, and waved it feebly, as though to indicate at one and the same time the remoteness of Europe and the insignificance of whatever plans might have been made there.’Amerika was the ﬁrst of Kafka’s novels, but the last to be published. A picaresque and idiosyncratic romp, it follows the adventures of Karl Rossmann, sent away from home after getting a maid pregnant, as he leaves Europe and travels across America. Kafka himself never visited America, and the novel contains many charming idiosyncrasies: San Francisco is situated on the east coast, and a bridge connects New York with Boston.
‘Of all the modernist writers, he is the one most easy to understand … His power resides in the state of the human soul he portrays’
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Review by ericbruen on 6th Mar 2013