Books

Book 60: Amerika (The Man Who Disappeared) – Franz Kafka

The American dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in this Franz Kafka novel.

As an introduction to Kafka I thought it was decently well written and had an interesting story line. I can only imagine the improvements of the work had Kafka finished the novel in his lifetime and had time to rewrite and edit the novel. As it is the novel has a few interesting quirks pointed out in the preface, like a bridge between Boston (whoop) and New York City, and what appear as the Rocky Mountains just outside of New York City (between NYC and Oklahoma). I’m definitely interested in reading more of Kafka. I have The Metamorphosis on my Kindle, so maybe I’ll get to it soon.

Without knowing how Kafka meant to end the book, one can only surmise on the lessons the novel appears to teach. From the hardship of his forced immigration to the US by his parents, to the abandonment by his uncle, and the indentured servitude to his friends, the protagonist, Karl Rossman has a tough time in America.

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Books

Book 26: Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sandition – Jane Austen

I love Jane Austen. There’s something about knowing her history and the time period in which she was writing that just makes her that much greater. She was so far ahead of her time and wrote about issues that are still pertinent today, if not in the exact manner.

I thought each of these three novels were unique and amazing in their own way. Lady Susan was the first and it was a bit difficult to get into but ultimately turned out to be brilliant. Jane Austen wrote it in the epistolary style, similar to how some of her other well known novels originally began. If she would have rewritten Lady Susan, I have no doubt people would treasure it as much as her other six completed novels. There was drama, intrigue, scandal and a love story. In today’s over-sexed drama-ridden violent society (on TV and in books at least), this novel would clearly be (and remains) invisible. A movie would never be made unless it was turned into a sexy drama with a murder or something.

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