Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol

Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol

Need another suggestion for #KUBookBingo's Classic Fiction square? A novel or collection of short stories by Franz Kafka (or by one of the authors he influenced) may be just the sort of weird classic you'd like to read. To do so would be the perfect way to celebrate his birthday, for on this day in 1883, Franz Kafka was born in Prague. Some of his most famous works include A Hunger Artist, The Metamorphoses, and The Trial. Kafka's writing, although witty and hilarious, can often be dense, so it's worth starting with his short stories, such as A Hunger Artist or The MetamorphosisA Hunger Artist is about a man who starves himself for a living and struggles to find relevance in a world that no longer finds entertainment in his "art." The Metamorphosis, his most famous story, is about a man who wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed into a giant, cockroach-like creature. The reason for his transformation is never explained, and he must accept his new life as a feared and despised creature unable to provide for his ungrateful family.

If you're into River Song-style SPOILERS, check out Sparky Sweets' Thug Notes' summary and analysis of The Metamorphosis below, because it's great:

But if you're in need of a challenge, Kafka's novel, The Trial, (Ya know, "light" summer reading), is a must-read for all future lawyers, or anyone who hates lawyers, or anyone who hates themselves, because although humorous, the story often drags in order to show what a "drag" the judicial system can be. Kafka actually studied law in college, so he knew first-hand the absurdity, complexity, and often straight-up BS of the judiciary. Kafka's absurdism and style of writing influenced some of the best (and my favorite) 20th century authors, such as Albert Camus and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His style of writing even inspired the word "Kafkaesque," which is demonstrated in this comic below:

kafka airplane comic

So, here's to Kafka's birthday! Let's celebrate with absurdist fiction and hope that the day isn't remotely Kafkaesque and never ends. Because that would suck.


So, what do you think?