Although Kafka’s first novel can be read as a disturbing allegory of modern life in all its alienation, it is also a novel infused with blitheness and exuberance. Karl Rossman has been banished by his parents to America, following a family scandal. There, with unquenchable optimism, he throws himself into the strange experiences that lie before him as he slowly makes his way into the interior of the great continent. Kafka’s first novel (begun in 1911 and never finished) is infused with a quite un-Kafkaesque blitheness and sunniness, brought to life in this lyrical translation that returns to the original manuscript of the book.
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