Kafka and the Doll

Larissa Theule, Rebecca Green

Kafka and the Doll
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Kafka and the Doll

Larissa Theule, Rebecca Green

Inspired by a true story, Kafka and the Doll recounts a remarkable gesture of kindness from one of the world’s most bewildering and iconic writers.

In the fall of 1923, Franz Kafka encountered a distraught little girl on a walk in the park. She’d lost her doll and was inconsolable. Kafka told her the doll wasn’t lost, but instead, traveling the world and having grand adventures! And to reassure her, Kafka began delivering letters from the doll to the girl for weeks.

The legend of Kafka and the doll has captivated imaginations for decades as it reveals the playful and compassionate side of a man known for his dark and brooding tales. Kafka and the Doll is a testament to living life to the fullest and to the life-changing power of storytelling.

Review

What a charming story this is! Kafka and the Doll is based on a factual event in Franz Kafka’s life, when he and his love, Dora Diamant, encountered a crying girl in a Berlin Park. In this fictionalised account, the girl (Irma) has lost her doll (Soupsy) and Kafka, moved by her sadness, invents a tale of Irma’s beloved Soupsy going on an adventure. As a supposed postman, Kafka explains he has a letter from Soupsy at home to be delivered the next day to Irma! And so, Soupsy begins a peripatetic life of travel around the world, while the little girl becomes the recipient of wonderful letters from an author destined for fame.

Larissa Theule based this sweet story on Dora Diamant’s retelling of this episode to Kafka’s biographer. Illustrator Rebecca Green brings it to life with bold and assured strokes. The author’s note and short biography of Kafka are added bonuses to an already captivating story. Highly recommended for 3+.


Alexa Dretzke is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Hawthorn.

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