A surreal work of psychological horror, Franz Kafka's The Castle is translated by J. A. Underwood with an introduction by Idris Parry in Penguin Modern Classics.
The Castle is the story of K., the unwanted Land Surveyor who is never to be admitted to the Castle nor accepted in the village, and yet cannot go home. As he encounters dualities of certainty and doubt, hope and fear, and reason and nonsense, K.'s struggles in the absurd, labyrinthine world where he finds himself seem to reveal an inexplicable truth about the nature of existence. Kafka began The Castle in 1922 and it was never finished, yet this, the last of his three great novels, draws fascinating conclusions that make it feel strangely complete.
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a Czech-born German-speaking insurance clerk who despised his job, preferring to spend his time writing. Nevertheless, Kafka published little during his lifetime, and ordered his closest friend to burn the mass of unpublished manuscripts, now familiar to us as some of the most influential novels and short stories of the twentieth century, after his death. Kafka's novels, all published posthumously, include The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika.
If you enjoyed The Castle, you might like Kafka's Metamorphosis and Other Stories, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'Every time you read The Castle, you find something new in it'
'Kafka discovered the hitherto unknown possibilities of the novel'
'Kafka may be the most important writer of the twentieth century'