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The Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Franz Kafka , Idris Parry , J. Underwood
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 Dec 2000 Penguin Modern Classics

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 Nevertheless, Kafka published little during his lifetime, and ordered his closest friend to burn the mass of unpublished manuscripts, now familiar to us as some of the most influential novels and short stories of the twentieth century, after his death.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'

Sunday Times

'Kafka discovered the hitherto unknown possibilities of the novel'

Milan Kundera

'Kafka may be the most important writer of the twentieth century'

J.G. Ballard


Frequently Bought Together

The Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Trial (Penguin Modern Classics) + Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)
Price For All Three: 18.52

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (7 Dec 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141183446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183442
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Every time you read The Castle, you find something new in it" (Sunday Times)

"Kafka discovered the hitherto unknown possibilities of the novel" (Milan Kundera)

"Kafka may be the most important writer of the twentieth century" (J. G. Ballard) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

'He is the greatest German writer of our time. Such poets as Rilke or such novelists as Thomas Mann are dwarfs or plaster saints in comparison to him' Vladimir Nabokov --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was late evening when K. arrived. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Das Schloß... let’s get ready to ramble! 14 Feb 2004
Format:Paperback
This is one of Kafka’s most impenetrable narrative constructs... a book that puts away with the stark storytelling and literary devises of the Trial and instead, broadens the more poetic aspects of the Metamorphosis - as well as drawing on his often fractured short story work - to create a surreal, allegorical parable that, in the words of another reviewer, offers everything and nothing simultaneously. The world of the novel in pure Kafka... with autocracy and bureaucracy pushed beyond their reasonable limits, infecting and affecting the characters in various ways and ultimately, creating an atmosphere of decay and paranoia that hangs constantly in the background, like a sick reminder of the character’s absurd futility.
It’s bleak stuff, made bleaker by the writer’s use of descriptions and choice of subject matter. His work is categorised as being without colour, and certainly this is true when we read his work back. The world that is conjured in our imagination is like a combination of Lynch’s Eraserhead, Gilliam’s Brazil and Soderbegh’s own film of the writer’s life and work (which saw actor Jeremy Irons portraying both Kafka and his literary alter ego K. in a stunning example of self-reflexity). We can actually see the world in which the writer abandons us - leaving us without guidance or clues for the most part of the book - as a noirish underworld populated by a cavalcade of characters, each with shadowy-ulterior motives.
The book takes in elements of black comedy and farce, which does, to an extent, lighten the mood... though the continual bombardment of surreal encounters, arcane descriptions and literary puzzles means that the humour is the last thing we respond to.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Surreal, and Very Very Relevant 30 Oct 2008
By Graham Mccarthy TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The Castle is more surreal and consequently more disturbing than Kafka's more famous novel, The Trial. The Castle appears to be an allegory for government bureaucracy and the law and in this respect will resonate with anybody that has dealt with government or a telephone company. It is a very dark story of a man's life of frustrations in the face of unrelentingly Byzantine bureaucracy.

This is my favourite Kafka novel and it is frustrating therefore that one must read it in translation, but mainly because Kafka never finished it, indeed it ends mid sentence. Kafka gave up on this book and it was Kafka's close friend Max Brod that completed it and to an extent commercialised it. But in a way, this chimes in with the unnerving narrative and is yet one more device to de-stabilise the reader.

Once read, The Castle will stay with you and you'll find yourself comparing much of what happens to you in modern life to the Sisyphus like existance of Joseph K.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Modern World!! 1 May 2011
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
It either clicks or bypasses but the Castle is an allegory working on several lengths and is a dense sensorium.

The class dynamics are paramount where each interaction is measured constantly and repetitively for perceived slight. This pervades the novel as a damp odour rising to stultify human relatinships from beginning to end. It resonates with every humiliation and seemingly supplication throughout, resonating with Knut Hamsun's The Hunger. A tale that squirms with an intensity.

Then there is another tale of lust and debauchery Frieda and the Land Surveryor tumble and make a connection, the story is based on a blossoming relationship that must navigate the Castle and the village stares. It is he tale of the perennial outsider upsetting the country regime and their attempts to psychologically nullify him.

The people live within an iron grip of bureaucracy that makes pronouncements in a surreal world. There is law and order but it is all arbitary, the participants have to guess at instruction. Flying through the layers of class power those on the outside become the most afflicted. There is no one to take over all responsiblity but the effects of power are felt bodily and psychologically. This form of discourse pervails from trying to phone a utilities company, it also evokes the white collar worlds of bullying where the recipient is trapped in the constant double bind of dread (needing the money) and suffering the suffocating power of the face that stifles. Twenty years later these forms of power were used to devastating effect prior to and after WW2. Kafka was a seer who drew from the energy around him to provide a reflection. The effects of power as a discourse were to influence sociology and philosophy for eons.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Castle 25 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off this is an excellent book, as you might expect given that it was written by, arguably, one of the most influential writers of the last 150 years. I would recommend this novel to anyone with an interest in contemporary philosophical and existential literature.

However, I would also suggest that anyone wanting to read this should read 'The Trial' (also by Kafka) first, simply because it's a slightly gentler starting point with regards to style and narrative and is an easier way to become acquainted with Kafka's works, before tackling 'The Castle' which is a trickier and more unfinished novel, but ultimately just as challenging and interesting a story.

(PS: Check out his short stories as well, most are similar works of genius from one of the most unique and tragic authors who ever put pen to paper.)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Klamming up
Possibly like K I'm baffled by the one star ratings for this unfinished masterpiece.
I admit at times it is hard work but by gad sir this is worth the slog. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars The Castle
If the reader gives this novel due attention it becomes hugely labyrinthine, and as a point of circumspect habit, every novel I approach I will sit with as long as it deems... Read more
Published 5 months ago by K. R. Donnan
3.0 out of 5 stars The Castle
Downloaded on the recomendation of my son who rates it highly. I found it interesting and the mesage is profound but it is not an easy book to read and really does need full... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Pyogenes Gruffer
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Kafka
Having previously read The Trial and Metamorphosis, I wanted to read the 3rd of his best known books. Read more
Published 6 months ago by AJL
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
this is a beautiful book! i really like this story and I suggest you to read it! you can spend a really good time!
Published 6 months ago by Emanuele Melchiorre
5.0 out of 5 stars I like it
Kafka is often described as dream-like, surrealist. But the deeper I get into this book, the more my own life appears to resemble that of the protagonist. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jimbo
4.0 out of 5 stars psychological puzzle
Excellent translation by JA Underwood and an informative introduction by Idris Parry of Franz Kafka's book. A compelling, bizarre story at times. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. David M. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars translation of the Schloss
Good translation of the famous novel Das Schloss by Franz Kafka.
Anybody who can't read it in German would find this amazing. Read more
Published 16 months ago by B E Rogers
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed Opportunity
Kafka's Castle is like a sombre reworking of Dickens's Circumlocution Office. It is a bizarre existentialist tale where nothing is certain, least of all the status and character of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Enobarbus
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW
I didnt know much about kafka other than the name. I thought he was a philosopher or something. Sorry im not the most well read! Read more
Published 22 months ago by jamo
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