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The Castle (Unabridged Fiction) (Naxos Complete Classics) (Classic Fiction) Audio CD – Audiobook, Classical, Unabridged


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 10 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Unabridged edition (1 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843794055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843794059
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.1 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 897,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Product Description

Review

This novel-length parable by the brilliant master of existential angst Franz Kafka was published posthumously in 1926. Our hero, K. (pronounced 'Kah' in this recording), enters a small village ready to assume duties as municipal surveyor. He finds that the mysterious, bureaucratic, and wilful denizens of the nearby castle exercise absolute and self-serving rule over the precincts, and choose to throw obstacle after obstacle in his path. At times humorous and always nightmarish, this unfinished existential parable, while already powerful on the page, gains additional potency from British actor-director Allan Corduner's spot-on narration. He treats the shocking and bizarre with matter-of-fact cool while breathing life into the dramatis personae. Through his efforts we feel K's humiliation and alienation, and it makes us shiver. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner --AudioFile

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 the Paperback edition.

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It was late evening when K. arrived. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 May 2011
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Graham Mccarthy VINE VOICE on 30 Oct. 2008
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Weird Fish on 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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