Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

The castle,: A novel

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Secker and Warburg; [3d ed.] edition (1942)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007J474Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,778,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
Read more ›
1 Comment 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
What is the big mystery about The Castle? It is a book about day-to-day life as most of us live it – the petty squabbling; soured relationships; quotidian betrayals; personal disappointments; the need for jobs, warmth and security; meaningless 'status', often betokened by clothing, giving people over-exalted ideas about themselves; life in pubs, at work and in the home; people lounging in bed all hours because of sickness or laziness. Critics belabour the point of the Castle's mysterious authority, its ranks of petty bureaucrats and so on, but what's new? Have you ever had to deal with a civil service department in the UK? Indeed, I wonder how many people in a typical English street could tell you exactly how new laws are framed and enacted in this country. Five per cent? That sounds optimistic to me, probably more like one in five-hundred. Life is a mystery to most that they do not understand and don't even want to understand. Welcome, then, to the world of The Castle - our world.
2 Comments 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's hard to put a finger on why The Castle is an enjoyable book. I suppose it must be the air of mystery surrounding the plot, characters and direction of the book. It's also hard to avoid comparisons with The Trial, which transmits a similar sense of mystery.

The story revolves around a character K, the omission of a further explanation of his contracted name is the first in a host of unexplained mysteries. We know very little about K, other than he has travelled to a town dominated by a Castle after being summoned to perform his duties as a surveyor. When K arrives at the town it becomes clear that nothing is going to be straightforward.

The town is run from the Castle by a mysterious administration whose labyrinthine rules and procedures govern the townspeople who are constantly in fear of offending those officials ranked higher than them while simultaneously striving to climb the ranking ladder. Unfortunately the whole game is rigged by a serious of secret networks, rules and unseen penalties.

Readers who enjoyed The Trial should enjoy The Castle. The same sense of menace looms over the narrative and its never clear if the main protagonist has figured out the whole ruse or is about to be crushed under the weight of bureaucracy. It's easy to see why Maria's books are viewed as critiques of the Soviet regime. The feeling of helplessness for individuals lost in a giant machine where even those working the levers are not sure what the end product is.

Somehow, by skill suspense and arresting prose, Kaka makes The Castle compelling when it's individual elements should make it immensely frustrating.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback