Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Kafka: The Decisive Years by Reiner Stach


The whole art of Kafka consists in forcing the reader to reread. -Albert Camus

I first read about this book in Washington Post Book World review by Michael Dirda so I put it on reserve. It seems that the nature of books that I reserve at libraries throughout the years has been to have several thick tomes show up all at once and not be able to finish any of them before their due dates or to have the requested material completely disappear from the library shelves never to be seen again. The former is what occurred last night as I stopped off to drop off some movies and the Van Ronk book. As eager as I was to return to Shadow of the Wind, I could not stop reading this biography. This is one that will eventually have to be purchased for the home library.

7 comments:

Red State Librarian said...

Most libraries employ a sophisticated software program (developed by the FBI) linking holds with a patron's financial resources. Books on hold become available in such abundance that no human could possibly read them before the due date w/o cutting off all contact with the outside world. Studies have shown that most book lovers pay the fines, generating much needed revenue for the library and providing evidence to the FBI for future Patriot Act prosecutions.

Re: missing items: This is the work of a mysterious cabal that includes Big Oil, Haliburton and, of course, the French.

Dexter said...

Borgesian and Kafkaesque at the same time...excellent.

Another 100 pages into the Kafka book...The introduction is a tersely brutal summary of Kafka's life...
'The life of Dr. Franz Kafka, a Jewish insurance official and writer in Prague, lasted forty years and eleven months. He spent sixteen years and six and a half months in school and at university, and nearly fifteen years in professional life. Kafka retired at the age of thirty-nine. He died of laryngeal tuberculosis in a sanatorium outside of Vienna two years later.'

Stach goes on two detail his oeuvre, 40 complete texts, 3 unfinished 'novels' the sum total of which would be around 350 pages and yet along with Joyce, Svevo and others is considered the begining of modern lit. Stach introduction delineates the perils of biography and especially when the subject is someone such as Kafka. More to follow

Anonymous said...

IS THAT WHY I AM CONTINUALLY DENIED MY REQUESTS BY THE FREAKING LIBRARY WHILE BILL CAN ORDER THE HISTORY OF CATS & ITS THERE THE NEXT DAY????

Dexter said...

I was talking about reserving things they already had, not having library purchase them.(Though now that you mention that they have been quite generous in doing when requested). Still a wee bitter about that obscure 100 dollar Melville book, eh K.?

Red State Librarian said...

99% of U.S. librarians own cats and love to talk about them ad nauseum. If Bill requested the History of Cats, there's a good chance that he has the acquisitions librarian wrapped around his little finger.

scruffylooking said...

Yeah, the other 1% may have a stupid dalmation named Jake and live down the street from K. Maybe the fact that she's in love with K's boyfriend is why she isn't getting her books.

Anonymous said...

That and Bill is a cunning linquist