The Castle by Franz Kafka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The simplicity of Kafka's style and the unrelenting direction of this tale still lends itself to multiple interpretations. It's easy to get lost in the labyrinthine passageways of the Castle, but it's not the walls that are difficult. It's the endlessly stimied goal.
For me, this is a novel of utter hopelessness. K's initial, simple request to see the lord of the castle from the position of a Surveyor quickly devolves into the darkest of comedies or, rather, a nihilistic tragedy, as he is regularly put through an increasingly onerous set of hoops. The entire staff of the castle seems set to keep him off the lord, but it grows very clear that everyone there is just as caught in the trap as K.
Utter hopelessness. Everyone's unhappy. Everyone is paranoid. And worst, they're all trapped in an unending cycle of self-perpetuating madness.
Why would anyone do this to themselves?
Well, here's the brilliance of this novel: it's us. Any single one of us. Every step of the way we take with K, he's being asked to do what anyone in our world is asked to do in any walk of life. Through the bureaucracy, gullibility, vindictiveness, fear, paranoia, resignation and worst of all, hope, every character is forced to go through their own hoops endlessly and with little good reason.
Truly, this is a nightmare.
BUT. It is also one hell of a good read, too. :) As the darkest of satires, it succeeds brilliantly. :)
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