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Sunday, April 17, 2016

No One Writes Like Franz Kafka

I began reading Kafka in February this year and have been unable to stop ever since.I have been reading Albert Camus,Leo Tolstoy,Charlotte Perkins Gilman,Guy de Maupassant,Sylvia Plath and a few things on Economics,Wars and Political Science at the same time.
But no one on earth writes like Franz Kafka.In my free time,while going to bed,while eating and dreaming - many a times,the absurdity is the only thing that appeals to me. I've literally travelled and slept with the book since then.
What is the most interesting part is that Kafka has a very unique selection of topics.For example,he does not need rivers or a starry night or the sweet chirping of birds to write.A simple mark on the wall,the sound of breathing,a bedsheet - anything ; it could be anything that he can write so blissfully on.And then that absurdity becomes so real,so much more real than reality itself - for at least a few moments - what you're going through is going to solely occupy your soul and the idea of your breath.

There is a sort of way I test how appealing someone's work is in case of art.I try and check if my soul has become transparent at that point,if I have gone numb and stoned and at the next point,to the ultimate extremity of outburst of emotions.In case of reading Kafka,this happened.Blatantly.Easily.Complexly.I wrote a hell lot of things myself and read like a monster ; literally gobbling both English and Bengali literature as much as I could.
Grammatically speaking,Kafka would be termed a novelist and a short story writer.To me,he is a poet.I do not know what more and what less but obviously a poet.The extremely short of his short stories best exhibit this quality of his.

Being a social anarchist and an atheist (exactly coincides with my ideological faith),which is a way rare combination you will find on the go,Kafka has written quite a number of times about law - rather the vagueness of it.He clearly describes how utopian it is at times and at the other,he acclaims it as the dictation of the powerful and the rich.
Hailing from a middle class Austro-Hungarian family,Kafka bloomed to be a literary genius.While working as an insurance officer,Kafka never left writing.At a very young age,when still in his adolescence he had declared his religious and political views.He had even worn a red coronation in his coat to school to show his support for socialism but he wasn't an ardent Marxist.He had conflict with 'The Theory of Alienation' of Marx ; which perhaps alienated him from the rest of the radical socialists of his time.
Though he had his Bar Mitzvah ceremony performed when he was 13,he never liked to visit the synagogue and remained an atheist throughout his life.Reading the first 5 of his short stories from anywhere,you can say he was an anarchist.The art of questioning is beautifully embedded in his work and that makes things all the more crafted.In fact questions are perhaps what his work incites,from the history of the universe to the mysticism in shadows to the stillness of a bridge and illumination of a night!

The Bridge,The Vulture,At Night,Advocates are my favourites out of what I have gone through till now.Most people will emphasise on 'The Metamorphosis' as his best work but I would personally say there are hidden treasures in the shorter stories.
They are magical.The spark that they have within them is absolutely amazing and if you have studied a whole lot of literature skipping Kafka,you're missing something invaluable.You are certainly missing an experience you won't get anywhere else.

Rehder, Elke: Franz Kafka The Vulture

The spirituality in Kafka's work is deeply spiritual,not religious - never religious.There is sexuality in some of the writings,too.And at least something will light you up,something will burn you,something will whisper to you,something will show you paths,something will rain,something will fall,something will fly,something - that something is bound to tempt you throughout the journey.And get you thirstier within.And incite birth and death in eternal circles.
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