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About the book
  • Published: 15 November 2016
  • ISBN: 9780914671510
  • Imprint: Archipelago
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 250
  • RRP: $29.99


Formats & editions

In this new selection and translation, Peter Wortsman mines Franz Kafka's entire opus of short prose--including works published in the author's brief lifetime, posthumously published stories, journals, and letters--for narratives that sound the imaginative depths of the great German-Jewish scribe from Prague. It is the first volume in English to consider his deeply strange, resonantly humane letters and journal entries alongside his classic short fiction and lyrical vignettes "Transformed" is a vivid retranslation of one of Kafka's signature stories, "Die Verwandlung," commonly rendered in English as "The Metamorphosis." Composed of short, black comic parables, fables, fairy tales, and reflections, Konundrums also includes classic stories like "In the Penal Colony," Kafka's prescient foreshadowing of the nightmare of the Twentieth Century, refreshing the writer's mythic storytelling powers for a new generation of readers.


   • Words are Miserable Miners of Meaning
   • Letter to Ernst Rowohlt
   • Reflections
   • Concerning Parables
   • Children on the Country Road
   • The Spinning Top
   • The Street-Side Window
   • At Night
   • Unhappiness
   • Clothes Make the Man
   • On the Inability to Write
   • From Somewhere in the Middle
   • I Can Also Laugh
   • The Need to Be Alone
   • So I Sat at My Stately Desk
   • A Writer's Quandary
   • Give it Up!
   • Eleven Sons
   • Paris Outing
   • The Bridge
   • The Trees
   • The Truth About Sancho Pansa
   • The Silence of the Sirens
   • Prometheus
   • Poseidon
   • The Municipal Coat of Arms
   • A Message from the Emperor
   • The Next Village Over
   • First Sorrow
   • The Hunger Artist
   • Josephine, Our Meistersinger, or the Music of Mice
   • Investigations of a Dog
   • A Report to an Academy
   • A Hybrid
   • Transformed
   • In the Penal Colony
   • From The Burrow
   • Selected Aphorisms
   • Selected Last Conversation Shreds
   • In the Caves of the Unconscious: K is for Kafka (An Afterword)
   • The Back of Words (A Post Script)

  • Pub date: 15 November 2016
  • ISBN: 9780914671510
  • Imprint: Archipelago
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 250
  • RRP: $29.99

About the Author

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883–1924) was born into a Jewish family in Prague. In 1906 he received a doctorate in jurisprudence, and for many years he worked a tedious job as a civil service lawyer investigating claims at the State Worker's Accident Insurance Institute. He never married, and published only a few slim volumes of stories during his lifetime. Meditation, a collection of sketches, appeared in 1912; The Stoker: A Fragment in 1913; Metamorphosis in 1915; The Judgement in 1916; In the Penal Colony in 1919; and A Country Doctor in 1920. The great novels were not published until after his death from tuberculosis: America, The Trial and The Castle.

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Praise for Konundrum

“• "[Kafka] spoke for millions in their new unease; a century after his birth, he seems the last holy writer, and the supreme fabulist of modern man's cosmic predicament." --John Updike    • "Kafka's survey of the insectile situation of young Jews in inner Bohemia can hardly be improved upon: 'With their posterior legs they were still glued to their father's Jewishness and with their wavering anterior legs they found no new ground.' There is a sense in which Kafka's Jewish question ('What have I in common with Jews?') has become everybody's question, Jewish alienation the template for all our doubts. What is Muslimness? What is femaleness? What is Polishness? These days we all find our anterior legs flailing before us. We're all insects, all Ungeziefer, now." --Zadie Smith    • "[Kafka's] stories are dreamlike, allegorical, symbolic, parabolic, grotesque, ritualistic, nasty, lucent, extremely personal, ghoulishly detached, exquisitely comic, numinous, and prophetic." --The New York Times    • "The distinction Kafka, or his heroes, draw between this world and the world does not imply that there are two different worlds, only that our habitual conceptions of reality are not the true conception." --W. H. Auden "Kafka engaged in no technical experiments whatsoever; without in any way changing the German language, he stripped it of its involved constructions until it became clear and simple, like everyday speech purified of slang and negligence. The common experience of Kafka's readers is one of general and vague fascination, even in stories they fail to understand, a precise recollection of strange and seemingly absurd images and descriptions--until one day the hidden meaning reveals itself to them with the sudden evidence of a truth simple and incontestable." --Hannah Arendt”

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