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I have loved this superb novel for a very, very long time Perhaps you, too, have shrouded yourself in the endless folds of its inner mystery and adventure and lost yourself within it But WHY does it always seem to us so frustrating So unsatisfying in the end Is it because the Land Surveyor never gets to his Castle Well maybe there s a DEEPER reason why he never arrives something endemic to the functioning or malfunctioning, of our ordinary minds.Let s try to FIND OUT what it is.Now, some writers and Kafka is one of them seem to catch us unawares as if they re calling out to us from a higher plane of existence Edwin Muir, the Scottish expatriate poet who first discovered Kafka for us anglophones in the 1930 s, was sure that the dear, misunderstood Franzel had an armlock on some Hidden Truth.But what if this key to Kafka is that he was caught in the complex to and fro ing of Hegel s Contrite Consciousness the tempestuous Ethical Plane of existence, according to Kierkegaard And what happens when the human mind morphs from the everyday sphere of living for the day to a scary Moral Sphere It can be like Freud s The Schreber Case After all, there s no justification for moral judgements in an amoral world, is there So we re automatically viewed as a stranger Once you take sides, Sonny, you re on your own The mind tends to play tricks on us at that pointAnd, once challenged and stopped dead in its tracks, the mind starts to replay its key judgements and obsessions ad infinitum, as Kafka does here almost in anticipation of Freud s example, Schreber but only neurotically, and not psychotically.But, hey you rise above the herd, and it ain t gonna be easy Let me put it from another angle did Frodo chicken out from his Quest Not on your life Though, like us, he retreated to the false comfort of his Ring now and then and paid for it heavily.Just as Kafka and Schreber take comfort in their obsessive disorders Though Frodo s fix is an dangerous narcissism Power.But Kafka IS calling us from a higher plane, because the Castle itself is theologically symbolic of a Higher Reality.Just as Mordor is the hobbits Armageddon and Gandalf is their Guardian Angel, along with the elfin folk.Even though that wonderful symbolic reality has now become shadowy and ungrounded in the crass garish light of the daily news, and though the common everyday folks now seem utterly self seeking making our Land Surveyor s reasoning utterly nonsensical to them, we now all have to live in an Upside Down Kingdom, the postmodern mindset.That s a fact of our lives for us modern ethically minded seekers for we Quixotes are now hopelessly pitted against powerful electronic windmills Okay, then Had Kafka lived longer, would he have written in a HAPPY ENDING for the poor Land Surveyor Would he have entered the Castle, finally I think so.Because all it takes is that one unforgettable moment when, at the end of all our wanderings, we hear the magical voice of the Woodthrush calling through the Fog That moment when it finally dawns on us that there s a much BIGGER story going on here than our own tiny story of dazed frustration as we trudge endlessly with the Land Surveyor through the snowdrifts of an Eastern European villageLike in Kafka s Amerika.The bigger story of Redemption.For it s not about us It s about something Bigger.Kafka made this clear in a short story called Before the Law only once surreptitiously published in his lifetime In Before the Law, a man ceases believe, because he can t even believe in the Law So if he can t believe in the Gospel, he loses the right to enter through the Gate of Heaven.So the man always starts again And TRIES again And continually starts again at the beginning, simply because he now no longer believes.When it s time for him to die, the Gate is Closed Why Because he has given up trying, believing AND BEGINNING AGAIN In Amerika, though, Kafka comes to see that Salvation is a Free Gift.And it s only because he has given up hope completely, that the Gate the Castle or the Gift of Grace is Now closed to him.Until he starts over, but NOW it s too late.Or WOULD be too late WITHOUT GRACE For, to Kafka himself, at the end, Grace now ABOUNDEDHe now had kept his part of the bargain, always trying, no matter how hard it could be, to believe AND SO THE CASTLE GATES SWUNG OPEN. Book Jacket Status Jacketed Arriving In A Village To Take Up The Position Of Land Surveyor For The Mysterious Lord Of A Castle, The Character Known As K Finds Himself In A Bitter And Baffling Struggle To Contact His New Employer And Go About His Duties As The Villagers And The Castle Officials Block His Efforts At Every Turn, K S Consuming Quest Quite Possibly A Self Imposed One To Penetrate The Inaccessible Heart Of The Castle And Take Its Measure Is Repeatedly Frustrated Kafka Once Suggested That The Would Be Surveyor In The Castle Is Driven By A Wish To Get Clear About Ultimate Things, An Unrealizable Desire That Provided The Driving Force Behind All Of Kafka S Dazzlingly Uncanny Fictions Translated By Willa And Edwin Muir 691 Das Schloss The Castle, Franz KafkaThe Castle German Das Schloss, also spelled Das Schlo is a 1926 novel by Franz Kafka In it a protagonist known only as K arrives in a village and struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities who govern it from a castle Kafka died before finishing the work, but suggested it would end with K dying in the village, the castle notifying him on his death bed that his legal claim to live in the village was not valid, yet, taking certain auxiliary circumstances into account, he was permitted to live and work there Dark and at times surreal, The Castle is often understood to be about alienation, unresponsive bureaucracy, the frustration of trying to conduct business with non transparent, seemingly arbitrary controlling systems, and the futile pursuit of an unobtainable goal 1976 1340 301 20 1373 442 1376 1392 1388 427 1396 411 9786008755173. I m re reading The Castle 10 years later with older, patient eyes and it s proving to be a wonderful time, especially with the new translation The Eighth Chapter of The Castle is, perhaps, some of the most beautifully composed writing in all of modern literature The new translation adds a dreamy, sudden stillness and frightening sense of desolate open space in Kafka s work which is better known for his breathless, claustophobic style of writing and description This feeling was lost and never captured in the previous, original translations which used archaic even for kafka s time english words from Kafka s odd german Punctuation and syntax and grammer and phrasing that Kafka never used or put in were added in the old translations All of that has been stripped away and the purest form of Kafka s German in English is now available While still not the same as the actual German, it s very close and very true to his real style Kafka is, without argument, regarded as one of the greats of 20th century literature, and The Castle the third installment of Kafka s alluded brothers trilogy, with Amerika The Trial being the other two is the purest example of what makes him great Within this amazing book that was never finished and thus has no ending, is The Eighth Chapter , a small chapter so heart wrenchingly beautiful I had to read it twice before moving on to the next chapter.It is a hard book to begin as a starter into Kafka, and perhaps not even suggested as a starter regardless Following his own writing path would be highly valuable, reading through the new critical translations of Amerika and The Trial, as well as his short stories the hunger artist, the sons, the penal colony, the metamorphosis , will grant a greater appreciation when undertaking The Castle. It was the start of the year when NK picked up The Castle by Kafka, a book he had tried to read a lot of times but failed in the past but now he was full of a new resolution that he will finish it this time He had hardly read a few pages, however, when his wife called him We need to withdraw some money from the bank, she said There are a lot of bills to be paid, and some of them are long overdue Can t we do it online NK grumbled No, said his wife The grocer and the vegetable peddler do not carry card swiping machines NK set off to the bank, annoyed.At the bank, he tried to withdraw money, first from the ATM, and when that proved unsuccessful, from the bank personally but the teller told him I am afraid there is a technical issue, sir, you Aadhar number which is linked your account has some problem, so I am unable to complete the transaction Oh, said NK What is the problem I can t see that from here, sir, said the teller I think you will have to log in to the site with your ID and check yourself Can I do it from here NK asked No sir, our bank policy prevents us from allowing outsiders to use our computers I am sorry, sir The teller replied.NK returned home Got the money asked his wife No There is a problem with my Aadhar number and I need to correct it online NK said His wife replied Well, you can t do it from here There is a power shutdown until the evening I will do it on my laptop, NK said and went to his office room But the laptop would not power up he suddenly remembered that the battery was dead and had to be replaced He called his computer serviceman I guess you will have to bring it here, sir, said that gentleman Today all my assistants are on leave and there is no one to send Accordingly NK went outside to catch an auto rickshaw.He was standing on the roadside for quite some time without success, when a neighbour chanced by What are you waiting for he asked An auto, said NK Well, you won t get any today There s a lightning bandh declared by one of the political parties, the Congress, BJP or CPI M , I don t know which, to protest against a killing somewhere in the North Said the neighbour Well, in that case I better go home, NK said The neighbour concurred.By this time it had grown quite dark NK wondered where the day had gone As he went into his office room, he saw The Castle lying unread on his table I will definitely read it tomorrow, he said. Honestly, I quit.It was too, how do I say it Kafkaesque But am I greater than the writer himself No Kafka quit too and just as mid sentence as I only later in the text Evidently, he died of tedium Thank goodness I stopped before Kafka s work killed me too.I was not enriched by the petty squabbles of German Czech villagers and the gyrating evasions of bureaucrats worshiped in detail by said squabbling villagers I didn t like the protagonist I couldn t even admire K for not liking K.self.I think at the time and place of its writing, it was somehow valuable to use The Castle, pointing out in surrealism the satirible qualities of the bureaucracy and peasantry.The value The Castle has to offer here and now is not worth the attention required to read it Kafka is upside down in his book. Exhausted after his long walk, K thinks only to rest in the small village that has just reached However, requires an authorization from the castle to spend the night K tried a bluff by pretending to be a surveyor hired by the count, and, to everyone s surprise, the administration confirms K castle in office, and Deputy even aid twice for assist him in his task.In the morning, K is trying to solve this mystery, especially as it confirms him quickly no survey work is needed in the village But all his efforts to contact the administration are proving futile We refuse to receive it, the officials he awaits the release of their office rather stay cloistered His behavior shocked Besides the villagers, accustomed to respect for this prestigious organization and unable to understand as much obstinacy to disturb respectable figures for an insignificant request.But K persists, multiplies approaches However, it only manages to get angry with all the people who give him advice, and contacts he felt close to the castle admit in the end do not understand the exact functioning of the administration and even being unable to recognize for sure an important official And when by chance arises a small opening, he striker by his inappropriate behavior Meanwhile, the Castle sends him letters to congratulate him on his surveying work he can not do Our attitude towards K changes over the story Initially, supports him in his fight against the arrogant system, applaud his fighting, unlike the villagers totally submissive But then comprises much faster than him, that his efforts will remain ineffective, it is agitated for nothing His behavior becomes heavy, painful and exhausting This novel is unfinished, but I was not surprised to learn that Kafka also had to kill K exhaustion at the end of the story He would have been able to kill his reader the same way.The castle is a novel that requires a lot of concentration, but I guess no one has the idea of reading Kafka to relax on the beach anyway One can find several levels the contact with reality it is sufficient to find a criticism of administrations so heavy they lose, but you can also see the castle as a symbol of an unattainable ideal happiness or even paradise for some commentators who believe that religion is very present in the work of the writer.I advise to choose the right moment to open this book, because it forces us to wring our reflexes to suit its particular logic, but when one is in goodness, this is a real treat. An extraordinary combination of beauty and subtle, paranoid horror growing inured to disappointment Who else can make snow sinister scary perhaps, but surely not sinister It ends in the middle of a sentence, tantalisingly still, it ends with a mysterious old woman just about to say something Very apt for a tale of layers of secrecy and never ending frustration It can be interpreted as an allegory for Jewish alienation and or as a semi autobiographical rendition of his relationship with Milena and hers with her husband portrayed as the mysterious Klamm Or you can read your own meaning into it.See my Kafka related bookshelf for other works by and about Kafka. Now what could have attracted me to this desolate land other than the desire to stay In The Castle, Kafka s protagonist ludicrously struggles to gain entrance to and make sense of the Castle, an entity which is effectively unattainable and incomprehensible.Reading the book felt like coming home one day to discover that all of your belongings have been shifted 5 centimeters to the left, with the exception of one lone, grimy spoon Nearly everything was askew to some degree This book was so painfully well done that reading it often made me queasy My brain got itchy and squirmy and fussy It set my teeth on edge It was like wading through molasses of dubious origin and hue It was claustrophobic and smeary That said, it managed to make me laugh quite a bit too It seemed to fit the definition of grotesque rather well comically or repulsively ugly or distorted See also many of the synonyms for grotesque malformed, deformed, misshapen, misproportioned, twisted, and gnarled Bottom line In my opinion, The Castle was conceptually brilliant, but the actual reading of this intense novel was often than not a vividly dreadful experience, as was no doubt intended I was awfully fond of those assistants though What a crying shame Kafka never got to finish what probably would have been his finest achievement Certainly on an emotional level anyway Kafka had a greater poignancy and a deeper feeling for his characters in The Castle when compared to the other works of his I have read, so it was extremely frustrating for this book to end right in mid sentence Damn I knew it was going to happen, but how can one truly prepare one s self for a novel without an ending Parts of me felt like it would have been better not reading it at all, to spare the pain of getting to the final few words, and screaming to the heavens NO The three star rating reflects on the way it made me feel at the end or non end in this case rather than what went before, which was mostly great What was to become of K I can only guess how things would have gone, and haven t a clue just how much Kafka planned to write to get to his finale So if there are any of my fine and helpful GR brothers and sisters who are well knowledged when it comes to The Castle, and have any ideas, then I d love to know I m now off to drown my Kafka sorrows with a cocktail or two.