By Franz Kafka
Translated by Mark Harman
The Castle is a philosophical novel by Franz Kafka. In it a protagonist, known only as K., strives to gain access to the mysterious authorities of a castle that governs the village where K. has arrived to work as a land surveyor. Dark and at times surreal, The Castle is about alienation, bureaucracy, and the seemingly endless frustrations of man's attempts to stand against the system. Kafka began writing The Castle on the evening of January 22, 1922, the day he arrived at the mountain resort of Spindlermuhle (now in the Czech Republic). A picture taken of him upon his arrival shows him by a horse-drawn sleigh in the snow in a setting reminiscent of The Castle. Hence, the significance that the first few chapters of the handwritten manuscript were written in first person and at some point later changed by Kafka to a third person narrator, 'K.' Kafka died prior to finishing The Castle and it is questionable whether Kafka intended on finishing it had he survived his tuberculosis. On separate occasions he told his friend Max Brod of two different conditions: K., the book's protagonist, would continue to reside and die 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" , but then on September 11, 1922 in a letter to Max Brod, he said he was giving up on the book and would never return to it. As it is, the book ends mid-sentence.
Schocken Books/Random House, 1998
5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches