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America
London: Rutledge, 1938. First Edition. Hardcover. Fine/fine. 1st edition in English (the 1st U. S. edition was 1940). Publisher's reply card laid in (maybe some kind of review copy, but probably not). Fine in a dustjacket with faint fox spots to the spine otherwise the jacket is also fine. Kafka was a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and he died at 41, so like everyone who dies young, he is remembered as vital, intense and filled with potential, a figure made of promise, legends, myths, and memories, not facts. This is the earliest written, but the last published, of the 3 tragicomic novels (with The Castle and The Trial) in his trilogy of loneliness. He began it in 1912 and originally called it The Man Who Disappeared, or by the title of its first chapter, The Stoker, but he regularly referred to it as his American novel, so when it was posthumously published, his executor (Max Brod) titled it America. It is more explicitly humorous and slightly more realistic than most of his works, although there is symbolism galore including (for 1 example) The Statue of Liberty holding a sword and not a torch (imagine what Kafka might have symbolized out of our witness protection program). America shares the thesis of an oppressive and intangible system putting the protagonist (naïve, fragile and optimistic) continually into bizarre labyrinthine situations in which he must plead his innocence to remote and mysterious figures of authority (if you are charged, you must be guilty of something), and it uses many details of the life experienced by Kafka's relatives who had immigrated to America. The book is always called an unfinished novel, but it's 298 pages long, so "essentially finished" would be closer to the truth. and I can finish it for you right now, because it's the only novel for which he ever considered an optimistic ending, It already includes the first part of the last chapter (The Nature Theater of Oklahoma) and Kafka repeatedly told friends that he only had to write the reconciliation, with his young hero "finding a profession, his freedom, and his old home and family, all as if by some celestial witchery.".
      [Bookseller: Biblioctopus]
Last Found On: 2017-12-01           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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