THE COMPLETE STORIES by Franz Kafka

THE COMPLETE STORIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

To mark the centennial of Kafka's birth, Schocken is issuing a new edition of the complete stories, with the same contents (all of Kafka's narrative work other than the three novels) as the still-in-print 1976 volume. New here, however, is an introduction by John Updike--an odd yet interesting choice. Updike offers no particularly fresh perspectives in his twelve-page essay (to appear also in The New Yorker), none of the empathic grappling of much great Kafka criticism. But his summation of Kafka's unique combination of gifts is certainly sound: with ""immense tenderness, oddly good humor, and a certain severe and reassuring formality,"" Kafka captured that modern essence--""a sensation of anxiety and shame whose center cannot be located and therefore cannot be placated. . . ."" And, in appreciating the Kafka tales involving animals, Updike comes up with an especially ingratiating (if perhaps misleadingly cozy) image: ""An uncanny empathy broods above these zoÖmorphs, and invests them with more of their creator's soul than all but a few human characters receive. So a child, cowed and bored by the world of human adults, makes companions of pets and toy animals.

Pub Date: July 3rd, 1983
ISBN: 0805210555
Publisher: Schocken