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I'm a Kafka fan, and I read The Castle before hearing the audiobook. This is definitely not for everyone -- long, rambling, seemingly without direction. Many of the passages feel more like a philosophy treatise than a story. It is an unfinished novel, literally ending in the middle of a scene, which leaves one very unsatisfied.
The narration is excellent, although a Kafka novel isn't something you can breeze through -- there are times when you need to stop and let a particular sentence sink in. In many ways I preferred to read the actual book, and take my time with it. This is a book that makes you work -- there are more questions than answers, and no real solutions. Like trudging through snow, it can be both wearying and exhilarating (not to mention deep.)
Before he died, Kafka told his friends how he intended The Castle to end, and that information would have been very helpful to include here. I also recommend The Trial as a much more accessible Kafka novel, which deals with many of the same themes (the individual struggle against a frustrating and obscure bureaucracy).
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Listening to the book really brought back memories of 2 years that I lived in Germany. Essentially the book is about people who are quite intelligent when it comes to rationalizing, reasoning, and engineering, but the same people lack willpower, ummph or maybe just fortitude to go outside of the narrow parameters of the rulebooks and beaurocracies that keep them imprisoned. And the culture disdains anyone who undermines the rules and abhores anyone who does not properly respect the strict rules of the culture. The people have no capability to think outside of the box and adapt. Kafka's message was clear, I believe he wrote the book in the 1920's before the German's freely elected Adolf Hitler. If you want a glimpse into the muddled affairs of the still prevalent German political structure, listen to this book.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
If you're like me, then you'll be tortured with all the pointless, random, incoherent, and sometimes enjoyable, bits of unfinished madness which makes up this work... It was a weird experience... Something to be endured!
1 of 4 people found this review helpful