The Castle

  • by Franz Kafka
  • Narrated by George Guidall
  • 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On his deathbed, Franz Kafka asked that all his unpublished manuscripts be burned. Fortunately, his request was ignored, allowing such works as The Trial to earn recognition among the literary masterpieces of the 20th century. This brilliant new translation of The Castle captures comedic elements and visual imagery that earlier interpretations missed. A traveler known only as K. is promised a job as land-surveyor by officials of the Castle. But when K. arrives in town to claim his position, he learns that owing to a clerical error, his services aren't needed after all. Seeking an explanation, K. endures increasingly frustrating setbacks as he strives in vain to simply make contact with someone, anyone, from the Castle. Saturated with absurdist humor, this haunting novel has fascinated and puzzled readers throughout the world. Some critics praise it as the century's great religious parable, while others interpret it as indisputably antireligious. Critically acclaimed narrator George Guidall sheds light on this dreamlike tale, illuminating the limitless nuances of Kafka's writing.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Obscure, enigmatic, and not for everyone

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).
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- John

It was interesting

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.
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-17-2004
  • Publisher: Recorded Books