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Franz Kafka

In his nightmarish imagery, flair for the bizarre, and preoccupation with the neuroses of Modern life, Franz Kafka is the Edgar Allen Poe for the corporate set. A venomous critic of the inanities of bureaucracy, Kafka delighted in recounting the strange. Most everyone is familiar with "The Metamorphosis," in which poor Gregor Samsa wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant cockroach. Equally compelling are Kafka's other short stories. "The Trial" relates the untimely fate of Mr. Joseph K., who is tried and committed for an unknown crime. "The Castle" features a fellow who spends his entire life trying to enter a protected castle. Unfortunately, two guards have been posted solely to keep him out. "The Hunger Artist" tells of a man who has elevated starvation to performance art, while "The Judgement" details the very short descent into madness of a young executive who discovers the truth about his aged father.

Kafka's critiques of twentieth century life are cutting and creepy. His stories scuttle about the threshold between the terrifying and the absurd, gorging on scraps of dream and nightmare left in the refuse pile of our times.

The Steven Soderbergh film Kafka, with Jeremy Irons and Alec Guinness, is a so-so attempt to fuse the author with his works. It's a $1.00 rental.

Mr. Kafka is expecting you.

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