Top 10 Books by Franz Kafka

 

Born in the middle of the 20th century, Franz Kafka proved to be one of the most influential writers of his generation. He had developed several books, some of which were published after his death and these books continue to have an impact on society and western civilization as we know it. Here’re some of his top works listed below for your review

The Trial

A pure psychological thriller that offers you a dark glimpse of life as unexpected events force you to spiral out of control slowly but surely. As Kafka takes you into the dark abyss of the human mind with all its twists and turns. This book is deemed to be one of Franz Kafka best books and with good reason. The story revolves around Joseph K as he wakes up one morning to find that he is accused of a crime he did not commit and what follows next is nothing but Kafka at his best

Read it For:
a psychological trip into the subconsciousness
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into psychological thrillers you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Kafka’s many-layered meanings which are relevant even today

The Metamorphosis

This book, as the title suggests is about sudden change and how one comes to terms with the same. The novel revolves around the main protagonist waking up one fine day to discover that he is a large insect. What follows after is the aftermath of the sudden transformation and the impact on all those nearby. This story is always considered to be one of Kafka’s best for the simple reason it underscores the fact that our hidden inner desires continue to shape our lives. This book is Kafka at its best with his nuanced take on metamorphosis; this is why it is one of the top 10 Franz Kafka books

Read it For:
riveting prose with strong characters
Don't Read it For:
If you are not interested in Kafka you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Kafka’s story with his many-layered meaning makes this a riveting read

In the penal colony

Set on an unnamed island, this story unfolds in a penal colony as the narrator views the form of punishment and execution that is meted out to its residents. This book though published in 1919 certainly managed to have wide ramifications which eventually led to the final solution and the death camps. One of the methods as described by Kafka was the final degradation prior to execution wherein the prisoner’s sentence was literally carved into their skin. The book, though a tad macabre is nevertheless riveting from start to finish and it also happens to be one of Franz Kafka best books to date

Read it For:
a closer look at life in Penal colonies and the moral justification for execution
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Kafka you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Kafka’s unique style and prose makes this book stand out for all the right reasons

The castle

Often reviled as an anti-establishment book, it was nevertheless published posthumously and manages to showcase Kafka at his creative best. The book revolves around a man trying to get into a castle and being unable to get around the authorities trying to prevent him from doing so. The book, even though the premise is at best simple, still manages to carry readers based merely on Kafka’s prose and his interminable style. It certainly stands out as one of the Franz Kafka bestsellers

Read it For:
a nuanced take on establishment, authority, and alienation
Don't Read it For:
if you are not keen on Franz Kafka you may want to give this book a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Kafka’s unique perspective makes this book stand out for all the right reasons
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A hunger artist

Never has a book been extolled more as a must read for all literary students than Franz Kafka; with literary allusions and stories that go right into the core of several issues from asceticism to poverty Franz Kafka has managed to challenge so many while having a meaningful impact. This book is a definite must-read for all Kafka lovers; it certainly stands out as one of the top 10 Franz Kafka books.

Read it For:
Franz Kafka’s interminable style, prose, and content
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Franz Kafka you may want to give this book a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
his vivid descriptions and the various literary allusions makes this book stand out for all the right reasons.

Letter to his father

It is no secret that Franz Kafka had a troubled relationship with his father whom he had always viewed as an authoritarian figure; this book is more of a private correspondence between him and his father where he explores their troubled relationship. What becomes clear is the fact that Kafka’s father had a strong impact on Kafka and his resultant works.

Read it For:
this book is one of the select few that allows you to take a closer look at Kafka the man
Don't Read it For:
if you do not like reading Kafka’s works, then you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
it allows you to better understand Kafka and his unique perspective which is why it stands out as one of Franz Kafka’s best books

The complete stories

This book is a collection of all of Franz Kafka’s short stories and was published just after his death. The book is more of a compendium of some of Franz Kafka’s best works to date from the Penal colony to the rest. This book is a must-read for all literary students, if not for anything else but to explore some of the dystopian concepts that feature in most of his books. This is why this book is ranked right at the top as one of Franz Kafka best books

Read it For:
Franz Kafka’s interminable style
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Franz Kafka you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Franz Kafka’s unique perspective and nuanced take on life

Amerika

Quaint, picaresque, risqué – words that you never thought you could associate with one of Kafka’s works are but the only way to describe this standalone novel. The story revolves around a young protagonist who gets packed off to America after a sexual misadventure. What follows next in this utopian world becomes the crux of the story. This book stands out for several reasons; for starters, it is funny as well as poignant and certainly why it stands out as one of the top 10 Franz Kafka books

Read it For:
a funny, poignant story from Kafka
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Kafka, then you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
In one word, Franz Kafka

Letters to Milena

Franz Kafka had a close relationship with his editor with whom he even started a romantic affair; this book is but a publication of diary entries as well as personal correspondence that shows how the relationship between the two transformed from a business one to a more personal one. Milena was one of the select few with whom Kafka shared his innermost thoughts which is why this book is a must-read for all Kafka lovers out there. It certainly stands out as one of Kafka’s best books

Read it For:
to see Kafka as never seen before
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Kafka, you would want to sit this one out
What makes this book stand out?:
to see Kafka as never seen before

A country doctor

This collection of short stories by Franz Kafka has one underlying theme- of isolation and identity. These stories have all been crafted by Kafka in the last few years of his life and showcase his creativity like never seen before. His creative spark certainly makes these stories riveting to read which is why they stand out as one of Franz Kafka bestsellers.

Read it For:
Some of the finest examples of Kafka’s works
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Kafka you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Kafka’s beautifully crafted stories with their nuanced storylines.

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