Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10th: Kafka redux
A Month of Short Stories and Their Authors

After reading today's short story, I needed something really nice to try to fix my traumatized brain. I read another story, but it was just weird. I looked elsewhere for mental redemption. (And I found it!)

Today's Stories: "In the Penal Colony"/"In der Strafkolonie"
and "A Country Doctor"/"Ein Landarzt"

Author: Franz Kafka
My Rating: a horrified A- and a B+

I can't even talk about "In the Penal Colony." I just can't. Have you read it? If you've read it, then you understand how entirely !@#^&%#&*%(* bats**t f**ked up it is! If you haven't, then, well, um, let me just say it's not for everybody. It's good -- that is to say, well written. I mean, part of me wants to give it an A.  But I just -- yikes.

And so then, after that hurt my brain (and mind you I'm reading these stories two or three times, because the whole point of getting this dual language book was to practice my German, and so I read in English, and then German, and sometimes a little more English here and there to supplement the German...) for fifty pages or whatever of just awful awfulness, I move on to a short little story, "A Country Doctor," and we're back to "What just happened?"  I mean, it's basically a dream. And he does a really good job of evoking what a dream is like, especially the first two or so pages (and the whole story is only a few pages...)  But so then it's just weird.

One should not necessarily subject oneself to so much Kafka in any given week, let alone day. Good thing I had lovely evening plans: Indigo Girls performing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra! It was beautiful and glorious and stirring and lovely and deeply felt. It was also a total 180 from my daytime reading; apart from the fact that both involve creative people, the concert was about as far from Kafka as I could get. Thank goodness!

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