Dense: Kafkaesque

By Jo Phillips


The famous Czech writer Kafka was known for his dark, dense material.  Since him, authors have been inspired to produce twisted stories like Kafka.  Some fiction, but some even true.


The Trial by Franz Kafka
Kafka’s masterpiece and best-known work, The Trial tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime not revealed to him or to the reader. This brilliant cautionary tale can also be read as a clever indictment of the stupidity and corruption of the legal system and government bureaucracy.


11 Oak Street by Graham Cook

In ’11 Oak Street’, written by a man who experienced the twisted Kafkaesque situation, Graham Cook tells the story of how a wrong address led to the overseas abduction of his son.  The son was abducted from the United Kingdom to San Francisco and it took 13 years of fighting to sort things out.  The story is one of horrifying greed, corruption, and wasted years as Graham tries to find justice for the nightmare.

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Anxious Pleasures: A Novel after Kafka by Lance Olson

“Anxious Pleasures takes Franz Kafka’s profoundly haunting and sad comic novella, The Metamorphosis, and reanimates it through the vantage points of those who surrounded Gregor Samsa during his plight.”  

The characters and storyline of the Lance Olson story are very similar to those of Franz Kafka’s classic.  The eerie dreams and lives of the characters truly do prove that this is ‘A Novel after Kafka’.


Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov

This surprising, exciting, and magical novel takes us into the prison-world of Cincinnatus.  The main character, a man condemned to death, is spending his last days in prison and just waiting for his life to end.  Nabokov described the book as ‘a violin in a void. The worldling will deem it a trick. Old men will hurriedly turn from it to regional romances and the lives of public figures … The evil-minded will perceive in little Emmie a sister of little Lolita … But I know a few readers who will jump up, ruffling their hair’.


For more Kafkaesque books…

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