This brilliant translation of the great writer’s least
Kafkaesque novel is based on a German-language text that was produced by a team
of international scholars and that is more faithful to Kafka’s original
manuscript than anything we have had before.
With the same expert balance of precision and nuance that marked
his translation of Kafka’s The Castle, award-winning translator
Mark Harman now restores the humor and particularity of language to Amerika.
Here is the story of seventeen-year-old Karl Rossman, who,
following a scandal involving a housemaid, is banished by his parents to
America. With unquenchable optimism and in the company of two comic-sinister
companions, Karl throws himself into misadventure after misadventure,
eventually landing in Oklahoma, where a career in the theater beckons.
Like much of Kafka’s work, Amerika remained
unfinished at the time of his death. Though we can never know how Kafka planned
to end the novel, Mark Harman’s superb translation allows us to appreciate, as
closely as possible, what Kafka did commit to the page.
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