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Download The Castle Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Castle, by Franz Kafka Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (10,481 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Franz Kafka Narrator: George Guidal Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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On his deathbed, Franz Kafka asked that all his unpublished manuscripts be burned. Fortunately, his request was ignored, allowing such works as The Trial to earn recognition among the literary masterpieces of the twentieth century. This brilliant new translation of The Castle captures comedic elements and visual imagery that earlier interpretations missed.

A traveler known only as K. is promised a job as land-surveyor by officials of the Castle. But when K. arrives in town to claim his position, he learns that owing to a clerical error, his services aren’t needed after all. Seeking an explanation, K. endures increasingly frustrating setbacks as he strives in vain to simply make contact with someone—anyone—from the Castle.

Saturated with absurdist humor, this haunting novel has fascinated and puzzled readers throughout the world. Some critics praise it as the century’s great religious parable, while others interpret it as indisputably antireligious.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Shows a more comic Kafka…Harman has also made it more faithful to Kafka’s dreamlike style.”

    New York Times

  • “Will decisively alter our understanding of Kafka and render previous editions obsolete.”

    Times Literary Supplement

  • “Had one to name the author who comes nearest to bearing the same kind of relation to our age as Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe bore to theirs, Kafka is the first one would think of.” W.H. Auden
  • “This edition of Kafka’s terrifying and comic masterpiece is the product of an international team of experts who went back to Kafka's original manuscript and notes to create a text that is as close as possible to the way the author left it. The translation closely follows the fluidity and breathlessness of the sparsely punctuated original manuscript, revealing levels of comedy, energy, and visual power that have not been previously accessible to English-language readers.”

    Book News

  • An AudioFile Earphones Award winner

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ofelia Hunt | 2/18/2014

    " This book is funny. I like how the people move. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Stephen | 2/16/2014

    " Kafka's last novel, "The Castle," was left unfinished. Moreover, scholars continue up to the present day to establish the text of this highly problematic work. Many years ago I read the Muir translation, which was based upon Max Brod's reworking of Kafka's German text. This newer translation of Mark Harmon makes use of the textual work done under the direction of Malcolm Pasley in the 70s and 80s and apparently "restores" much that was not included in the earlier version. Perhaps this newer Harman version accounts for my somewhat different reaction to "The Castle" at second reading, although I confess to being too lazy to scout out the Muir translation and do a careful comparison. At any rate, the Harmon version in some ways seems rougher, and that may well be because he adheres as closely as possible to Kafka's language and punctuation. The message remains intact and all too familiar to anyone who has worked in or against bureaucracies. "The Castle" takes features we all know are a part of bureaucracy and carries them to a nightmarish extreme. No one quite knows how the distant centers of power work and how their demands or requests find their way through the mysterious networks to the people they ultimately affect, but everyone agrees the bureaucracy, however inscrutable, is handling its myriad files with great care, even infallibility. K., the sad protagonist of the novel, has been invited by "The Castle" to act as a land surveyor, but he has no way to penetrate the bureaucracy, indeed cannot ever get beyond obscure secretaries and messengers, and may indeed have been given his appointment by mistake--or not, since the numerous bureaucratic "controls" make mistakes "impossible." This is a novel, at least on the surface, of immense human frustration--the insignificant man pitted against huge, distant forces he will never understand. But all this is fairly obvious. Where my second reading of this novel differed from my earlier reading, which may have something to do with the newer translation, is that this time I felt the protagonist was actually less frustrated, at least by the end of the novel, than I had remembered. While K. is trying to find his way into the castle, he has a series of relationships which begin to create for him a new life in the village. Slowly, at least so it seems to me, his obsession is blunted somewhat as he turns to more immediate relationships, mostly with women. By the end, he is even caught up in the originally antagonistic landlady's interests in clothing, of all things. In other words, life actually goes on, and relationships develop, while we are waiting for the higher powers to deal with our files. In some ways, the very slow, tangled procedures of bureaucracy make it less and less relevant to our mundane existence. Ultimately we push the mysterious bureaucrats into the back of our minds and find some little niche where we can live on, if not happily at least less miserably. This is not a message usually associated with Kafka, but it somehow was what struck me in this recent rereading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Annie | 2/12/2014

    " I had to force myself to finish this. I gave it one star, not because I think it was badly written, but because I just did not enjoy reading it. Seeing how much other people have enjoyed I feel slightly stupid, but at least I can say I finished it. Everyone has different tastes and some may dislike the books I love. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Veronica | 2/10/2014

    " Though it was a complex book to get through, many of the situations K. incountered with the offices and officials of the Castle are similar to the problems we currently face oursleves. "

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