The three of them knew it. She was Kafka's mistress. Kafka had dreamt her. The three of them knew it. He was Kafka's friend. Kafka had dreamt him. The three of them knew it. The woman said to the friend, Tonight I want you to have me. The three of them knew it. The man replied: If we sin, Kafka will stop dreaming us. One of them knew it. There was no longer anyone on earth. Kafka said to himself Now the two of them have gone, I'm left alone. I'll stop dreaming myself.
Jorge Luis Borges
Kafka is one of my very favorite writers. Kafka's fictional world is already so complete that trying to follow in his steps is not just pointless, but quite risky, too. What I see myself doing, rather, is writing novels where, in my own way, I dismantle the fictional world of Kafka that itself dismantled the existing novelistic system.
When I went to Czechoslovakia under the old Communist regime one day in the '80s, I thought to myself whatever I do, whatever happens to me in Prague I'm not going to use the name Kafka, I'm just not going to do it. I won't do it; it's so easy, everyone else does, I'm not going to. I'll write the first non-Kafka mentioning piece.
This brings me back to the image of Kafka standing before a fish in the Berlin aquarium, a fish on which his gaze fell in a newly found peace after he decided not to eat animals. Kafka recognized that fish as a member of his invisible family- not as his equal, of course, but as another being that was his concern.
Jonathan Safran Foer
When I wrote 'Your Republic Is Calling You,' it was Franz Kafka's writing that I had most in mind, and James Joyce's 'Ulysses.' Entirely out of the blue, Kafka's characters receive an order to go somewhere, and when they try to comply, they never quite manage it. Ki-yong in 'Your Republic Is Calling You' is precisely that sort of character.
Ultimately - or at the limit - in order to see a photograph well, it is best to look away or close your eyes. 'The necessary condition for an image is sight, 'Janouch told Kafka; and Kafka smiled and replied: 'We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.
Franz Kafka is dead. He died in a tree from which he wouldn't come down. "Come down!" they cried to him. "Come down! Come down!" Silence filled the night, and the night filled the silence, while they waited for Kafka to speak. "I can't," he finally said, with a note of wistfulness. "Why?" they cried. Stars spilled across the black sky. "Because then you'll stop asking for me."
My conception of a novel is that it ought to be a personal struggle, a direct and total engagement with the author's story of his or her own life. This conception, again, I take from Kafka, who, although he was never transformed into an insect, and although he never had a piece of food (an apple from his family's table!) lodged in his flesh and rotting there, devoted his whole life as a writer to describing his personal struggle with his family, with women, with moral law, with his Jewish heritage, with his Unconscious, with his sense of guilt, and with the modern world. Kafka's work, which grows out of the nighttime dreamworld in Kafka's brain, is more autobiographical than any realistic retelling of his daytime experiences at the office or with his family or with a prostitute could have been. What is fiction, after all, if not a kind of purposeful dreaming? The writer works to create a dream that is vivid and has meaning, so that the reader can then vividly dream it and experience meaning. And work like Kafka's, which seems to proceed directly from dream, is therefore an exceptionally pure form of autobiography. There's an important paradox here that I would like to stress: the greater the autobiographical content of a fiction writer's work, the smaller its superficial resemblance to the writer's actual life. The deeper the writer digs for meaning, the more the random particulars of the writer's life become impediments to deliberate dreaming.
You sit at the edge of the world, I am in a crater that's no more. Words without letters Standing in the shadow of the door. The moon shines down on a sleeping lizard, Little fish rain from the sky. Outside the window there are soldiers, steeling themselves to die. (Refrain) Kafka sits in a chair by the shore, Thinking for the pendulum that moves the world, it seems. When your heart is closed, The shadow of the unmoving Sphinx, Becomes a knife that pierces your dreams. The drowning girl's fingers Search for the entrance stone, and more. Lifting the hem of her azure dress, She gazes - at Kafka on the shore
About some books we feel that our reluctance to return to them is the true measure of our admiration. It is hard to suppose that many people go back, from a spontaneous desire, to reread 1984: there is neither reason nor need to, no one forgets it. The usual distinctions between forgotten details and a vivid general impression mean nothing here, for the book is written out of one passionate breath, each word is bent to a severe discipline of meaning, everything is stripped to the bareness of terror. Kafka's The Trial is also a book of terror, but it is a paradigm and to some extent a puzzle, so that one may lose oneself in the rhythm of the paradigm and play with the parts of the puzzle. Kafka's novel persuades us that life is inescapably hazardous and problematic, but the very 'universality' of this idea helps soften its impact: to apprehend the terrible on the plane of metaphysics is to lend it an almost soothing aura.
I was just interested in directing. So I just kept having a go at trying to write little scripts and get things together, and my wife just had a slip of the tongue and said, "Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life" when she meant to say "Frank Capra's." There it is right there. That's a gag that we could make into something.
I do hang out with girls, I do relax. But I am a hermit sometimes and get a bit too introverted, too 'Jean-Paul Sartre' and intellectual in my head. And it's like a Kafka novel in there, things get nuts. Then I have to remind myself to get out and I will go and play ice hockey with my friends.