Franz Kafka and the Nightmare of Bureaucracy

Kafka took some early stabs at writing a novel, but none of them really worked out. In 1903, he started The Child and the City. He abandoned it, and the manuscripts have since disappeared. He tried to collaborate with Max Brod on a work called Richard and Samuel, but that didn’t work out either. The fragment “Wedding Preparations in the Country” was supposed to be much longer than it was, but he gave up on it. Therefore, when talking about Kafka’s novels, we always have to start with Amerika. Although like his other attempts it remains unfinished, enough of it exists for us to recognize it as a novel, and so it is here we begin.