Monday, August 18, 2014

Kafka Was A Hack

Franz Kafka would have to be one of the most overrated writers of the past two centuries

Another glorified mediocrity promoted over writers so much better than he was that he scarcely rated in comparison.

Some of his stories had interesting premises but ultimately they go nowhere. They do not even conjure up strong sympathies for the protagonist or even a desire to find out what the conclusion holds for them.

Hemingway and Dostoyevsky often wrote along similarly morbid lines and invariably they have a point in doing so which resonates with insight. Kafka was just pointless and depressing drivel. His short stories were like minor episodes of the "The Twilight Zone" with five minutes missing from the end.

I remember reading to the end of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and thinking it was an ordeal. Published originally in serial form, you'd expect the author would have a hard time keep the plot on track for a proper climax. When I got to the last scene I decided every single page had been worth it. You could see the rich tapestry of Dostoyevsky's ideas had held the book together from the first sentence to the final word. There was a writer for you.


Russell said...


If your idealogical framework is crap, your work will be bound by it. It would take a genius to rise above it, and Kafka wasn't a genius. His one short story with a damn is "The Metamorphosis" and only for the first 2/3rds. The ending betrays just how piss poor of writer he was and how limited his views on life were, since at best it was warmed over Marxism.

The idiots that sing his praises are mental patients in the same hospital, short of sight, limited in love, and divorced from the source of Truth and Light.

"Crime and Punishment" is the polar opposite in every way possible. Sadly, that's the only book I've read from Dostoyevsky. It was a work of labor, it dragged my through the depths of horror and despair up to the sweet realm of light and forgivness in ways I rarely have experienced in other books. Again, the opposite of Kafka. His horror was shallow, his despair weak, and he lacked anything above that.

Chris James said...

I have no bones with Kafka,but you can always tell if someone is a contrarian hipster if they praise Kafka to the sky while slagging off Hemingway.

kkrev said...

It's often said that Kafka doesn't translate well out of German, that much of the appeal of his work is in masterful turns of phrase in German.

styrac1 said...

Well worth checking Mark Hackard's blog: