Where to start with...

Where to start reading Franz Kafka’s books

From Metamorphosis to darkly humorous short stories and impassioned love letters, get to know Franz Kafka with our essential guide to his works.

Where to start with Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka, the Prague-born writer who died one hundred years ago next month, is more talked about than read – but his work is so powerful that he even gave the world a new word. We describe things we don’t like as “Kafkaesque” so readily that, as Martin Amis put it, the word is used “nowadays to describe a train delay or a long queue in the post office.”

The reputation is both deserved and inadequate: what Kafka’s works really contained were not just unfeeling authorities or desperate loners, but a whole new way of seeing the world, full of black comedy and twisted relationships. Reading his books now, they feel so fresh it’s hard to believe that they were written more than a century ago. Here are the best places to start with Kafka’s work.

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