Kafkaesque

John Kessel, Editor, James Patrick Kelly, Editor
Edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly. Tachyon (IPG, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61696-049-0
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Kessel and Kelly (The Secret History of Science Fiction) celebrate the life and career of Franz Kafka in this eclectic, mind-blowing collection of 18 reprints, including Kessel’s brand-new translation of Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist.” Paul Di Filippo’s “The Jackdaw’s Last Case” stars Kafka himself in reimagined circumstances, while stories like Carol Emshwiller’s “Report to the Men’s Club” are inspired by specific works. A few, like Damon Knight’s “The Handler,” are included for their Kafkaesque sensibilities, and others, such as Jeffrey Ford’s “Bright Morning,” play with imaginary texts and warped reality. “A Hunger Artist” also appears in graphic format, as interpreted by R. Crumb. Nonfiction elements include a Kafka time line, brief forewords by the authors, and astute editorial commentary. Impressively thorough in covering all aspects of the theme, this specialized, highly literary anthology is best suited for academic contexts and Kafka completists. (Dec.)
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