The Castle: A Graphic Novel

Franz Kafka, Author, Jaromir99, Illustrator, David Zane Mairowitz, Adapted by
Franz Kafka, David Zane Mairowitz, and Jaromír 99. Abrams/Self Made Hero, $22.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-906838-67-6
Reviewed on: 11/04/2013
Release date: 11/05/2013
Kafka never finished The Castle, his final novel. What he did complete is a vision of a relentlessly dystopian realm where people waste lives in service of a faceless, inhuman bureaucracy whose purpose is obscure, if indeed a purpose exists at all. Summoned to an isolated village, the land surveyor K. finds himself shunned by villagers and unable to contact his erstwhile employer, who is concealed within a forbidding castle. Seeking shelter in a hostile community, K. struggles to find some means to contact his employer, stymied at all turns by a society determined to remain subservient to an obstructive system of rules; progress appears to be foredoomed and escape is impossible. Mairowitz, who has previously adapted Kafka for the stage, does a masterful job of translating the work from its original language and formatting it into a comic book. Artist Jaromír 99’s dark and dreamlike art, detailed in some places, abstract in others, reflects the hallucinatory world of shadows and illusions K. wanders through. Too many graphic novel adaptations of classic literature just break down the stories into digestible panels; this is a powerful interpretation of Kafka’s timeless themes. (Nov.)
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