I learned a valuable lesson lately: you don’t have to like (or even read) the classics just because everybody else does. How did I learn this? During three mind-numbing weeks of forcing myself through The Castle by Franz Kafka.
How do I even explain The Castle? Well, for one, it is an unfinished book, which means that you don’t even get the satisfaction of a conclusion. It tells the story of K. who spends the entire book battling with authority to gain access to the Castle.
I can see how this book would be interesting to some, and believe that the description of the co-existing lives of the bureaucracy and the peasantry was quite fitting for the time it was written (1922). However, none of this was interesting to me. And the writing flow, with few paragraphs and full stops, certainly didn’t help things.
The back cover of my copy of the book stated that “Every time you read The Castle, you will find something new in it.” For sure, I won’t be reading it again, but, admittedly, I did draw something from it. At least during the first half of this book, I thought The Castle to be a story of loneliness, or trying to fit in and a new place but always carrying the label of an outcast. I guess this was a reflection of what I was feeling at the time but was a reflection that made me feel like I actually got something from the book.
Overall, this book was an absolute torment for me. But, being the book nerd that I am, I just had to finish it. I could never bring myself to recommend it to anyone, but I would like to hear the thoughts of anyone else who read it. Please make these last three weeks feel some bit worthwhile for me!