14 Kafka-esque Books in Honor of Kafka’s Birthday

Franz Kafka would have turned 133 this month, and writers are still influenced by his bizarre genius.

If Franz Kafka were alive today, he’d be a little like his own bizarre characters… since he’d be 133, and that age isn’t really attainable. Born on July 3, 1883, in Prague, Kafka went on to become one of the most well-known and studied writers today, though without his knowledge, as after a rather lackluster career in insurance and asbestos (yes, asbestos), he died when he was only 40 years old.

According to Merriam-Webster, the meaning of the word Kafkaesque (which is tossed around English departments a lot) is: “of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings; especially : having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality.” He had little success during his lifetime, though he did publish two short story collections and some stories individually to magazines, but he was said to have been a tortured soul, which is clear in his own writing.

July marks Kafka’s birthday, so we’re honoring him with a shelf dedicated to books that deserve the moniker Kafka-esque. He probably wouldn’t have appreciated it, but we appreciate him, so tough.


Featured image:
Elsa Korkiainen/Shutterstock.com

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About Ilana Masad

Ilana Masad

ILANA MASAD is an Israeli-American writer living in New York. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Printer’s Row, The Toast, The Butter, The Rumpus, Hypertext Magazine, and more. She is the founder of TheOtherStories.org, a podcast for new, emerging, and struggling writers. She is (way too) active on Twitter @ilanaslightly.

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