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.