Michael Hofmann's startlingly visceral and immediate translation revives Kafka's great comedy, and captures a new Kafka, free from Prague and loose in the new world, a Kafka shot through with light in this highly charged and enormously nuanced translation. Kafka began the first of his three novels in 1911, but like the others, Amerika remained unfinished, and perhaps, as Klaus Mann suggested, "necessarily endless." Karl Rossman, the youthful hero of the novel, "a poor boy of seventeen," has been banished by his parents to America, following a scandal. There, with unquenchable optimism, he throws himself into adventure after misadventure, and experiences multiply as he makes his way into the heart of the country, to The Great Nature Theater of Oklahoma. In creating this new translation, Hofmann, as he explains in his introduction, returned to the manuscript version of the book, restoring matters of substance and detail. Fragments which have never before been presented in English are now reinstated including the book's original "ending." The San Francisco Chronicle said Hofmann's "sleek translation does a wonderful job" and The New York Times concurred: "Anything by Kafka is worth reading again, especially in the hands of such a gifted translator as Hofmann."
Of all the recent re-translations of Kafka into English, this volume is the most noteworthy. It achieves what translations are supposedly unable to do; it is at once loyal and beautiful beautifully disorienting, beautifully confusing, beautifully cruel. --John Zilcosky
Series: NEW DIRECTIONS PAPERBOOK
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 17th May 2004
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.3 x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.227