It is a dank humid Saturday, the air turgid, a feeling of rain to come, but then it doesn't come. Soon Fall will draw in and then the long Montreal winter.
I was reading Zadie Smith on Kafka the other day. She's a trenchant and funny critic, journalist, as well as a wonderful novelist. "On Beauty" is my favorite of her works. I tire of folks dissing Max Brod, though, for without this dear friend, whatever one thinks of him as a writer, we would not have Kafka, an author whose work is bottomless. One can go back and back again and still be moved, disturbed, changed afresh.
I love the stories, of course, and was profoundly affected by "Letter to My Father" when I first discovered and read it in high school.
Did you know that Kafka was over six feet tall? In photos, he looks almost elf-like, with those huge black liquid eyes dominating his face, almost bodiless really.
I learned that despite his genius, he felt competitive with some of his contemporaries in the small, incestuous community that was the literary world of Prague at that time, and though he was an obsessive letter writer, he protected the space around his writing, which seemed to thrive with the constraints and structure imposed by his boring job. Though some may differ on this point.
I am looking forward to the Fall, to the crisp air and emblazoned leaves and then to the boundless white, at least for the first month or so.
Tell me what you are reading that is wonderful. I am looking for a great book.
Bon weekend, Ami