Teen reviewer Lucy takes a look at a graphic novel biography from our adult section:
Kafka by Robert Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz
“The image of a wide pork butcher’s knife, swiftly and with mechanical regularity chopping into me, shaving off razor-thin slices with fly about due to the speed of the work.”
The book begins with this gruesome quote from Franz Kafka’s diary, setting the tone for an unnerving, and often disturbing, biography of the Czech author.
Accompanied by illustrations that add emotion to the book, this is truly a must-read for anyone interested in Kafka’s life. Besides outlining his life and providing insight into what drove his writing, the book also illustrated and narrated some of his novels and novellas, including The Castle, The Trial, and the Metamorphosis, his most well-known works. Through this book you learn about how early anti-semitism in the Czech Republic and Kafka’s own Jewish heritage shaped his writing. In fact, Kafka was fascinated by Jewish fairy tales and used a similar style of storytelling in his works.
After Kafka’s death due to tuberculosis, his books fell into disregard and were even banned following World War II under the communist regime imposed by the Soviet Union. Luckily, after the ban was lifted his works became popular and he was acknowledged as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.
This book is a fascinating read that I would definitely recommend.