The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories — Book Review


Book: The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories

Author: Franz Kafka, Alexander Starrit (Translator)

Publisher: Pushkin Press

Pages: 192


Kafka, whose name has generated an adjective, is one of the best loved writers of the twentieth century. Known for his dark, enigmatic stories, for the absurd nightmares he depicts, his extraordinary imaginative depth is clear in stories from ‘A Hunger Artist’ to ‘The Verdict’.
But Kafka also wrote fizzingly funny, fresh stories, and The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man contains all the aspects of this genius: the wit and the grit; the horror and the humour; the longing and the laughing. They range from bizarre, two-sentence stories about Don Quixote to the famous brutal depiction of violence and justice that is ‘In the Penal Colony’.
In a nimble new translation by the acclaimed Alexander Starritt, this collection of Kafka’s essential stories shows the genius at his very best.



My first Kafka experience.

And it was an exotic one. Dumbstriking and amazing.

All the stories are short, crisp, and distinct from one another. The common factor is that each of them blurs the lines between real and surreal, believable and unbelievable. After a long time, I’ve read magical realism, and it was a magical, though short, ride.

The story “The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man”, somehow resonated with me, though I am not a man. That loneliness, the emptiness of the protagonist seemed similar to what I often feel. Felt like I found a companion.

Rating: 4/5

** P.S. I had received this e-ARC through NetGalley. Sincere thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.

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