Amerika: The Missing Person: A New Translation, Based on the Restored Text (The Schocken Kafka Library)
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Kafka began writing what he had entitled Der Verschollene (The Missing Person) in 1912 and wrote the last completed chapter in 1914. But it wasn’t until 1927, three years after his death, that Max Brod, Kafka’s friend and literary executor, edited the unfinished manuscript and published it as Amerika. Kafka’s first and funniest novel, Amerika tells the story of the young Karl Rossmann who, after an incident involving a housemaid, is banished by his parents to America. Expected to redeem himself in this magical land of opportunity, young Karl is swept up instead in a whirlwind of dizzying reversals, strange escapades, and picaresque adventures.
to entertain, certain reservations about him before, after what the stoker had put him through, Schubal probably seemed free from any stain. One couldn’t be too hard on a man like the stoker, and if Schubal was guilty of anything, then it was the fact that he hadn’t been able to break the rebellious spirits of the stoker in time to prevent him from daring to appear before the captain today. It was perhaps still reasonable to expect that the confrontation between the stoker and Schubal would have
percussively through the arena, while the surrounding gallery was suddenly populated by various spectators, grooms, riding pupils, or whoever they were? Karl used the time before Mack’s arrival for some very basic riding exercises. There was a long tall man who could reach the highest horseback almost without raising his arm, and he always gave Karl that fifteen-minute preparation. Karl was not overly successful with him, a pretext for learning English lamentations, which he kept uttering in a
Cook. I haven’t woken you up, have I. I’m so sorry. Yes, yes, it’s a quarter to six already. Oh, I’m so sorry to give you a start. You ought to disconnect the telephone while you’re asleep. No, no, absolutely, it’s quite unpardonable, especially in view of the trifling matter I’m calling about. Yes, of course I have time, by all means, I’ll hold the line if that’s all right.’ ‘She must have run over to the telephone in her nightgown,’ said the Head Waiter with a smile to the Head Porter, who was
many things in it as ours doesn’t just look after itself.” Then Delamarche went and had a think about what to do, because of course you can’t just take anyone into a household like ours, not even for a trial period, because people are always gossiping about us. But because I’m a good friend of yours, and heard from Renell how they were making you sweat in the hotel, I thought of you. Delamarche agreed to it right away, even though you were so cheeky to him before, and of course I was very happy
more than tangles of dust and woman’s hair. Karl first hurried to the washstand that was right by the door, but its drawers contained nothing but old English novels, journals and sheet music, and all of them so crammed full that it was impossible to shut them again, once they’d been opened. ‘The perfume!’ groaned Brunelda in the meantime. ‘How long it’s taking! I wonder if I’ll get my perfume today!’ In view of her impatience, Karl of course couldn’t possibly look thoroughly anywhere, he had to