However his major works are permeated by depictions of meaninglessness, absurdity, and the emptiness of authority.
“We are nihilistic thought, suicidal thought that come into God’s head,” Kafka said. This reminded me at first of the Gnostic view of life: God as the evil demiurge, the world as his Fall. “Oh no,” said Kafka, “our world is only a bad mood of God, a bad day of his.” “Then there is hope outside this manifestation of the world that we know.” He smiled. “Oh, plenty of hope, an infinite amount of hope—but not for us.”
kind of a rival with Lovecraft in my mind in the cosmic horror department. Well, not that much of a rival, they occupy different literary ecological niches. Anyway Kafka is a key weird author of the 20th century, begs to be taken head-on.
What do I have in common with the Jews? I don't even have anything in common with myself.
I think he more than Borges shares the fate Cioran was bemoaning – he's been swamped by his public acclaim, devoured by his own image. He asked his friend Max Brod to destroy his work after his death, but Brod published it instead, so it's an even clearer case. He wanted to disappear, instead he's become an icon of something, part of the structure of feeling, The word "Kafkaesque" has been overused to where its a cringe cliche, and you can see his face all over the tourist t-shirt stalls in Prague.
Well, perhaps he'd be relieved then to know that the first result of a google search on Kafka is not him but a piece of software: Apache Kafka. But he's got a way to go before achieving obscurity.
I have this weird closeness with him, based only on the fact that my father was also a Prague jew. We share biological and cultural DNA. And I knew one of Max Brod's descendents, so he feels like mishpocha.