Kafka’s masterpiece comes to life in a graphic novel with as much absurdity and duality as the original text. The Castle is central to the town. The Land surveyor has been offered a job in the town and knows only this thing. When he walks door to door in pursuit of his job, no will talk to him. He has not been offered a place nor has the count told of his arrival. Most strange as this is, he must keep going. To the mayor, the mysterious message sender KLEEM and to the bar. The outside is cold and the snow has frozen not only blood but hearts it seems. The Castle is still impenetrable and the town still a strange world.
Kafka is the writer of the isolated and the alone. He questions identity, place and belonging. The best facets of his work allow the reader to attack the boundaries of truth and the imposition of the self on the many. Put simply, it is his work that started our journey forward in modern literature. Now mostly that is translated here with ease. Writer and translator David Zane Mairowitz takes the story (from multiple sources and variances) but keeps the central themes. Systems inside society and the absurdity of Bureaucratic controls (among many others). Mairowitz keeps the language forced and hard. Making it a slog but also making it pay for the reader. Kafka always wanted the reader to confront their own position. By making the reader have to stretch, Mairowitz is benefiting the reader in the experience and complementing Kafka in his work. I love the relationship under writing and the assistants over writing. This is equally supported by Jaromír99 wonderful wood block illustration. The tonal shifts of grey in the face, white in the snow and the black of the Castle make for tense, unstable foundations and absurd, abstractions to also become unsettling and revealing.