I doubt that I can add much to what's been written about this book. I had thought that I had read all of Kafka's works, but somehow I had missed this cornerstone.
There are times when we feel that everyone else knows something, but we're somehow in the dark. Perhaps it's the halftime flash which our disinterest kept us from seeing. These times are even more sinister when the knowledge pertains to us. Perhaps our co-workers know we're being let go. Perhaps our prospective employers are getting negative reports behind our backs. This story is that paranoia on steroids: somehow almost all of society is part of an obscure police state and everyone around us is playing a role while we naively carry on with our achievements and status--winning the wrong game.
K evinces inviolability and rightness, yet the machinery of the omnipresent police state continues to draw the noose. Like Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, all are converting and turning, or perhaps unseen were already changed. Now it is K's turn and his choices lead impotently toward dissolution.
I can see why people liken Invitation to a Beheading to this book, but they are dramatically different. Both are absurd and surrealistic, but Nabokov's is bright balls and circus absurdity with almost everything out in the open. Kafka's is a nightmare absurdity of dark hallways, dead ends, false hopes, and entrapping sirens.
As to this recording, there are odd splices of another voice occasionally, but otherwise, the narration is quite good.
The last half was fairly good. The first third was a tiresome sermon by the female lead explaining why she was pursuing equality and equal access in a male dominated culture. The book as a whole speaks as an imposition of modern values onto a medieval Japanese society. However, once action and some dialog replaced sermons, the book got better.
Nevertheless, the book is very much of a sequel setting up the 3rd book in the trilogy. It feels as if its whole purpose is to retrieve the story, pull in a few new plot lines, and set up for the culmination to come.
An introspective look into the foibles and joys of a man. His estrangements and attachments. He looks back from the end of life vantage point with regret and sympathy. The book is a downer in that each scene is a hospitalization.
Reflecting humorously on his own personal pain and journey, Shalom spins an engaging tale about abuse, parenting, and our struggle to find ourselves.
A bit dry. Very journalistic. Credible. Good narration.
Well read. Inimitable tragedy. Some voices could be better amplified.
The author did such a good job telling a story in the previous two books, that I looked eagerly forward to this concluding book. Unlike the others, he launches into repeated sermons on the evils of Christianity and the church. He could have been so much more effective by keeping it in terms of a story as he did in the previous two books and as C.S. Lewis does in Narnia and others do. Being hammered is too much.
The audible transcription cuts off 30-60 seconds from the end of each part. Very disconcerting. The book and narrator, however, are worth every minute. (I do think Crime and Punishment was more engaging, though.)
I've come back to and listened to this recording three or four times. I find its imagery and lyricism enthralling. I will never think of death and sin without picturing them by the portal in their odd macabre dance and dilliance.
This very long text requires a certain fortitude to get through and then needs a relisten to put the pieces together. Nevertheless, it's marvelous and well worthwhile. He brings out threads that take centuries to play out and shows how they underly our culture, political actions, and beliefs.
The recording is good but the editing is very awkward. The division into parts is purely based on time not content and so interrupts suddenly. Given the length of each part, it would be nice if each were self-contained.
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