Kafka Americana

Kafka Americana

by Jonathan Lethem, Carter Scholz


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"Inspired by affection.... Extremely witty and intelligent."—Publishers Weekly

Previously published only in a signed, limited edition, Kafka Americana has achieved cult status. Norton now brings this reimagination of our labyrinthine world to a wider audience. In an act of literary appropriation, Lethem and Scholz seize a helpless Kafka by the lapels and thrust him into the cultural wreckage of twentieth-century America. In the collaboratively written "Receding Horizon," Hollywood welcomes Kafka as scriptwriter for Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, with appropriately morbid results. Scholz's "The Amount to Carry" transports "the legal secretary of the Workman's Accident Insurance Institute" to a conference with fellow insurance executives Wallace Stevens and Charles Ives, to muse on what can and can't be insured. And Lethem's "K for Fake" brings together Orson Welles, Jerry Lewis, and Rod Serling in a kangaroo trial in which Kafka faces fraudulent charges. Taking modernism's presiding genius for a joyride, the authors portray an absurd, ominous world that Kafka might have invented but could never have survived.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393322538
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/17/2001
Pages: 100
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Lethem is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Brooklyn and Maine.

Carter Scholz is the co-author of Palimpsests. His novel Radiance was published in 2002. He lives in California.


New York, New York

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


Left Bennington College after two years

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Kafka Americana 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
psybre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Collects five stories of the absurd and fantastical.
Blumfeld, An Elderly Bachelor (*** 1/2) interesting twists
The Notebooks of Bob K. (*) superhero fluff, signifying nothing
Receding Horizon (**) Boring, absurd account of Frank Capra's career in film. Skipped to the end after half finished.
The Amount To Carry (*) Unappealing elite insurance men muse about their meaning.
K for Fake (** 1/2) Another absurdist trial for Kafka with some interesting fantastical elements.
This is definitely not my flavor of writing and perhaps if Kafka's novels were fresher in my memory I could have gained more from reading the stories. I was constantly distracted from reading the stories with thoughts of, "what's the point?"
Smiler69 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick and satisfying read. Lethem has a fantastic imagination.