Franz Kafka

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

A glimpse of America, through the greatest on-the-road novels. Open discussion on Literary Joint.


Amerika, (original title: Der Verschollene), the incomplete first novel of  Franz Kafka , written 1911-1914.

Isn't it often striking how little is generally understood of America? The rolling, omniscient, and eminently  powerful country, and its dwellers, seem perfectly designed to be stereotyped, thus we can all feel free to wallow, free of regrets or embarrassment, in our ignorance and misconception of it. Yet, as  reading (along perhaps with traveling) is undoubtedly the perfect antidote for our lack of knowledge and understanding, wouldn't it make sense turn to the greatest on-the-road American novels, to unveil the mysterious land and its folks, seeking for answers and discernment? For instance, many great ones occur to me: from Steinbeck's little known "Travels with Charley: in Search of America" and his dramatic, tantalizing "Grapes of Wrath," to Kerouac's classic and often misread "On the Road," to Nabokov's controversial "Lolita," to Twain's (on-the-river) "Huckleberry Finn," that recedes even further back in time...
At Literary Joint, we would love to spark a debate, or at least a humble literary chit-chat, around this, counting on your comments and contribution. What do YOU reckon? What are the (well known or less known) greatest on-the-road American novels that may help us unravel the very core of America?

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