Dear Letter to His Father,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this raw expose you presented. There were moments when I felt your pain, moments when I saw the sadness and longing for change. You brought a lot of perspective into the life of a great literary writer. So, thank you for widening my world and perspective.
P.S. Book Details
Author: Franz Kafka
Book Length: 127 pages
Book Genre: Classics, Biography
Publication Date: 1987
Synopsis: Franz Kafka wrote this letter to his father, Hermann Kafka, in November 1919. Max Brod, Kafka’s literary executor, relates that Kafka actually gave the letter to his mother to hand to his father, hoping it might renew a relationship that had lost itself in tension and frustration on both sides. But Kafka’s probing of the deep flaw in their relationship spared neither his father nor himself. He could not help seeing the failure of communication between father and son as another moment in the larger existential predicament depicted in so much of his work. Probably realizing the futility of her son’s gesture, Julie Kafka did not deliver the letter but instead returned it to its author.
What a reflective look into the life of Franz Kafka, yet not sharing his story alone, but how his environment impacted his development. “Letter to His Father” is a quick and simple read, but readers will leave with insight into Kafka’s life. The concept of this book intrigued me. In addition to biography/memoirs being my one favorite genres, it was written in letter form! I decided it was a book I wanted to read right away.
My first introduction to Kafka was in a literature class where I read the short story, “Metamorphosis”. I can’t say I think the story is my favorite, however I find myself reflecting on his writing in my life some 5 years later. Which leads me to the conclusion it is worth being called a classic and worth reading. If you are interested in learning more about Kafka, or a brief introduction if you have never heard of him, there is a website called the Kafka Project. They have a lot of information.
The book followed Kafka’s life chronologically. Kafka wrote bluntly to his father, yet not in a degrading manner. He highlighted how his father influenced his familial unit, Kafka’s thought processes and view of himself, and his actions. It was fascinating, he almost looked at his life with a system’s approach.
I had anticipated reading this book quickly, and I could have. However, I found myself wanting to stop and actually think about what Kafka was writing. I almost felt disrespectful to rush through his letter, because of the thought, intention, and care he took to articulate the letter. There were many times I found myself reflecting on my own life and the way parental figures influenced my life. I can see myself re-reading this book down the road, especially after reading some more of Kafka’s work.
Whether you know about Kafka or not, I would recommend this book. Having some experience with Kafka’s work may enhance the reading of “Letter to His Father”, but it is not a requirement. If you enjoy biographies, letters, or are looking for a simple read, I would recommend you pick up this book.