Forgiving the Angel: Four Stories for Franz Kafka (Vintage Contemporaries)
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A thought-provoking, sometimes heartbreaking sequence of stories based on a group of real people held together by their love of Franz Kafka. Here friends, fans, and lovers find themselves haunted by the death of the great author. Imbued with a gravitas and dark irony that recall Kafka’s own work, these stories nonetheless also bear the singular imaginary stamp and the keen psychological and emotional insight that have marked all of Jay Cantor’s writing.
necessary to survive and move forward. After all, what choice did they have? He stepped behind a table set up for him at the front of the room and began the course by describing the one class that, if it didn’t receive the party’s correctives, was most likely to produce work that they might think revolutionary, but that would really serve the rulers. This was, of course, the class into which he, and probably many of the people here, had been born, the petit bourgeoisie. Lenin, fortunately, had
didn’t feel she in any way required him. She had a sense of completeness about her. He told her that last part, and, sadly for Lusk, she credited her husband for it. He’d died seven years before, after such a small time together, but he’d given her so many things, she said, a lifetime of riches (was she boasting, or giving him a warning?), including the inspiration for her career. She and this tubercular man had read to each other in their little apartment—a place not far from here—and that had
Eva as entitled and presumptuous, but also fascinating, as if Milena thought she was still a free creature. After a few moments, the three walked together with the others, and Eva was conscious of Milena’s right hand by the side of her dress. It made a slight perturbation in Eva’s spirit—a reminder of similar foolishness in the past. She’d grown fond of the man in Karaganda who’d shown her how to chop weeds, and his death had made her forget the simplest things. Someone had stolen her boots, and
was for Milena. But if Eva were to say that to Milena, she would wave it away as she had the bread. Instead, Eva would tell her about the acidic shit smell of the latrine that was like an ocean you could feel in your eyes and on your skin, and of the lithe twist of the starving bodies, so unlike the heavy gypsy dancing she’d seen in Berlin. That would lead naturally to telling of her grief for Inge, at which Milena would smooth her hair, until the stroking of her long fingers would almost make
filled with details of the girl’s life. And her letters always had some details, too, that could be added to Eva’s store of memories of Milena, as if Eva’s life could now grow backward only, and, like some historian’s book, only through the reports about the past from others. She’d learned from Jana that Milena—the scarecrow—had once been overweight. Milena couldn’t cook, and dinner was usually sausages on a plate. Milena wore a beret whenever she left the house but took it off as soon as any