Amerika – post IV

Kafka uses the vastness of America to provoke a sense of fear that is done expertly. As a result there is a sense that you either know how the country works or are locked out of the system and presumably that would have been explored more as Karl developed but because the book was left unfinished it is hard to see quite where it would have ended

Bullet points from the main body of the story pages 158 – 193

* Karl awakes on the balcony with Robinson and listens as the Irishman tells him the story of how his french companion Delamarche came to be living with the singer Brunelda and how she dismissed all of her servants and moved to be with her French lover

* Karl is outraged when Robinson tells him that he is going to be replaced as a servant by Karl and that he will have to wait hand and foot on Brunelda who sounds like a hyper sensitive hypochondriac

* Karl attempts to leave as the trio are distracted by an election campaign in the street below but is caught trying to prise open the doors with knifes and beaten up by Delamarche who knocks him out cold after throwing him against a wardrobe

* After being unconscious Karl wakes and walks out onto the balcony and notices there is a student studying on the adjacent balcony who after being reluctant to talk to Karl advises him to stay as a servant because getting another job will be very difficult

* The morning after Karl wakes with a determination to at least be a good servant and he seems to succeed in pleasing the large singer by getting and presenting a breakfast in a reasonable way and he is rewarded with some crumbs from the plate

Bullet points from the fragments pages 194 – 218

* There is a short chapter where Brunelda leaves the apartment in a bath chair helped down the stairs by Karl and the student neighbour there is no sign of Robinson or Delamarche and the singer is so obese that she is frightened of being seen so covers her self with a blanket

* Then the book ends with Karl seeing a poster advertising The Oklahoma Theatre and he goes to the racecourse where they are offering interviews for positions and manages to get offered a post as a technician and seems to know someone in the cast – Fanny – who does not appear to have been mentioned before

* All of those that have applied for jobs, which includes an Italian lift boy from the hotel Karl worked at, join the train and the last page describes the joy Karl has of seeing the vastness of America flashing by the windows as he travels to Oklahoma

Full review will be posted at the weekend…


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