Franz Kafka

Today’s birthday boy is a writer whose time may have come–and one whose time never quite comes. His strangeness might explain much about the current moment, but your choice of which work to read may say more about you than him. “The Metamorphosis”? “The Penal Colony”? “The Trial”? I think I’m opting for the bureaucratic morass of “The Castle.” The alienation is funnier there.

Here’s a link to three new translations in The Paris Review: