Long fascinated with the work of Franz Kafka, Peter Kuper began illustrating his stories in 1988. Initially drawn to the master’s dark humor, Kuper adapted the stories over the years to plumb their deeper truths. Kuper’s style deliberately evokes Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel, contemporaries of Kafka whose wordless novels captured much of the same claustrophobia and mania as Kafka’s tales. Working from new translations of the classic texts, Kuper has reimagined these iconic stories for the twenty-first century, using setting and perspective to comment on contemporary issues like civil rights and homelessness.
Longtime lovers of Kafka will appreciate Kuper’s innovative interpretations, while Kafka novices will discover a haunting introduction to some of the great writer’s most beguiling stories, including “A Hunger Artist,” “In The Penal Colony,” and “The Burrow.” Kafkaesque stands somewhere between adaptation and wholly original creation, going beyond a simple illustration of Kafka’s words to become a stunning work of art.
[Kuper] does what I love. Jazz. This book is a series of riffs, visual improvisations on short takes by the old master. It becomes a diverting, even daring, high-wire act, where Kafka’s stoic Euro-alienation meets and merges with Kuper’s thoroughly American rock-and-roll alienation.—Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist
Brilliant…. The Kafkaesque humor is intact, even enhanced.—Wall Street Journal
Kafka’s work is opaque and ripe for reinterpretation, but it is Kuper’s art that makes it so fresh.—Tom Tivnan, Times Literary Supplement
Woe to the reader who tries to skim Kafkaesque…. [Kuper’s] faux woodcuts, with their explosive faces and grim chiaroscuro, cannot be easily digested — a supreme virtue.—Vulture
Kafka’s timeless work has never hit so hard, nor more artfully.—Publishers Weekly
In distilling Kafka’s timeless themes, Kuper creates stark panels of disturbing truth and powerful warning.—Terry Hong, Booklist
Kuper proves adept at using the synergy between text and image to both expand Kafka’s ideas and trim his word counts… A richly innovative interpretation that honors the source while expanding the material.—Kirkus Reviews
A gorgeously illustrated collection that makes tales written nearly a century ago feel vibrant and vital.—Library Journal
Kafka has found a perfect interpreter in Peter Kuper.—Hearst CT News
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