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Distributed for Seagull Books

Kafka’s Son

A posthumously published Hungarian masterpiece that reflects on fragmented lives.
Born in 1963, Szilárd Borbély emerged as one of the most important poets of post-communist Europe, exploring the themes of grief, memory, and trauma in his critically acclaimed work. Following the murder of his mother during a burglary in 2000, and the subsequent breakdown and death of his father, Borbély suffered from post-traumatic depression and tragically ended his own life in 2014.

Among the manuscripts that Borbély left behind was Kafka’s Son, a fragmentary work, rendered still more fragmented through the author’s death. Through a series of haunting passages that explore early twentieth-century Prague, including the ruins of the ancient Jewish ghetto during the time of its demolition, Borbély inscribes the story of Franz Kafka and his father onto the city. We are used to hearing from Franz; here Hermann Kafka is also given a voice. “The son,” he tells us, “is the life of the father. The father is the death of the son.” By extension, then, this book is also an indirect telling of the story of Borbély and his father, and about sons and fathers in the Habsburg empire and the culture of brutality that defined Eastern Europe.

A posthumously published Hungarian masterpiece, Kafka’s Son now appears in English in award-winning translator Ottilie Mulzet’s sensitive translation, a fragmentary yet iridescent work inviting us to reflect on our fragmented lives.

184 pages | 1 map | 6 x 9

The Hungarian List


Jewish Studies

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Table of Contents

To the Reader
From the Notes of Hermann
Kafka and the Streets
Kafka and My Twin
Kafka in the Bathroom
An Evening Stroll
Kafka and the Words
Kafka at the Rabbi’s
Kafka Writes
Kafka and the Letters
Journey to Leitmeritz
My Dear Son
Kafka by the Window
Felice and the Applause
Photograph Taken with a Flash
The Cemetery of Language
Kafka and the Blind
The Enigma of the Sphinx
Tiny Flowers on a Calico Dress
Kafka and Palestine
My Dear Son
A Gloomy Day
The Silence of Nebuchadnezzar
Memory of a Nearness
Kafka and the Colours
The Married Couple, Snow
Kafka’s Fortieth Birthday
Kafka and the Bicycle
The Naked Hand
Kafka on the Bridge
Conversation at the Table
The Fart
The Case
My Dear Son
The Civil Servant
My Dear Son
Translator’s Afterword

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