Kafka,Neurology and Africa – My Last Three Reads

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The 3 last books I read gave me some unexpected feelings.”Unexpected” because the book I was most looking forward to reading was disappointing while the one I bought as a result of some unlikely circumstances proved to be a superb read!

Metamorphosis and Other Stories – Franz Kafka
I waited one whole year in order to buy this book and complete my Folio collection of Kafka’s works.I expected much from it,but ultimately was left disappointed.The stories are not your usual stories you find in the collections of Munro,Lahiri or Borges; Kafka’s can be incredibly short and thus tend to be very unsatisfying.Most of them were not short stories per se,but rather notes scribbled by a young aspiring author.I am sure if he knew his works were going to be published one day,he would have given them the wholesomeness they deserve and not left them in their current disembodied state.Kafka’s stories are great to read,as his style is unique,but reading 20 or 30 of them can be very boring.I however was greatly amazed by Metamorphosis.I didn’t expect this seemingly ridiculous story to be written with so much pathos.It truly is one of the best ”short” (it’s not that short,mind you) stories I’ve read.All in all,I was disappointed with this collection and reckon that Kafka’s best works are his two novels; The Castle and The Trial.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sacks
It caught my eye while I was browsing through the Folio Society’s booklist.Thus I jumped on the occasion when I saw it discounted at 50%.It turned out to be a great read,shedding light on mental and tragic illnesses we are not aware of.Oliver Sacks narrates the stories of his patients with much pathos and simplicity,and that’s why I think this book has been so popular with medicine students and bookworms alike.I learnt a good deal from this book,and some cases really shocked and fascinated me! There were paragraphs in the book which were overly technical though; I guess certain things could not be explained in a simpler manner.If you see this book in a library or bookshop,you won’t go wrong by picking it up; it is typically the kind of thing that changes your outlook on life.Don’t be deceived into thinking that it is a medicine book,for Sacks has managed to give each case an air of short story.

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
The last time I bought books on bookdepository,I included Room in my cart; however I didn’t have enough money to buy it,so I went for Achebe’s book which was set at a tempting $10.I wasn’t too enthusiastic at the idea of reading it,but I bought it as I couldn’t find another classic for that much money.The book proved to be a stunner. Achebe’s narrative and writing style is exceptional! His unflinching command of the English language is such that he can describe Africa’s ebullience without losing the lightness and simplicity of his narrative.It is also very poignant,as it is very effective in conveying the message intended.I also liked how his approach in presenting the conflict between the two cultures was not violent and biased,and I was very impressed with the subtle  techniques he used to give us the full picture of the conflict.Things Fall Apart is a superbly written book and its greatness is heightened when we place it in historical context.It has become one of my favourite books!

In some days,I will write more in-depth reviews for Metamorphosis and Other Stories and Things Fall Apart.This post is just a brief update about my last reads.Hmm,I don’t know if I should write a review for The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.Should I?

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11 thoughts on “Kafka,Neurology and Africa – My Last Three Reads”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I bought ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat’ for my sister some time back and now I’m inspired to borrow it from her to actually read it!

    1. Indeed you should!
      It introduces you to a world which is sadly not enough documented.As a result,I’m sure you’ll be stunned by the different cases presented by Sacks,with each one of them being as weird and surprising as the other.

      It also sheds much light on the unsuspecting powers of the brain,which we tend to take for granted; for instance,a shock in one of its parts may result in your being blind,even though your eyes and health are impeccable!

      But ultimately this book is profoundly sad and will infuse in you a good dose of empathy; you won’t see the mentally handicapped in the same way again.

      Thanks for commenting! 😉
      (And turning a blind eye on my early typos)

    1. Of course I did,and liked Metamorphosis too!
      But the other stories were not that great; I guess I set my expectations too – I think this is has to with reading Borges previously!

    1. Sacks often refers to this book and its patients in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat!
      I guess I should read it one day!
      It might be as unbelievable as this one! 🙂
      And I had no idea it was even made into a movie!

  2. I remember Metamorphosis, it’s one of those that are widely talked about and it wasn’t what I had expected it to be. I thought it was longer… a lot longer. And then I expected that the metamorphosis, the process would be revealed and why and was it more physical or could it hae been psychological.

    Things Fall Apart, I haven’t read but I think I must.

    Thanks for mentioning Folio Society! Love it! ❤
    (Because of you all I had all morning conflicted thoughts about books I really want to buy but I don't really need to buy -_-)

    1. Haha,and it’s not really a bad thing to have such thoughts; after all,aren’t we all adding books to our never-ending TBR list?

      The Folio books,albeit quite expensive,are a real delight to hold.You must handle one to know what I mean!

      Hmm,I thought Metamorphosis was shorter,as I thought it was a short story.I really liked the pathos expressed through that story and it was really deep.I think I might just write a post about it!

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