Kafka’s Cats by Gábor T. Szántó

From Tablet Magazine

An excerpt from a new Hungarian novel imagines a world in which the Prague master survives tuberculosis, gives up writing, and finally finds some peace

By Gábor T. Szántó

In Berlin Dora was waiting for Kafka. Despite his sallow complexion and cough, he was in considerably better shape than at their last meeting. His spittle was no longer red and his appetite was back. On his face there were still traces of the past months’ torments, but physical labor seemed to strengthen him, his disposition was sunnier, and in general he made a more masculine impression. The day after his arrival he was all set to look for employment. Dora was amazed at his eagerness to get going.

When she found out that he no longer wrote, and at most exchanged letters with her and his sister Ottla, strictly limiting the length of those letters lest he deceive himself by concealing real writings in his correspondence, she was astounded by his self-discipline.

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