Many of Franz Kafka’s darkest comedies appear rooted in the cowering relationship he had with his father. Their only true bonding was over beer.
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Franz Kafka wrote powerful stories about the powerless — and to make them frightening, he made them funny. Many of his darkest comedies, including the famous one about a salesman metamorphosing into a bug, appear to be rooted in the cowering, but deeply farcical, relationship he had with his domineering father, Hermann.
But if there was a sparkling boyhood memory that Kafka cherished — and recalled as he lay dying of tuberculosis in a sanatarium near Vienna — it was one involving that primal bonding ritual between father and son: sharing a beer.
In Is That Kafka? 99 Finds, a book of trivia recently translated from German into English, the eminent Kafka scholar Reiner Stach highlights his famous subject’s enjoyment of beer and wine….