On a recent trip to the Czech Republic, like all good book lovers and especially Czech literature enthusiasts, I had a Kafka nerd-out. Besides scooping up a copy of The Trial translated into English with illustrations by Karel Hruška, I also weighed myself down with a beautiful poster of Gregor Samsa looking into a mirror with the image of a giant vermin staring back at him, Das Schloss in the original German (yes, that’s the title for The Castle), and other little nick-nacks that I couldn’t resist despite my tourist meter reaching its max. Prague was beautiful and I couldn’t help but feel motivated and inspired in my own writing (perhaps cheesy, but I got a kick out of all of the restaurant signs featuring Švejk). Also, a personal favorite, was the bust of Bohumil Hrabal that reigns over one of the walls of At the Golden Tiger. Once I returned to the States, I felt a renewed sense in my ability as a writer and once again excited about the line of work I have chosen.
On a day trip out of the city, I visited the castle in the small town of Karlštejn. It was built by Charles IV to keep his royal jewels and whatnot, but some scholars believe it to be the model for Kafka’s castle that so torments K.