[In Spurious,] Lars and W. worship Kafka and wonder if they more resemble Kafka or Max Brod, his executor. Is Kafka one of your heroes? Do you, like Lars and W., think of yourself as more of a Max Brod than a Kafka?
I do not even see myself as a Brod! Max Brod was the most energetic of men – he wrote a great deal, he was active in various intellectual circles – and he placed himself most genuinely in the service of others. A remarkable combination. W. and Lars seem to form the entirety of each other’s intellectual circle, and the question whether they actually help anybody is an open one.
Am I a Brod? But I wrote a novel. And one writes novels, I think, in the hope that one might be more than a Brod. Brod, no doubt, wanted to be more than a Brod. At what stage did he realise that he was no Kafka? My argument: he never realised it. Perhaps to write a novel is to be a Brod who wants to be Kafka. And perhaps that’s why Kafka couldn’t finish his own novels. He, too, in his own way, was a Brod.
But we live in a different time from Kafka’s, when the hope of being a Kafka will result in something altogether different than becoming Kafka. Kafka’s displaced relations to Jewish traditions have their counterparts today, perhaps, in our displaced relations with the novel, and with figures like Kafka. [Read More]