Hungary

The Glory of Life

©‎ LibriMrs. Capote: Az élet gyönyörűsége (The Glory of Life)

© LibriThere is that photograph of Kafka, perhaps the most famous one, showing him with dark hair combed to the back, slightly protruding ears, a sad gaze and a firmly knotted tie. Poor Kafka has stiffened to become an icon of himself – so much so that it is no longer possible to imagine him differently. ... Along come Michael Kumpfmüller and draws an entirely new picture of Kafka. The Glory of Life essentially zooms in on the last years of the writer’s life. At this stage, Kafka (consistently referred to in the novel as Franz, his surname not being used a single time) is already very ill; he is beginning to be overcome by tuberculosis. Yet this period is one of the happiest phases of his life because he meets Dora Diamant, his last great love, who stands by him from then on, probably more in bad times than in good. She follows him to Berlin, then to the sanatorium near Vienna, and she is present at the cemetery in Prague to accompany him on his last journey. ...

Despite the ever-tangible presence of death (or perhaps precisely because of it), the novel is primarily and almost exclusively about the love of life. Kafka has been taken off his pedestal and has now finally assumed human features; he is penetrated by pain and torment, by self-doubts and recollections of long-lost loves. And of course, by many stories, some of which were brought to life, and some of which Dora consigned to the flames. Yet others remain hidden in Kafka forever.

Michael Kumpfmüller
Az élet gyönyörűsége (Original title: Die Herrlichkeit des Lebens)
Translation: Lídia Nádori.
Budapest: Libri, 2013
ISBN 978-963-310197-1