Monday, May 28, 2007

choose your own adventure

suppose you were appointed the role of frodo on a dangerous canoe trip through an unfamiliar land. after several weeks of rowing, your fellow traveler develops tendonitis and is unable to continue the expedition. together, you paddle to a quiet fishing village somewhere on the edge of the world and part ways. she climbs from the canoe, hoists her pack, and you never see her again.

beyond the dock, you spot two or three shacks and the beached hull of an ancient tug. everything smells of fish and decay. the big city, you smirk. the fate of the world rests on this forgotten population of ten. indeed, without another set of hands your mission is doomed. rising from the canoe, you muzzle your doubt and approach the town.

there's no sign of the men and women who created this awful stench (i.e., fisherfolk), but you still manage to drag up three candidates to help complete your quest: a novelist, a fiction editor, and a literary translator. one of these three adventurers will have to do, but who should you choose?

[stay tuned for my answer and how it relates to franz kafka’s the trial in the next post or so.]

[[okay, here's my unofficial back page review (andi's comments made a follow-up post unnecessary). i was going to use this riddle to reveal that either (1) the translator of my edition of the trial was pathetic (and unworthy of quests) or (2) kafka was an idea guy, not a writer. there is NO reason to read this; the cliff notes are probably better written and infinitely more concise. still, i like the concept of the novel; kafka just needs a creative translator with a keen sense of poetry and pacing. (and perhaps kafka would be a good quest candidate if he was only needed to think and not do.)]]

8 comments:

Beth said...

can we vote, like in a REAL choose your own adventure?

andrew said...

yes, certainly! i guess that means that i write the next post based on your responses, right? i'll still find some way to talk about kafka though.

Beth said...

If I were the traveler, I think I would choose the novelist.

Andi said...

Hopefully you didn't read The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. I did and I can't recommend it. Well if you like stories where humans change into animals, have fun!

andrew said...

andi, nope, i haven't tried the metamorphosis. however, i do find the idea behind books like the metamorphosis or the trial rather interesting--how do ordinary people respond when life ceases to make sense and there's no logical explanation? being a kafka protagonist is kind of like being the unfortunate traveler in that link you sent me last week: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG03joaqrcc).

yep. kafka seems like a cross between a seven-year-old and a philosopher. i like philosophers and i like 7-year-olds, so i thought i'd like the trial. oh, well....

andi said...

It's also the plot which was boring. Nothing happened. Just this beetle which was sitting in his room.
But, each to his own.

andrew said...

ah hah! that's exactly what i felt about the trial! i felt like the idea behind the story was great but that the writing style and plot were poorly executed. this is stealing my thunder for my next post, but i thought that the suckiness of the plot might have been somewhat related to the translation. after all, isn't kafka revered as a great writer?

but since we're in accord, i'll go out on a limb and not mince words: kafka's a bad writer.

Andi said...

Kafka is in my opinion a bad writer. You can see that also in his "lifestyle". He lived in Prague but everywhere were he was, he didn't fit into the society. Moreover his relationship with his father was not normal. A love-hate relationship.
The strange plot together with his bad sentences makes me a bit angry.