Investigations of a Dog & Other Creatures

Fiction by Franz Kafka

Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

Animals, strange beasts, bureaucrats, bouncing balls, businessmen, and nightmares populate this collection of stories by Franz Kafka. These matchless short works, all unpublished during Kafka’s lifetime, range from the snappy dialogue between a cat and a mouse in “Little Fable” to the absurd humor of “Investigations of a Dog,” from the elaborate waking nightmare of “Building the Great Wall of China” to the creeping unease of “The Burrow,” where a nameless creature’s labyrinthine hiding place turns into a trap of fear and paranoia.…
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Fiction by Franz Kafka

Translated by Michael Hofmann

Karl Rossman, “a poor boy of seventeen,” has been sent away to America by his parents for his part in a scandal, and his travels unfold revelations about himself and his dreams. This is a new world where the Statue of Liberty holds aloft a sword rather than a torch, swindlers abound, and a bridge connects Boston to New York City. The San Francisco Chronicle said Hofmann’s “sleek translation does a wonderful job” and The New York Times concurred: “Anything by Kafka is worth reading again, especially in the hands of such a gifted translator as Hofmann.…
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Of course I owe much to Kafka. I admire him, as I suppose all reasonable people do.
—Jorge Luis Borges
He is the greatest German writer of our time. Such poets as Rilke or such novelists as Thomas Mann are dwarfs or plaster saints in comparison to him.
—Vladimir Nabokov
A stirring, singular work, now restored to its original beauty.
—John Ashbery
What Kafka's stories have…is a grotesque, gorgeous, and thoroughly modern complexity, an ambivalence that becomes the multivalent Both/And logic of the, quote, ‘unconscious,’ which I personally think is just a fancy word for soul.
—David Foster Wallace
Michael Hofmann's magnificent new translation restores its rightful place as one of Kafka's most delightful and most memorable works.
—Charles Simic
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