“If you love Kafka you'll love this quirky little novel.”see full review » see other reviews »
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“If you love Kafka you'll love this quirky little novel.”moik wrote this review Monday, January 24, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“?”david s wrote this review Wednesday, January 19, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting yet totally and completely weird. I'm not sure I can make any more of a committment than that, except to wonder if the narrator is supposed to be in an asylum.”Amy M wrote this review Tuesday, November 3, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When I meet my friends I always ask them, "Have you finished this novel, Jakob Von Gunten?" I can't wait to talk about it because it is always first on my list of fiction works. No other books I have read come close to its excellence, the excellence of a bizarre imagination compounded by neurotic excesses. From the opening lines..."One learns very little here, there is a shortage of teachers, and none of us boys of the Benjamenta Institute will come to anything, that is to say, we shall all be something very small and subordinate later in life"...to the finale, "We are busy packing, picking up everything, selecting and pushing and shoving, and tearing things apart. We will travel. Fraulein is under the ground. And I? Well I have become the zero I longed to be" ...there is simply the most superb artistry and play of emotion. There are all sorts of problems.
Where is one to find a room to sleep? Fraulein moves Jakob up to the attic. But the air is slow and stuffy. "Do please stand up" she requests. "You must sleep somewhere else." As for Herr Benjamenta, he is the giant of the clan. His manners gruff and surly, we walk quietly through the hallways, practicing how to fold a napkin. "Come in" a voice will say. Come now, it's time for a bow....and so it goes. A place, magical in its indifference and firmly rooted in routine, please take some time to visit the Institute Benjaminta.
Thank you. Takes a bow.”