--from the Foreword by John Updike "The distinction Kafka, or his heroes, draw between this world and the world does not imply that there are two different worlds, only that our habitual conceptions of reality are not the true conception."
--W. H. Auden "An important book, valuable in itself and absolutely fascinating. The stories are dreamlike, allegorical, symbolic, parabolic, grotesque, ritualistic, nasty, lucent, extremely personal, ghoulishly detached, exquisitely comic, numinous, and prophetic."
--The New York Times
The collection includes all the works published during Kafka's lifetime, with the exception of The Stoker which is usually incorporated as the first chapter of his unfinished novel Amerika. Some of the stories included in the book are fragmented or in various states of incompletion. Most of the stories are translated by Willa and Edwin Muir, with occasional translations by Tania and James Stern.
Several fables, parables and philosophical pieces are not included in this collection, as they were never meant to be independent stories or never intended for publication. These can be found in Kafka's diaries, notebooks and letters.