Beginners should start with the short stories of Franz Kafka before tackling his novels. Be prepared for writing which can be very philosophical, heavily symbolic, and full of strange images. In Franz Kafka’s greatest works there is often no plot or dramatic tension, but the prose style (even in translation) is truly original. Kafka’s work is also full of black humour; he often writes both about and from the point of view of animals; and some of his shorter pieces are in the form of parables, meditations, poetic fragments, and sketches. Keep in mind that Kafka was one of many great writers who did not win the Nobel Prize for literature – along with Tolstoy, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, D.H.Lawrence, and James Joyce. His work was hardly known outside his native Chzeckoslovakia during his lifetime, and yet it had immediate and enormous impact once it was translated in the late 1920s. He is now regarded as one of the giants of twentieth-century literature.