Why do I bother with Kafka?

I’m struggling my way through the Castle for the second time (the last time being eight years ago). I can’t put my finger on what draws me to him. I don’t usually enjoy him while I read him. But his writing stays with me, a haunting presence that I never shake off.

John Fowles wrote something similar in an essay in Wormholes – about how he can’t remember the plot or details of Kafka, only this sense that Kafka’s work gave him.

His work resists any easy interpretation. When I was sixteen and first tried reading him, I thought it was a parable that simply needed me to find what each element represented. I tried to read into my hazy knowledge of inter-war European political situation. A waste of time; wrong track. They’re not allegorical, or parabolical in that kind of sense.