My novel. Kafka In The Castle, fills in Kafka’s missing diary entries. This is how I imagine Kafka’s best friend, Max Brod, reacts to one of the many times Kafka burned his own manuscripts.
19 April 1917
Max was horrified when I told him about last night.
“You burned your stories? Are you crazy?”
“I wrote them, so I must be.”
He smiled at that. Max’s anger can be easily deflected, for it is never deep. Max is a very good man, and cares for me more than I do myself.
“And the novel? The Amerika novel?”
I told him that many chapters of that must have been burned. Probably right from the start – they were no doubt the first things I grabbed from the chair. “Anything else?”
“There were a couple of plays. I remember pages of dialogue.”
Max’s voice became hollow. He might no longer be angry, but neither was he happy. “I didn’t know you had written any plays. You have secrets even from me.”
“I keep secrets from myself. Don’t be offended.”
I could picture him writing down an inventory.
“Some diary entries – those were deliberate.”
“And was that the end of your pyromaniac obsession?”
“Of my own work – yes.”
He looked at me questioningly – he didn’t need another secret.
“There were a couple of bundles of letters from Felice. Neatly tied with string. They burned slowly. I have not had such warmth from her for a long time.”