The year is 1908 in the city of Prague. You’ve written your first book. Everyone wants to be near you, touch you, and hear what you the learned writer has to say. Maybe you do have something worthwhile to impart, your literary opinion is in demand and many would-be authors vie for your attention. Your confidence grows as your fame increases, until a handsome, brilliant stranger befriends you, rivalling your talent and self-assurance. That’s when doubt begins to creep in.
Winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award 2017, the debut novel of Melbourne author Marija Peričić is an intriguing interpretation of the relationship of Max Brod and Franz Kafka. THE LOST PAGES traces the strange and often fractious relationship between mentor (Max Brod) and protégé (Franz Kafka), where love, rivalry, jealousy and paranoia spiral into madness.
The Lost Pages is a fictional memoir written by Max Brod and imagined to have come from a collection of Kafka manuscripts that were recently discovered in Tel Aviv. An article in the New York Times by Elif Batuman called ‘Kafka’s Last Trial’, follows the court proceedings of unpublished manuscripts and papers of Franz Kafka. This article prompted Marija Peričić to research the lives of Brod and Kafka, making the discovery that the public perception of them was, in fact, quite different to the reality.
Having little or no knowledge of Brod and Kafka, I read THE LOST PAGES with fresh eyes and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Marija Peričić lures us down the winding cobble-stoned alleys of early twentieth-century Bohemia, into the artistic world of the literati. We are drawn into Brod and Kafka’s Prague through vivid descriptions and attention to detail. We can feel Brod’s anguish as he struggles with physical and psychological torment and his admiration of the brilliance and eccentricities of Kafka.
Recommended, Marija Peričić’s THE LOST PAGES has an air of authenticity, exploring and exposing human frailty and deep desire, making it a compelling read.