Investigations of a Dog by Franz Kafka

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Franz Kafka has written this short story in a perspective of a dog. It was very difficult to read given the long sentences and, lack of cohesion, and a lot of unfamiliar English words. I’ve been reading reviews about readers giving up in the middle, but I chose to keep going. Let me say, it gets better. Well, kinda.

The dog has a very intuitive and independent character, given that he parted ways with his mother early in his life and started wandering around on his own. He often emphasize his solitariness and how it contributed to the way he thinks. He was not happy about it since he could have learned more in life if he stayed with his mother longer, but at the same time he was proud of it since it allowed him to become ‘street smart’ and question things about the world.

The first part about the musicians was something I was finding hard to grasp at first. The dog was confused about what the performers do and why they do it, only to find no answers from anyone. I believe it means that there are things in this world that could have been explained to some, but we just chose not to devote energy in explaining it, or we chose not to care to question them at all.

The dog was also asking where and how food was produced on earth, and how come some get more and some get less. I could relate this a lot to political realism, where self-interest and survival are the central elements, and human nature (in this case, canine nature) is the driving force to all the actions of dogs in this world.

Later in the story, he started questioning the existence of air-dogs, and what’s the point of their existence. He also questioned how his generation is better and worse than the previous ones. He was also big on being conscious of the ‘scientificness’ of his arguments and claims, as well as the practical value of his ‘experiments’. Towards the end of the story, he tried experimenting on fasting.

If I’m being honest, there are parts of the story I can’t quite understand, but if you try to keep going and finish the whole book, the overall message actually makes sense. Most importantly, this book has introduced me to new English words that contributed in enriching my vocabulary.

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