Cafe Irreal: International Imagination--Issue 23    

Issue Twenty-Three

Four Short Prose Pieces by Ian Seed
More from Pieces for Small Orchestra by Norman Lock
Dinosaur Evolution by Sharon Wahl
The Rabbi's Magic Wagon by Harry White
Finding Kafka in Prague (first version) by The Cafe Irreal


irreal (re)views

(featuring Garrett Rowlan's essay
"Irrealism and ambient music")

Alice Whittenburg

G.S. Evans

This issue went online
August 1, 2007

copyright 2007
The Cafe Irreal

photo copyright 2007
by The Cafe Irreal

all rights reserved
ISSN 1931-6763

Čeština Translations into Czech

Kafka Statue, Prague

Finding Kafka in Prague

"When I enter a cafe, the first thing I perceive are implements. Not things, not raw matter, but utensils: tables, seats, mirrors, glasses and saucers... Taken as a whole, they belong to an obvious order. The meaning of this ordering is an end — an end that is myself, or rather, the man in me, the consumer that I am. Such is the surface appearance of the human world... Now let us describe the cafe topsyturvy.

"...Here, for example, is a door. It is there before us, with its hinges, latch and lock. It is carefully bolted, as if protecting some treasure. I manage, after several attempts, to procure a key; I open it, only to find that behind it is a wall. I sit down and order a cup of coffee. The waiter makes me repeat the order three times and repeats it himself to avoid any possibility of error. He dashes off and repeats my order to a second waiter, who notes it down in a little book and transmits it to a third waiter. Finally, a fourth waiter comes back and, putting an inkwell on my table, says, 'There you are.' 'But,' I say, 'I ordered a cup of coffee.' 'That's right,' he says, as he walks off.

"If the reader, while reading a story of this kind, thinks that the waiters are playing a joke or that they are involved in some collective psychosis, then we have lost the game. But if we have been able to give him the impression that we are talking about a world in which these absurd manifestations appear as normal behaviour, then he will find himself plunged all at once into the heart of the fantastic." — Jean-Paul Sartre