vast labyrinthine bureaucracy

[3, 4] vast labyrinthine bureaucracy – an allusion to Kafka’s The Trial (2009c). In this book the central character, Josef K, wakes up one morning to be informed he has been arrested. He does not know why and spends the rest of the book struggling to make sense of this arrest and what follows. Each scene moves him through a labyrinth of indifferent figures, awkward situations and uncomfortable conversations as he tries to maintain a semblance of order. As the novel proceeds he is dragged further and further through bruising legal proceedings that continue to be unsettling as well as remain unintelligible. There is no consolation or humanity in this world. (Occasionally, there is a strange erotic encounter with a female character.) Without making any real sense the book ends – he is taken out into the open and stabbed and left to die like a dog. This anxiety narrative owes something to Kierkegaard (1981) and haunts the modern world. This narrative is very similar to the tragic tale at the heart of Gogol’s The Overcoat (1999). The labyrinth finds its fullest image, as an ontological principle, in the writings of Borges (Butler, 2010) where it becomes entangled in complex narratives of detective stories.

May 17, 2016

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