Benjamin Balint taught literature, including Kafka, at the Bard College humanities programme at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. His first book, Running Commentary, was published by PublicAffairs in 2010. His second book, Jerusalem: City of the Book, is co-authored with Merav Mack. His reviews and essays regularly appear in the Wall Street Journal, Die Zeit, Haaretz, the Weekly Standard, and the Claremont Review of Books. His translations of Hebrew poetry have appeared in the New Yorker and in Poetry International.
Who should inherit Kafka? . . . Searing questions of language, of personal bequest, of friendship, of biographical evidence, of national pride, of justice, of deceit and betrayal, even of metaphysical allegiance, burn through Balint's scrupulous trackings of Kafka's final standing before the law. -- Cynthia Ozick, Orange prize-shortlisted author of <i>Foreign Bodies</i> Thrilling and profound, Kafka's Last Trial shines new light not only on the greatest writer of the twentieth century and the fate of his work, but also on the larger question of who owns art or has a right to claim guardianship of it . . . [Balint's] research and lively intelligence deliver insights on every page. -- Nicole Krauss Balint handles these complicated claims and counter-claims with great care. He has read widely in the literature about Kafka and provides a fascinating account of the Jewish world of early 20th century Prague, which formed Kafka and Brod . . . Above all, he brings Brod to life . . . Balint is an extremely interesting writer and critic. * Standpoint * Gripping and knotty. * New Statesman * The question of who owns Kafka is at the heart of Benjamin Balint's thought-provoking and assiduously researched Kafka's Last Trial. * Literary Review * Kafka's Last Trial is a legal and philosophical black comedy of the first order, complete, like all the best adventure stories, with a physical treasure to be won or lost . . . : the absurdity of our modern obsession with `authenticity' and `ownership' * Spectator * Dramatic and illuminating . . . raises momentous questions about nationality, religion, literature, and even the Holocaust. * The Atlantic * Absorbing . . . Not only does Mr Balint ask, Who owns Kafka? He explores the meaning of a writer's legacy in an age that, like Kafka's disorienting stories, puts identity and belonging in doubt. * The Economist * Balint's account of this saga is both a fine journalistic telling of that half century of courtroom drama, and a revealing examination of the writer and the relationships at its heart . . . Balint brings all of these forces and arguments to vivid life. * Observer * Balint fascinatingly examines how much was at stake for Germany and Israel in claiming Kafka as their man . . . [He] has minutely researched every twist and turn of this politico-legal saga, and tells it with even-handed seriousness. * Sunday Times * [A] fascinating and forensically scrupulous account of the history of Kafka's papers. -- John Banville * Guardian * A literary battle that became Kafkaesque . . . remarkable . . . I warmly recommend this deeply absorbing book. * Daily Telegraph *