Franz Kafka was born in 1883 in Prague, where he lived most of his life. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including "The Metamorphosis," "The Judgment," and "The Stoker." He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels. At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn all his unpublished work. Brod overrode those wishes.
"In Kafka we have before us the modern mind splendidly trained for
the great game of pretending that the world it comprehends in
sterilized sobriety is the only and ultimate reality there is--yet
a mind living in sin with the soul of Abraham. Thus he knows two
things at once, and both with equal assurance: that there is no
God, and that there must be a God. It is the perspective of the
curse: the intellect dreaming of its dream of absolute freedom, and
the soul knowing of its terrible bondage."
"It is likely that these journals will be regarded as one of
[Kafka's] major literary works; his life and personality were
perfectly suited to the diary form, and in these pages he reveals
what he customarily hid from the world."
--The New Yorker