Personal and Powerful Passages Feed a Read

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

Kafka on the Tyne George Roddam Currie (www.feedaread.com)

ESTABLISHED with Arts Council funding, Feed A Read describes itself as an independent publisher offering opportunities for all writers. It publishes wide-ranging work and is something of a test bed for budding writers.

George Currie's Feed A Read book is intensely personal and idiosyncratic, its narrative broken up by myriad diversions and authorial interventions. I found it engaging and baffling in equal measure. Powerful passages characterised by pain and authentic emotion are interspersed by others which seem like red herrings. There's a certain caustic, self-deprecating wit which becomes increasingly understandable.

George, who was born in the North East and lives in Newcastle, tells his life story in unconventional style. That he claims the writer Franz Kafka as his companion will intrigue some and sound alarm bells for those who like things straightforward.

Kafka, whose name spawned the adjective Kafkaesque (one definition says "marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity"), was born in Prague in 1883 into a family of German-speaking Jews.

He wrote extraordinary yet perceptive things (The Trial, The Metamorphosis among them) and died young. …