, June 2011
In Kafka’s iconic novel, bank functionary Josef K., arrested on unspecified charges, is swallowed up by a bizarre legal system with incomprehensible motives and purposes—a mix of Carrollian absurdity, Eastern European oppression, and nightmare. Rupert Degas’s voice acting is understated and telling. His tones are varied and expressive, but appropriately grayed or minor keyed, giving the impression of an intimate, dreamlike, and vaguely threatening whisper. The reading is very British—with names pronounced as German (with an excellent accent), including K. pronounced as “KAH.” That choice, while linguistically correct, may result in listeners missing the significance of Kafka’s choice of the initial “K,” as displayed in text. Still, the fine blend of performance and text is a menacing, seductive cocktail.