Franz Kafka (1883-1924), one of the greatest writers of all time, was a German language writer. He spent a disturbed early life, mainly on account of a selfish and domineering father, which, nevertheless, helped shape his literature and he gave us such masterpieces as The Trial, Metamorphosis and In the Penal Colony. His novels and short stories are considered a blend of realism and fantasy and frequently explore the themes of guilt, alienation and existential anxiety. His letters are another literary marvel. Kafka burnt about 90% of his work. Of what survived only a little was published during his life and the rest was published posthumously. Many of his writings including his novel Amerika remained unfinished when he died prematurely at the age of 40.