Two longer works, "The Burrow" and "In the Penal Colony," have been included in this collection, and they are substantive and moody explorations of political control and paranoia. "The Burrow" reads like a sick version of a Dr. Seuss tale, with a rodent constructing an elaborate series of tunnels to hoard its food, guard against intruders, and also hide from predators. "In the Penal Colony" is a sort of horror history with a nameless officer trying to convince a traveler about the utility of an elaborate and bloody public execution machine.
Otherwise, most of the tales in this book are relatively short, about 5-6 pages in length. They show people in various strained situations, often isolated or alienated by the powers-that-be. These powers are often capricious and draconian, resulting in injustice and unhappiness. For instance, in "The Helmsman" the man steering a ship is overcome and overthrown by a larger man who then assumes control of the boat. He attempts to assemble the rest of the passengers to address the situation and retake his place as pilot, but they don't care. They just accept the new helmsman without any resistance.
Peter Kuper, the artist who has adapted these works is no stranger to Kafka, having done a graphic adaption of The Metamorphosis. He also published a few of these Kafka tales in his 1995 collection Give it Up! And Other Short Stories. Kuper has long had an interest in political causes and drawing socially charged cartoons. He co-founded the political comix magazine World War 3 Illustrated in 1980 and has also adapted the muckraking classic The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. A successful commercial artist, Kuper also has published work in a number of high profile magazines and currently draws the Spy Vs. Spy feature in Mad Magazine. He speaks about his work on Kafkaesque in this interview.
All of the reviews I have read have praised the book. Kirkus Reviews summed up, "A richly innovative interpretation that honors the source while expanding the material." Publishers Weekly concluded, "Kafka’s timeless work has never hit so hard, nor more artfully." Rich Barrett wrote, "Kuper creates an accessible gateway for Kafka amateurs and a varied sampling that may surprise you and possibly expand your own definition of what constitutes something as being 'Kafkaesque.'"
Kafkaesque was published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., and they offer more info about it here.
The publisher provided a review copy.