January reading in cool rooms includes an irresistible return to Kafka, his challenged reactions to ancient myth. He rewrites Poseidon, Prometheus to make them his own, then adds further versions. Moses, Elijah, Franz argues with them in the Jewish Quarter. Habsburg manners too, emperors and interrogators turn into their opposite numbers. The pages of my Penguin (1988) are russet edges and oatmeal brown centres. I challenge his reactions, how to deal with the myth of a Prague Jew writing in German? Laughter comes from irritation, wonder out of despair. In his version, the sirens’ silence is terrifying as their song.