immediate biography … In this moving, detailed
and fascinating biography, Kafka was a man who liked
a laugh… This is not a biography that merely
offers a different angle on the life of a great writer…on
the contrary, Dora's life is a remarkable one in itself,
a reflection of some of the greatest, and worst, moments
of the early 20th century… The death of Kafka
was just the beginning of the story for Dora –
and what an amazing story it is.”
||----- Sunday Herald,
July 20, 2003 (Scotland)
"Little has been written about Dora as a person,
and in this, the first biography, Kafka's Last Love,
Dora's namesake, Kathi Diamant aims to set the record
right. It is a remarkable tale, which crisscrosses
Europe from Poland to Germany and from Austria to
Russia, ending in England, where Dora spent her final
years. …Kathi Diamant astutely combines printed
and unpublished sources …to create a vivid and
coherent account. … In telling her extraordinary
tale, Kathi Diamant has written a clear and absorbing
book, which provides a fitting monument to a remarkable
||----- Jeremy Adler
in the Evening Standard, July 28, 2003 (London)
"Does half a year's cohabitation justify a biography?
If courage (amidst the Jews' 1930s nightmare) and
pathos are the measure, the answer is a resounding
yes. What's more, there is voluminous new material.
…She is a good historian, presenting a concise
and comprehensive summary of the deterioration of
the Weimar currency in the 1920s Berlin…she
illuminates a little-known and crucial time in Kafka's
life. Her book is deeply moving and will be of particular
interest to students of Yiddishist groups in Berlin,
London and Austria."
||----- Brenda Maddox
in Literary Review, August 2003 (London)
"Kathi Diamant (probably no relation) puts that
right. In doing so she has performed many mizvoth,
or good deeds: for Dora herself, for Kafka, and also
for literary biography, because she has not only cast
new light on a great writer, but written a good and
moving book in its own right. This biography is almost
too moving. …At the same time, Kafka's Last
Love is alive with vivid, contradictory humanity….
Diamant herself is a literary outsider, a former journalist
who writes colourful, journalistic prose…her
writing is clear and gripping, her research prodigious.
With this book both she and her beloved Dora must
surely emerge from the margins of Kafka scholarship."
||----- Carole Angier
in The Sunday Times of London, Aug 3, 2003
"As Diamant vividly shows,
Dora's connection with Kafka did not end with his
death. …After his death, Dora's life story becomes
a fascinating trajectory of the history of 20th-century
Europe….Kathi Diamant tells us all that happened
to Dora Diamant, and it is a fascinating story."
||----- The Telegraph,
August 9, 2003 (London)
"…a story which touches on 20th -century
history at some of its most inflamed points…
It would be possible to approach Kathi Diamant's book
as a kind of extended footnote to Kafka, but no one
is likely to think of it in those terms by the time
they have finished it. Dora is too interesting for
that, and too impressive. Her story was worth telling
on its own account, and Kathi Diamant has told it
||----- John Gross
in Sunday Telegraph, August 10, 2003
"Of all of Kafka's women, Dora is the most mysterious
as so little has been written about her. In this first
biography, Kathi Diamant remedies our ignorance of
this remarkable woman and offers a moving tribute
to her heroine. The author has researched prodigiously
among Gestapo files and declassified Comintern documents
held in Moscow. Using these and other unpublished
materials, she constructs a riveting tale of love
and war in coffee-house Europe. …This sad story,
for the most part beautifully told, offers an elegy
for a lost world as well as a memorial…."
||----- Ian Thomson
in The Observer August 11, 2003
"Their relationship would
last less than a year…but their love, for that
brief time, was idyllic. As far as Dora was concerned,
the memory of it was to dominate the rest of her life,
though as this painstakingly research biography shows,
she would have plenty to occupy her post-Kafka years….The
mystery of Dora is how, while so often managing to
be in the wrong place, she survived some the great
disasters of the 20th century: Nazi Germany, Stalinist
Russia, the Second World War."
||----- The Independent
on Sunday, 17 August 2003 (London)
"The preoccupation of
both writer and subject …meshes wonderfully
to produce a compelling biography which has something
profound to say about the wider world... with the
vast sweep of locations and the rhythmic beat of twentieth-century
history, Kafka's Last Love could have been an almost
melodramatic biography. There is war, tragedy and
deep, enduring love. But there is something even more
profound. The shadow of Kafka hung over Dora's life,
but it is more accurate to say that Kafka illuminates
the book. And this is Kathi Diamant's unalloyed triumph.
Kafkaesque is synonymous with a nightmare world of
oppression, guilt and fear. Yet both Diamant's subject
and author conspire to produce a more wonderful and
indeed a more convincing portrait of the writer."
--Hugh MacDonald in The Herald, August 18, 2003 (Scotland.)
"A welcome, well-written
addition to Kafka studies, valuable in its
portrayal of the writer as a human being, not a monument."
"Franz Kafka's story
is well known, Dora Diamant's is not. She was, as
title states, his "last love," and the author
(no relation), director of the
Kafka Project at San Diefo State University, has assiduously
traces of her subjects through personal recollections,
private papers and
newly opened archives in the former Soviet bloc."
"The remarkable story
continues in Moscow, London, San Francisco and Tel
Aviv, the far-flung points of dispersal of a family
caught in the maelstroms of fascism, communism and
"Kathi Diamant describes
a Franz Kafka far different from a grim,
inaccessible genius. "Kafka's Last Love"
illuminates the relationship
between the writer and Dora Diamant (no relation to
the author), the woman with whom he spent the last
year of his life."
||----- The New York
Times Book Review
"Kathi has performed
a demanding and heroic act of literary sleuthing to
piece together Dora's remarkable story."
account of their brief but intense time together
illuminates both Kafka's genius and Dora's joie de
vivre, and serves as
prelude to the traumas Dora faced after Kafka's death."
of Dora Diamant's extraordinary spirit has brought
many other treasures to light."
"Compelling told, this
rare biography is recommended for Kafka scholars as
well as for academic libraries with programs in Judaica
"Moving account of the
one-woman phenomenon who, among other things,
made the unhappy Franz Kafka's final year a little
story shines new light on Kafka's life and work, through
the prism of the life of Dora Diamant, the woman for
whom Kafka finally declared his independence from
his tyrannical father only a year before he died."
||----- The Star-Ledger,
"An improbably rich and
gracefully written tale..."
||----- The Washington
"This is only one gripping
story of many in a book written by a woman who is
not otherwise a scholar or a reader of literature,
but who has devoted the last 30 years of her life
to researching Dora Diamant, after a college professor
in 1971 interrupted his German literature class to
ask her if she was related to Kafka's last mistress.
She promised to find out and let him know. This is
the report some 30 plus years later, and it is a story
that goes far beyond Kafka and into the heartbreak
house of 20th-century Europe."
"For all that, she has
done a tireless and professional job of researching
Dora Diamant, scouring archives and conducting interviews
in England, Germany and Israel, and has written a
suspenseful book about Kafka and Dora that gives us
a cross-section of European history and a harrowing
account of lives lost and lives found. By following
her own muse and fascination, she has produced a powerful
and heartbreaking book."-