The library administration was a labyrinthine structure of bureaucratic offices:

like atoms arranged in molecular clusters, themselves arrayed in crystals.

Official dealings with the library authorities, owing to the admirable

consistency of the offices involved, were simple and usually direct.

The authorities met Oscar Berg’s wishes in minor matters — and

so far nothing more was involved — meaning that they deprived

him of the chance of winning small, easy victories and

of the satisfaction that went with them and the well-justified

confidence that he would derive from embarking on other battles.

The inscrutable authorities indulged managers but thus undermined their assurance.

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Paraphrases from the novel The Castle by Franz Kafka.

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