The Trial

By: Franz Kafka
1925
Fiction
Rating: 3/5

The Trial

Oy.

Here’s where I admit that – English major though I may be – I have never before read anything by Kafka and am not even entirely certain what the adjective Kafkaesque means.

With that enormous caveat, I have no idea what to make of The Trial.

I can tell there’s something here, but I just don’t know what it is. The whole book is enigmatic and confusing and absurd.

The crime that leads to the eponymous trial is never named, the main character mysteriously does not have a last name, and a whole world of the “other” law is created. Characters pop up and disappear. Chapters are fragmentary and the book itself is unfinished.

There are episodes where nothing much at all happens, punctuated by intense, bewildering running around through the underbelly of the court system. Nothing ever makes sense. There is no reason, or even worse, there is the most twisted logic you’ve ever experienced. It is a world of vagueness.

There’s so much here. I don’t even know where to being.

I clearly need to take a class on Kafka.

Joseph K., the protagonist, is bewildered most of the book, and his bewilderment bleeds through to the reader. But unlike K., I have a hard time giving up the need for clarification in favor of an air of indifference. K. believes that his nonchalance is itself proof of his innocence and he therefore allows himself to be shrouded in confusion.

It’s wild. I don’t get it at all.

But I want to read more Kafka, so that’s saying something.

Have you read The Trial? Or what about Metamorphosis? What am I missing?

Somebody please lay it out for me.

 

******

 

Suggestions (only a few because like what):

(for philosophical absurdist literature)

No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre

The Stranger by Albert Camus

(for confusing literature)

Ulysses by James Joyce

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

(for more by Kafka)

The Judgement by Franz Kafka

Amerika by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka

 

Coming up:

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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