The Trial by Franz Kafka

Posted August 20, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic / 0 Comments

The Trial by Franz KafkaTitle: The Trial (Goodreads)
Author: Franz Kafka
Translator: Willa Muir
Published: Vintage, 1925
Pages: 224
Genres: Classic
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I decided to read The Trial was because I saw that next week’s lecture made reference to this book as well as Orwell’s 1984. These books weren’t required reading but I’ve read 1984 and I thought it would be a good excuse to read The Trial, because I’m pretentious like that. I really enjoyed Kafka’s The Metamorphosis so I was excited to have an excuse to read his famous unfinished novel. The Trial tells the story of Josef; a chief financial officer for a bank who finds himself being arrested and prosecuted by the authorities. The twist in the book is that the nature of his crime is never revealed to the accused or the reader.

Kafka appears to like to write philosophical novels; in The Metamorphosis he explored the idea of human identity and social acceptance. With The Trial, I get the feeling maybe this is a look at religion and the idea that life is just a big trial. Or maybe this is just an existential novel. In any case there are a lot of different aspects this book offers for exploration and these books were you can pull out different interpretations are often books I tend to love.

This is a quick read and now that I’ve read my second Kafka novel, I now understand his appeal. I’m not sure what to read next but I can’t wait to explore some more of his works. Like many classics the descriptive prose’s takes you away and you just find yourself being immersed in the story. This helps with a book that really requires your full focus.

Overall I’m satisfied with the ending of this unfinished novel, the last chapter does feel like it brings the story to an end but I can’t help but wonder where Kafka would have gone next. There was a bit of inconsistency throughout this book, with the timing and narrative but this never seemed to be a problem, it just added to the dark and gloominess of this novel. If you’ve not read Kafka, I highly recommend you give him a go, there is such a joy in reading a novel like this.

0 responses to “The Trial by Franz Kafka

  1. Arie Stotle

    I must admit that I’ve not read any Kafka… but you have me intrigued. I kind of like that it was unfinished… did you come up with an ultimate conclusion, or do the final pages point you in a particular direction?

  2. I read this years ago and I didn’t realize that it was unfinished! I’ll probably read it again…it’s on my list of 50. So I’ll see what the “adult” me thinks about it. Good review!

  3. Honor

    I love this book! I agree – it’s the kind of book you could spend endless amounts of time reading into in different ways.

    Although the book is unfinished, I believe he did actually plan it end with that last scene. Kafka considered it unfinished because he had planned to add to the earlier parts the book, which explains the inconsistancies. But I agree – I think they add something to the novel rather than take away from it. I think Metamorphis is definitely next on my list 🙂

    (I also did a review of The Trial if you’re interested –

  4. Ben

    I really liked The Trial as well. I wondered if Josef K’s “trial” is experienced by all people. Everyone dies…can’t escape it. We obsess over why…religiously, subconsciously, etc. What did we do to deserve it? What are we on trial for? Why are we all inevitably convicted and sentenced to death? Those were my thoughts…

  5. Joseph Fountain

    I didn’t love this, but it is an intriguing glimpse of Kafka’s worldview. Nice review.

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