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Friday, September 19, 2014

The Trial (1925) by Franz Kafka

Orson Welles did a movie version of The Trial, by Franz Kafka

Book Review
The Trial (1925)
by Franz Kafka

   Hard to figure how Kafka gets three titles into 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and none of them are The Metamorphosis or The Hunger Artist.  I'm under the impression that every high school student in the western world reads The Metamorphosis in high school.  Maybe just my high school?  The book I checked out from the library had The Castle and The Trial in the same volume, with The Castle (published in 1926) first and The Trial (published in 1925) second. It's easy to see why you read the two novels in the same volume: They are both in an unfinished state, and they have stylistic and thematic similarities.  Oh, and the main character in The Castle is called K. and the main character in The Trial is Josef K.

  I would argue that The Castle, with its self-contained snowy village and remote and inaccessible castle, is more fully realized as a locale then the nameless city of The Trial.  That said, as a criminal defense lawyer (Kafka was trained as a lawyer) the nameless criminal trial facing Josef K. struck a resonant chord with me personally.  The idea of being dragged into an endless cycle of criminal charges with no resolution is a fair description of the story of my professional career.  I regularly represent clients that have cases that go on for years at a time, so only the ending of The Trial (Josef K. has his throat slit.) came as a surprise. 

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