READER REPORT:

Kafka's The Trial

ANDY GILLIES
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Kafka standard
DOOMSAYER: Franz Kafka died in 1924, the year before The Trial was published.

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Touted as one of the best books of the 20th century, this novel by Franz Kafka was, well, underwhelming. I would suspect that Pte James Fraser (Dad's Army) had read it, as the phrase "we're doomed" is very appropriate!

Josef K, arrested on a charge he never knows, becomes the victim of The Court System. Whatever he does, he upsets some court official and is blocked in hopes to clear his name. Whether he's trying assert his innocence (is he, and what's the crime?) or trying to find out how the system works, he manages to make his situation worse.

The futility of trying to work against an intensely bureaucratic organisation is the main theme of the novel. In parts, it is reminiscent of Catch 22 and those moments are quite amusing, especially the advice of Tintorelli. The lesson of "it's who you know, not what you know" is clear as K learns that even the most minor of characters have greater influence on his trial than he does.

This book is a number of scenes, some bizarre, strung together with a splash of doom. Ultimately it left me feeling a bit let down. Not a book I would recommend you go out of your way to read.


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