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The Trial by Franz Kafka
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The Trial (original 1925; edition 1995)

by Franz Kafka

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12,471129194 (4.03)420
Member:HydrogenGuy
Title:The Trial
Authors:Franz Kafka
Info:Schocken (1995), Edition: Definitive, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction, post-modern, surrealism, you are number 6

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The Trial by Franz Kafka (1925)

1001 (68) 1001 books (65) 20th century (207) absurdism (45) bureaucracy (58) classic (252) classics (178) Czech (134) Czech literature (107) dystopia (70) existentialism (213) fiction (1,426) Folio Society (32) Franz Kafka (48) German (237) German literature (289) Kafka (169) law (46) literature (430) modernism (43) novel (361) own (47) philosophy (73) read (133) Roman (102) surrealism (68) to-read (154) translated (41) translation (77) unread (76)
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» See also 420 mentions

English (105)  Italian (5)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
Re-reading The Trial in the Breon Mitchell translation of the restored edition was a big improvement over the original Muirs' translation. Although I still prefer Kafka's shorter, published work like The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony and The Hunger Artist, all of which seem perfect to me while The Trial has a lot of rougher edges. One can only wonder what Kafka would have done with them if he actually published the work.

This reading of The Trial also had considerably more farce and humor, especially in all of the descriptions of minutiae, and felt more like a successor to Gogol than I had previously remembered. And it is also a reminder that just about everything that anyone terms Kafkaesque is capturing at most one or two facets of the very multidimensional, strange original combination that Kafka himself provided. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading the rough draft for the film “Brazil” while reading Franz Kafka’s [The Trial] – there are few matches for the absurdity and eccentricity of Kafka’s story. A man awakes to find that he is under arrest and in the custody of unnamed government agents for unknowable offenses. He wades into a shadowy world, with courts convened in attics and whippings meted out in closets. With guilt assumed, rather than innocence, the inevitability and frustration of the man’s life is palpable – Kafka seems to have peered beyond the veil into industrial, consumer ridden bureaucracy, and he has described a life that easily could have been lived in our time. Sadly, I saw scenes from my own life and job in this novel.

Bottom Line: “Brazil”-like absurdity, though dangerously close to absurd scenes of modern life.

4 bones!!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | May 14, 2014 |
Although confusing and rather abstract, requiring deeper concentration than most books, The Trial is a rough draft masterpiece. One only has to wonder what might have come of it had Kafka actually finished the work to his satisfaction. ( )
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
This is a nearly flawless audiobook, read in a mostly dry tone that is both funny and creepy, which I imagine was what Kafka was going for in this his iconic work. Hell may be the absence of reason. But Hell can have a reason all its own, which we discover too late. ( )
  byebyelibrary | Apr 7, 2014 |

I have mixed feelings about reading Kafka's unfinished novels. On one hand, I find it fascinating to read anything the man wrote, no matter its state of polish. Yet it's disconcerting to read something that also feels so incomplete. Unlike Amerika (another abandoned work), this novel's ending arrives with some sense of finality. However, Kafka had not numbered the chapters so what we are left with is the order that Max Brod pieced together from his memories of conversations with Kafka. Certainly there are flashes of brilliance in here, as well as snatches of Kafka's wry humor, but there are also chapters that end suddenly in the middle of a scene, and characters that disappear into the book's ether, never to rise again, despite their initial implied importance. Considering the level of Kafka's skill and the dedication welding him to his craft, the book clearly would've been better if it had been finished (hence the 3 stars).

We all know the story of how Kafka left a note instructing Brod to burn as much of his work as he could gather. If Brod had followed through, we never would've known the fullest depths of Kafka's genius. He might've been known solely for The Metamorphosis, a book for which possibly a good percentage of the world still only knows him by. It was, after all, one of only a tiny handful of stories that Kafka did not request to be burned. The ethics with which Brod operated may have been questionable (although he did not publish all of Kafka's work, so he did show some discretion), but many writers are critical of their own work to a crippling fault and Kafka certainly ranks among the most afflicted in this regard. So I can't say that if I'd been in Brod's position, sifting through these manuscripts, I wouldn't have thought of the greater good likely to come from sharing them with the world.

At the back of the edition I read is a collection of Kafka's journal entries from the period when he was writing The Trial. This man who took self-loathing to a celestial level poured all of his leaden soul into his work, and these entries are hot jagged cuts of anguish describing his writing process. Coming at the end of the book they are almost torturous to read, as they made me question all over again how Kafka himself would feel about us reading these unfinished works. If we are to believe Brod, though, Kafka often later felt good about publications that Brod had literally badgered him into agreeing to. Perhaps all self-hating writers need an aggressive champion willing to do the promotion that they themselves are so grossly incapable of. Answering the question of how Kafka would truly feel about all of this is of course next to impossible, and as I don't anticipate ever answering it I will simply keep reading... ( )
1 vote S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (613 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kafka, Franzprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parry, IdrisTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brod, MaxEpiloguesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brod, MaxEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butler, E. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrater, GabrielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fosshag, BengtIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hermsdorf, KlausAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koch, Hans-GerdEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kurpershoek, TheoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lambourne, NigelPhotogrammessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, EdwinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, WillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nahuys, Alice vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salter, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simojoki, AukustiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zampa, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.
Jemand mußte Josef K. verleumdet haben, denn ohne daß er etwas Böses getan hätte, wurde er eines Morgens verhaftet.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805209999, Paperback)

The story of The Trial's publication is almost as fascinating as the novel itself. Kafka intended his parable of alienation in a mysterious bureaucracy to be burned, along with the rest of his diaries and manuscripts, after his death in 1924. Yet his friend Max Brod pressed forward to prepare The Trial and the rest of his papers for publication. When the Nazis came to power, publication of Jewish writers such as Kafka was forbidden; Kafka's writings, many of which have distinctively Jewish themes, did not find a broad audience until after World War II. (Hannah Arendt once observed that although "during his lifetime he could not make a decent living, [Kafka] will now keep generations of intellectuals both gainfully employed and well-fed.") Among the current crop of Kafka heirs is Breon Mitchell, the translator of this edition of The Trial. Rather than tidying up Kafka's unconventional grammar and punctuation (as previous translators have done), Mitchell captures the loose, uneasy, even uncomfortable constructions of Kafka's original story. His translation technique is the only way to convey the comedy and confusion of this narrative, in which Josef K., "without having done anything truly wrong," is arrested, tried, convicted and executed--on a charge that is never disclosed to him. --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:36 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A new edition of Kafka's classic work--certain to become the new standard.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 15 descriptions

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Audible.com

Six editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182903, 0141194715

 

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