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Amerika: The Missing Person: A New Translation by Mark Harman Based on the Restored Text

Amerika: The Missing Person: A New Translation by Mark Harman Based on the Restored Text

Written by Franz Kafka

Narrated by George Guidall


Amerika: The Missing Person: A New Translation by Mark Harman Based on the Restored Text

Written by Franz Kafka

Narrated by George Guidall

ratings:
4/5 (51 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 10, 2009
ISBN:
9781596593626
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A Brilliant new translation of the great writer's least Kafkaesque novel, based on a German-language text that was produced by a team of international scholars and that is more faithful to Kafka's original manuscript than anything we have had before.
With the same expert balance of precision and nuance that marked his translation of Kafka's The Castle, the award-winning translator Mark Harman now restores the humor and particularity of language to Amerika. Here is the story of seventeen-year-old Karl Rossman, who, following a scandal involving a housemaid, is banished by his parents to America. With unquenchable optimism and in the company of two comic-sinister companions, he throws himself into misadventure after misadventure, eventually landing in Oklahoma, where a career in the theater beckons.
Like much of Kafka's work, Amerika remained unfinished at the time of his death. Though we can never know how Kafka planned to end the novel, Mark Harman's superb translation allows us to appreciate as closely as possible, what Kafka did commit to the page.
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 10, 2009
ISBN:
9781596593626
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Franz Kafka was born to Jewish parents in Bohemia in 1883. Kafka’s father was a luxury goods retailer who worked long hours and as a result never became close with his son. Kafka’s relationship with his father greatly influenced his later writing and directly informed his Brief an den Vater (Letter to His Father). Kafka had a thorough education and was fluent in both German and Czech. As a young man, he was hired to work at an insurance company where he was quickly promoted despite his desire to devote his time to writing rather than insurance. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote a great number of stories, letters, and essays, but burned the majority of his work before his death and requested that his friend Max Brod burn the rest. Brod, however, did not fulfill this request and published many of the works in the years following Kafka’s death of tuberculosis in 1924. Thus, most of Kafka’s works were published posthumously, and he did not live to see them recognized as some of the most important examples of literature of the twentieth century. Kafka’s works are considered among the most significant pieces of existentialist writing, and he is remembered for his poignant depictions of internal conflicts with alienation and oppression. Some of Kafka’s most famous works include The Metamorphosis, The Trial and The Castle.


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What people think about Amerika

4.0
51 ratings / 51 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Why was Joseph K taken, enough to keep you gripped. Luckily there is no such thing as rendition in these enlightened days!
  • (5/5)
    I read this for the first time at school in German for A level several decades ago now. The bleakness and fatalism had a profound effect on me as a rather Pollyanna-ish teenager, especially as I was also reading Camus for the first time.
    If I say I can still quote verbatim chunks from the book that should suggest the impact of it(and provide a tribute to my German teacher!).
    I think the effort of reading it in German meant I missed some of the surreal(albeit still bleak) humour first time round. I still wouldn't recommend it if you are depressed!
  • (2/5)
    I started reading this aaaages ago, and finally finished it by skimming through. I don't know what it is -- maybe the translation, maybe just Kafka's style -- but I found it more infuriating and frustrating than anything. I enjoyed the dark humour, but I don't think this style of completely absurd situation is for me, and I couldn't judge on the quality of Kafka's writing from this translation. Maybe if, someday, I learn German...

    It probably doesn't help that I'm in bed recovering from food poisoning, so perhaps you should take my opinion with a pinch of salt. Still, however important it is in a literary sense, I can't say I enjoyed it.
  • (4/5)
    It's saddening that such a wonderful criticism of bureaucracy has existed for a lesser amount of time than the bureaucracy it laments.
  • (5/5)
    I've always avoided literary criticism, introductions, translator's prefaces, and the like because I've often found them either stultifying or only tangentially connected to the work in question; I also don't like being told what to look for or think about. After reading a book, criticism can be interesting though. Anyway, as a result I have no idea what's proper or improper to think about Kafka or The Trial.

    So, a few uninformed thoughts as I'm still reading it.

    Existentialism has a bad habit of co-opting any work that can be even partially read as existentialist. Once that's done, and you know about it, it's difficult to read whatever it is without existentialism in mind.

    The simplest reading of The Trial is that K. is trapped in an overwhelming, soft tyranny of bureaucracy, as faceless as his accusers, who are also rather trapped in a self-perpetuating machine. Considering the environment Kafka lived in--Eastern Europe with its ancient, headless mob of anti-Semitism--and his background in law it's not unreasonable to think that he drew from the tortured circles of law and the creeping fear of unchecked, nameless depersonalization of totalitarianism and prejudice. Lost in a bureaucratic tangle of unfair power positions and esoteric rules is a fear most people can relate to.

    K.'s predicament reminded me somewhat of Survival in Auschwitz in that K., like Levi and other holocaust victims, was thrown into a sort of large scale social Darwinism. K. seems unfit.

    I constantly think of the book as a parable of humanity: birth is the unnamed crime, life is the defense, death is the trial. K.'s increasing inability to think rationally as he became obsessed by the proceedings, his instinctual turn toward immobility and sexual gratification, and his realization that he would be unable to account for every moment of his life all fit in. But I'm not big on that sort of thing and as I continue to read the book the idea will probably collapse. Law=God, bureaucracy=inept intercessor, K.=unable to autonomously leave the trap? Meh.

    Brilliant, especially from Block on, so brilliant as to almost ruin you for other books. Kafka's prose carries forward relentlessly without ever sacrificing subtlety.

    Block and the lawyer comprise a perverted deathbed.

    K.'s execution is handled exceptionally and tinged with a revelation withheld, if there is one to withhold. Reminiscent of the grandmother's death in O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find."

    Not my favorite novel of the 20th century, but certainly one of the best. The Trial seeps into your bones; if you read it it's with you for good.
  • (5/5)
    The Trial (tr. David Whiting). It's probably unwise to compete with the mountain of critical commentary known as "fortress Kafka" but I will give a first impression: dream-like, disjointed, modernist, hardly a plot. The writing is precise and realistic, like a court record - but events unfold in a terrifying nightmare that never ends. Throughout I was reminded of experiences at Wikipedia - anonymous people, unknown motives, unknowable systems, no escape, inability to control events and procedures and so on. I think the reason this story is so influential is because it is a mirror - the more one looks into it the more it looks back at you, offering endless possibility for interpretation. What an awful view on modernity. Mostly I found it an uncomfortable book (by design). I might try the Orson Welles adaptation as another approach, Welles thought it his best film. Update: The Orson Welles film is excellent, the sets are amazing, but like the book it is uncomfortable.
  • (5/5)
    K was accused of an undisclosed crime, based on a hidden law, by an unreachable court. Trying to uncover his crime, he encountered gatekeepers dedicated to blocking his eyes from not only the crime but also the law. At first, shocked or tickled by such a nightmare, the reader soon realized that his biases, prejudices and presumptions are those of K and that to the court administrators, K was the lunatic whose delusion had clouded his eyes. How could we be guilty of violating a law we don’t know of? How could there be a crime without a law? Perhaps K was guilty of holding onto such biases as logic and causality or merely of existing. Whether he understood the law or accepted the sentence, he couldn’t avoid the punishment just as a boy couldn’t avoid growing up.Locating the crime, the law or the court pales against our discovering the colored glasses with which we see the sea and the sky, the banknote and the meatloaf, Napoleon and Genghis Khan, or for that matter, the man or woman in the mirror. We created natural laws to rein in protons and electrons; we created civil laws to rein in John and Jane; we created ecclesiastical canons to rein in God. Then we organized these absolute truths to rein in our fears, hopes and humanity. So once in a while we should enjoy the shock as from The Trial and realize that we still could create absolute truths when we’re bored texting or twittering.
  • (3/5)
    This was quite a unique book in the way the author describes the events surrounding the main character. Very surreal in a way and you get the impression that the author is trying to show his impression of things in more ways than the direct occurrence of what he's writing about. It's not an easy read but I found many of the passages very interesting and absorbing.
  • (4/5)
    Great fear is waking up as K did, and finding yourself wrapped in a absurd trial. Pure horror novel, K searches truth, freedom and justice, only to find procrastination, condemn or apparent absolution. Even not women nor love could save him, as there was only corruption and seduction.
  • (1/5)
    Sorry, I didn't get it. One of the greatest writers of the early 20th century....beats me!!!
  • (5/5)
    When I first read Kafka’s The Trial I was fascinated. 40 years on I find it still as fascinating, the more so in fact, because I have had many years in the meantime to confirm how, despite its nightmarish qualities, it is a very realistic work. That is to say, it reflects very accurately the real world and the real hopes and fears we humans entertain every day.You’ll say that I speak for myself! and that not everyone is a neurotic, or is delusional or paranoid. True. But elements of The Trial apply to most people, although I suppose there may be some who never in their whole lives have been beset by a worry that has stayed with them a considerable time, and which has grown stronger and more insidious over that time. If there are people like that, I haven’t met them. And I’m not one of them!The novel is an almost clinical case study of the way an individual can be destroyed by circumstances beyond his control, especially when he begins by thinking that he CAN control events. One of the most affecting parts of the book is K’s early confidence that HE can take charge and wrap things up quickly. Hence his arrogance in addressing the ‘court, which is held in a very bizarre location: ‘He was given the number of the house where he had to go, it was a house in an outlying suburban street where he had never been before’.As regards the ‘court’ itself, all its musty, pedantic and beaurocratic nature comes through strongly and reminds one of the ‘circumlocution office’ in Dickens’s Little Dorrit. I am not aware that Kafka (1883-1924) knew anything of Dickens (1812-1870) and so this aspect of their work would seem to be an example of two extraordinary writers ‘zooming in’ on aspect of social organisation’ with equal extraordinary effect ( though maybe Kafka has a slight edge in ‘nightmarishness’?). Both have contributed their names to the language in the form of powerful adjectives.I have to say that this book has been a personal favorite with me over the years and when I said above that I find it ‘fascinating’ I am using the word its strict sense of ’attract or influence irresistibly’ Like everyone else, I have had some personal experience of situations in which one feels an overpowering sense of helplessness. Kafka’s device of having his character overcome by weakness and a sense of suffocation is extremely effective, not least because it reflects the actual psychosomatic symptoms that one often experiences in situation like this. There is too the feeling that anything one does will only make the situation worse, so the best idea would be to sit still and wait out events. But this is very hard to do because things may be getting worse anyway, and just BECAUSE one is doing nothing. And so perhaps one should intervene…And so on. A really fine novel, tightly written and extraordinarily perceptive of the human condition, and one which can never be ‘outdated’. The only true parallel in my reading that I can think of is Orwell’s 1984. Humour too, though of the dark kind.To use a word that is considerably overused and abused: The Trial is a work of genius. One of my all-time favourite novels. [Translated from the German - Der Prozess (published posthumously 1925) - by Willa and Edwin Muir (1936)].
  • (4/5)
    The Trial is a fascinating novel. One can take it in several different ways---for instance, as a quasi-surrealist satire on the early-20th century German legal system (which is unfortunately in some ways relevant to the early-21st century American reader), or as a proto-absurdist metaphysical parable.It was definitely not what I expected. I imagined it would largely be about, well, an actual trial, but the protagonist Josef K. never actually gets his final hearing, though a judgment is reached in his absence and his sentence carried out. The translator explains that this is because the German word for "trial" encompasses all the legal proceedings leading up to and surrounding what we would think of in English as the trial proper. So the book mainly follows K.'s utterly ineffectual attempts to navigate the legal system, though he never even manages to learn what crime he is accused of.Toward the end, a priest from the court tells K. a story (a parable within a parable, so to speak, though Kafka published it as an independent story) about a man who spends his whole life waiting outside his personal gateway into the Law, but never gains admittance through it. They then engage in a long discussion explicating it, which concludes with K.'s statement that "Lies are made into a universal system." Kafka immediately tells us that this was not his final judgment, because he was too tired to take in all the consequences of the story...but this qualification is perhaps an ironic one, since it is in fact the final statement K. gives about it, and considering K.'s own ultimate fate.Unlike Kafka's other unfinished novels (such as The Castle, which simply ends abruptly), The Trial is a complete story, Kafka just never revised it into a final form for publication. Still, it is for that reason among others probably the most readable of his major unfinished works (or, for that matter, of many of his finished ones).Breon Mitchell's translation of this edition is excellent as far as I can judge without being able to read the original myself, and his discussion of his principles and his version's difference from the previous translation is very illuminating, even of the meaning of the novel itself. And George Guidall is perfectly suited to the narration, so I would definitely recommend this audio edition as a good way to experience this strange, funny, sad, frightening novel.
  • (4/5)
    Good book, very well-written. The style of composition sterile, the story twisting and elaborating, the air suffocating, which serves the point well. Kafka is still beyond my grasp though =.= he makes me fall asleep.
  • (2/5)
    The idea of being unexpectedly arrested for unspecified crimes and hauled away to stand trial is one we’re used to from reading about totalitarian regimes in history, particularly over the past 100 years, and from the arts. “The Trial” was published in 1925, a year after Franz Kafka’s death, and presages that. There is a dark undercurrent knowing Kafka was a Jew in Prague shortly before Hitler would put the entire race on trial; Kafka didn’t live to see the Holocaust but his family did, and many of his relatives perished in concentration camps. This amplified the message and meaning of the book for me.The frustration of battling an unseen legal bureaucracy is a much darker take on “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens; here “K” is battling for his life. As Steiner puts it in the introduction to this edition, “To live is to be sentenced for living.” However, despite all that great existential darkness, as with “The Metamorphosis”, it’s a book I didn’t particularly enjoy or would recommend. It’s a bit like required reading, only less creative than “The Metamorphosis”, published posthumously and unfinished, and painfully longer … so if you want a book of Kafka’s to read, I would recommend it instead of “The Trial.”
  • (4/5)
    This is more difficult to review than Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis' as it is fragmented and incomplete, though, strangely, Kafka gave it an ending. In fact, everything is strange about the book, which is Kafka's intention - it's clear that he wants the reader to feel as disoriented as the 'hero' Josef K, a successful senior bank official who wakes up one morning to find his lodgings invaded by secretive policeman, come to inform him he is being arraigned for trial for some nameless crime.We never get to a trial as such, only a sort of preliminary hearing. The court and all its officials are housed in a tenement block in a poor part of town, where living quarters and offices of court are merged into one another or linked by mysterious corridors, some of which seem to open up unexpectedly, like a darker version of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. At K's office, too, bizarre scenes and exchanges take place at the opening of a door. It all contributes to a sense that nothing is quite what it seems, and everything is menace. We can't even be sure of K; all we know about him is by his own reckoning, and although he is, in the early stages of the book, very pleased with himself there are hints of character traits which are very unpleasant, not least his lecherous and vaguely misogynistic attitude to women.The power of the novel comes from K's growing obsession and sense of foreboding about the trial. We see him gradually disintegrate before us. The more he seeks to know the less he knows. The characters around him seem at once to know everything and nothing. The threat is claustrophobic and, like his supposed crime, nameless. The ending that Kafka gives us is ritualised and solemn - perhaps in the way that executions are universally, whether they be labelled 'legitimate' or 'illegitimate'. The symbolism is political, but the shiver is deeply and unforgettably personal.Reviewer David Wiliams writes a regular blog Writer in the North.
  • (2/5)
    If you are reading this book for a seminar class or for the pleasure of parsing a book length allegory, you will find plenty to amuse you in this classic 1925 German work. If, on the other hand, you are looking to lose yourself in a compelling fiction and hope to meet a realistic protagonist with whom you can identify, never mind.
  • (4/5)
    At least as I understood it, The Trial is a black comedy that contrasts the disconnectedness of individuals from larger societal agencies. As governments and corporations have become larger and more powerful, the world has become increasingly Kafkaesque, surreal and full of bewildering mini-trials to accompany their big-brother trials. Humans evolved under social conditions where tribal elders were accessible, but mass culture leaves people isolated without power, and unable to form relationships of reciprocal influence. Kafka portrays all this in a way that reveals the absurdity of the modern individual's plight.
  • (3/5)
    This novel is ok. The plot is interesting, but one thing that kept bothering me is why didn't Joseph K. really push to find out what the charges against him were. It seems to me that if you are arrested, the first thing to do would be to find out why before spending all your time working on a defense. I think part of the problem with this book is that it was unfinished. I doubt that Kafka would be in any way happy with it as it stands today, especially after reading the appendix (which is definitely a bonus for this edition). The appendix includes deleted sections, deleted/unfinished chapters, prefaces to earlier editions, and some diary entries of Kafka from around the time he was writing this book.
  • (4/5)
    The only other piece that I've read by Kafka is "Metamorphosis" which is not one of my favorites, even though I can see its literary merits. I wasn't sure what to expect when reading this book, and probably never would have picked it up if it weren't for the group read in which I was participating. Now I'm grateful for that push, because the book was an intense reading experience, quite different from his famous short story, and a good indicator of Kafka's style. I never really knew what "kafka-esque" meant before now.The story is about a man who is accused of a crime, prosecuted, and sentenced, but in this strange totalitarian society, it's not as simple as it seems. First of all, he never learns what his crime is supposed to be. In fact, when he tries to question the police officers he is branded as being difficult and resistant to arrest. As he proceeds through the various ranks of individuals connected to this judicial system, he is constantly told to do what is right, but chastised when he asks what the right thing to do is, and the only clear answer is that what is right, according to law, is not necessarily morally good. In fact, in the first half of the book I was outraged on his behalf, because so many unjust things occur to him or around him.As the story continues, though, the absurdity of this society K lives in becomes so overwhelming that I stopped being angry. The settings start to take on a surreal slant, and it's hard to believe that this is representing any real location anymore. For instance, the important judicial offices are located in the lowest slums, up endless staircases and down dark hallways, until you stumble upon a crowded and dirty court room that can determine the fate of a man's life. Or the scene where a man tosses a woman over his shoulder and runs off, and K follows in pursuit, trying to fight him and discussing his case, all while this guy is still running with a woman on his back.That scene was too bizarre. Eventually, images of endless hallways and shifting stairways filled my head. It all had a surreal feel of one of those labyrinths where the walkways are constantly shifting, representing the endless bureaucracy of this society that is a bewildering maze. Then there was the behavior of K himself. His attitude towards women was rather horrid. I began to wonder if he hadn't done something wrong, after all, and we the readers were being kept in the dark. Maybe, on the other hand, I was succumbing to the system just as K did: he offered resistance to the injustice at first, and gradually accepted that he had to play by heir rules if he hoped to be saved; I was outraged at everything initially, and then began to question whether K wasn't guilty after all. Regardless of his blame, though, the fact remains that the way the judicial system treated him was unjust and ridiculous. This book is a scything indictment on totalitarian communities, and actually, on every society, actually, where the political system has built enough layers of bureaucracy and pointless policies to be an impasse to the common man. This tale of a man helpless to escape his fate against unknown and faceless enemies is not an uplifting read, but nevertheless a fascinating one.
  • (5/5)
    Kafka's clever take on complex beauracracy is a fascinating if challenging read. Waiting to have the crime he is accused of revealed as we read is in itself a ploy that leads to the reader experiencing a small measure of the ever increasing frustration and bewilderment that the character is experiencing. My first read of a Kafka novel, and now a confirmed fan.
  • (5/5)
    It's funny because it's true
  • (3/5)
    On his 30th birthday, Josef K. finds two strange men in his home who insist that he is under arrest, although they cannot name the charge. By the end of the day, he is released from their custody and is told he can go about his regular day-to-day business, although he is still under arrest. Sometime later, he goes to his preliminary hearing in a meeting room buried away in tenement housing in a poor section of the city. As time goes by, he meets people of various connections to this secret court and even visits the court offices tucked away in attic rooms. K. also retains a lawyer, although this secret court technically frowns upon the accused having a defense. Despite all he learns about the court (which is mostly confusing and absurd assertions about the court’s ridiculous proceedings), K. is never able to learn the cause for his arrest. Eventually he is convicted without the benefit of an actual trial, despite the novel’s title. This posthumously published novel was never entirely finished by Kafka, which perhaps explains why I found some of the middle to be tedious ramblings while the ending rushed up all of a sudden out of the blue. I found the beginning to be humorous (in a dark way) although as I read on, the middle parts seemed to drag at times. Unlike with Gregor in The Metamorphosis, which I loved, I could not dredge up much sympathy for K. because he was such an obnoxious character. Also unlike The Metamorphosis, which I felt I understood, this book just seemed a little too out there. I got some of the symbolism, but a lot of the time I just felt like I was missing something. All in all, I’m glad I finally read this classic, but I wasn’t a huge fan.
  • (2/5)
    I’ve come to the conclusion that the word “kafkaesque” has been abused by our society, most notably by pseudo-intellectuals describing any concept they feel is beyond the scope of one’s understanding. Do me a favor, the next time someone uses the word improperly, kick that person in his/her junk. It seems to me that the term carries with it characteristics that extend beyond the bizarre. I understand that the definition is rather fluid, but it should be held to some sort of standard. It’s sort of like children learning to talk. They see a dog and learn the word, then use it to describe a cow. Your dream was probably just weird. Your boss is probably just illogical. You probably pressed the wrong number on the telephone menu. You’re probably just unhappy that Democrats have control of the White House.Here’s what I think. Based on the book I read, I think that in order for something to be “kafkaesque,” a few rules must be followed:1)One must be faced with a situation in which he/she doesn’t know how to proceed2)One must not be able to see what is going to happen to him/her next3)There is no chance for the the person involved to escape his/her present situation4)Control of the situation remains in the hands of intangible, illogical forcesWhen I read more Kafka, I may revise these standards. But, for now, these words will be law. If you dislike them, please file a petition with the court.And on to the book…For the most part, it was boring. It was a tale of frustration with bureaucracy. A completely strange bureaucracy, but a bureaucracy nonetheless. I took a lot for me to trudge through it. The events struck me as interesting, but not enthralling. I really enjoyed the piece where K. converses about his case to the priest. I liked the implications of the priest’s various analyses of the story he told to K. It was at this point that I realized how K.’s rigidity was impacting his case and likely would result in his demise. I also enjoyed the end. Throughout the book, I dismissed the court as inconsequential. However, the final display of the court’s power was very surprising to me. I don’t know if I’d recommend this to anyone. I’m glad I read it, but I’m also glad I’ve finished with it.
  • (3/5)
    There was something about this book that kept me from connecting with it in an emotional way, perhaps if this is a life experience that you can relate to on a personal level this story would quickly entice you, if not there is no real structural criticism to novel that is overtly distracting. Yet I found myself wandering and wondering subconsciously if there were allusions or aphorisms that i was not privilege too. This is still an excellent read, don't over think it.
  • (4/5)
    This is the third work I've read from Kafka (after The Metamorphosis and The Hunger Artist). I enjoyed the other two more, but I think The Trial had some things stacked against it. First, it was uncompleted, or maybe just the revisions Kafka might have undertaken had been left undone. Second, I feel it was a much more intricate work than the prior two. Parts of this novel seem to hint at religion. Especially the parable about the man and the guard at the door. Can it be that K is in purgatory? It seems like that answer would fit so nicely into the story. I haven't read the reviews of others on this yet, but I'm sure someone else has advanced that idea. If that's the case, you have my total endorsement!In my copy of the book, I have a pro and con. The con is the preface - I have a big problem with prefaces going into plot details of the book. Chances are, the author provides those plot details better than the individual introducing - let the author do his or her job! I don't want a spoiler at the beginning of a book. Discuss plots and so forth at the end of the book to avoid creating a bias or stunting critical thinking. I usually read EVERYTHING in a book - fly leaf, about the author, even the paragraph about the typeset - but I skipped the preface when I started picking up on some spoiler info and I decided not to return to it because I was annoyed.That being said, I did read the notes after the story ended and I read sections that had been deleted by Kafka or portions that had been taken out following his death because a chapter was unfinished. This was great to read - for the deleted materials, I saw a glimpse of an even better novel had he time to polish the final work. For the additional information about Kafka from his friend, it's always interesting to me to read about how close to oblivion particular great works were at one time or other. Kafka's works apparently were close - or in some cases, they were destroyed. That puts them up there with the near demise of Bram Stoker's Dracula and (ok maybe this is a stretch, but it's near and dear to my heart) Wilson Rawl's Where the Red Fern Grows.
  • (4/5)
    The Trial begins with the arrest of Joseph K., an unremarkable citizen who seemingly hasn't done anything to deserve it. He attempts to navigate a legal system that follows no rules or logic whatsoever, and finds himself foiled as there as nobody with sufficient authority to overturn or even influence his case.Kafka is the master of surrealism, which can be fascinating and frustrating by turns to read. But the incoherence of the plot makes its own point, a distinct criticism on the inscrutable nature and dynamics of persecution. Fascinating book, I'm really glad I finally picked it up.
  • (5/5)
    "all good fiction does not necessarily depict reality as much as it uncovers truth." Dark Comedy and Dead seriously - Its a Journey -- a rough trip. The moral of the story, to elaborate a cliche', is that it's only futile to resist when you have no idea what you're resisting. --"The Trial", I am intrigued by the mind that conceived it... "Kafka" -- an absurd mystery that literally trips itself up. But uncovers a Truth ... as just as many, he doesn't know how to defend himself, or get any information about his trial. Abstract, however, a fascinating account of the modern human condition.
  • (5/5)
    He didn't live to finish and edit this, but nonetheless you can see just from The Trial that Kafka's was the seminal imagination of the last century, not Beckett or Joyce. In fact Beckett is very indebted to him.
  • (1/5)
    I hated this book. I know it's all meaningful and symbolic, but I hated the main character so much that I didn't care what happened to him! I kept dragging my feet on finishing this book and had to force myself to finish. Well, I'm done. Glad that's over.
  • (5/5)
    I'm not quite sure what this novel was meant to be, is it a satire of the legal system or the fascist state, a psychological novel composed around a purposely incomprehensible conspiracy, a religious or philosophical allegory, or none or all of these things? Whatever it was meant to be, the story has very much the feel of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, sharing the confusion and surreality of the plot, while all the while the reader cannot ignore the background impetus toward something happening, something that is going to be at least a little bit shocking. It also reminded me of Borges' short stories, where profound and paradoxical ideas are combined with plain but expert writing to produce a story that is not only memorable but thought provoking and entertaining.