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The Trial

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  98,263 ratings  ·  2,678 reviews
Written in 1914 but not published until 1925, a year after Kafka’s death, The Trial is the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published April 9th 2001 by Vintage Classics (first published 1925)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
Kafka is tough.
Kafka doesn’t play and he doesn’t take prisoners.
His "in your grill" message of the cruel, incomprehensibility of life and the powerlessness of the individual is unequivocal, harsh and applied with the callous dispassion of a sadist.

Life sucks and then you die, alone, confused and without ever having the slightest conception of the great big WHY.

Fun huh?

Finishing The Trial I was left bewildered and emotionally distant, like my feelings were stuck looking out into the middle di...more
Aubrey
Has this ever happened to you? You're chugging your way through a book at a decent pace, it's down to the last legs, you've decided on the good ol' four star rating, it's true that it had some really good parts but ultimately you can't say that it was particularly amazing. And all of the sudden the last part slams into your face, you're knocked sprawling on your ass by the weight of the words spiraling around your head in a merry go round of pure literary power, and you swear the book is whisper...more
Manny
The tortured bureaucratic world described in The Trial always strikes me as startlingly modern. I wondered

How The Trial might have started if Kafka had been an academic writing in 2010

K's latest conference paper had been rejected, and now he sat in front of his laptop and read through the referees' comments. One of them, evidently not a native speaker of English, had sent a page of well-meaning advice, though K was unsure whether he understood his recommendations. The second referee had only wri...more
Dan Schwent
On his thirtieth birthday, bank employee Josef K. is arrested for an unknown crime and prosecuted on certain Sundays by an unknown agency.

Yeah, that's a pretty vague teaser but how else do you drag someone into The Trial?

On the surface, The Trial is an absurd legal drama that nicely illustrates how inept bureaucracy can be. However, my little gray cells tell me that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Trial seems to be about how incomprehensible and absurd life can be at times. I don't think it's...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Look at Joseph K., a bank officer living in a country with a constitution. He wakes up one day with strange men in his apartment telling him he's under arrest. Why or for what offense, no one knows. The arresting officers themselves don't know and can't tell him. Even if he's under arrest, however, no one picks him up or locks him in jail. He can still go to his office, work, perform his customary daily chores, and do whatever he wants to do as he awaits his trial. But he is understandably anxio...more
Kinga
Kafka's Trial is one of those books that are always present in cultural sphere and referenced ad nauseum. Despite never having read Kafka before I am quite sure I used the word 'Kafkaesque' on many occasions and maintained a semi-eloquent conversation about 'The Trial'.
I could've probably done without ever reading it but recently I resolved to take my literary pursuits seriously and since books seem to be the only thing in this world I truly care for I might as well take it to another level.

'The...more
Huda Yahya


تخيل معي للحظة أن ماكس برود -ناشر كتب كافكا ‏
قد قام بحرق جميع كتبه بناءً على وصيته‏
هل كان ممكنًا لعالم القراء تخيل مكتبة كونية
‏ لا تحوي خلاصة الكافاكاوية بها ؟
إن طلب كافكا المجنون ببساطة يستكمل رحلته الحياتية ‏
وفلسفته الخاصة كما يليق بها كروح عدمية ‏
وما فعله ماكس برود – ليرقد في سلام أينما كان ‏
هو ما يليق بكاتب عظيم وروح شفافة‏
‏ كان ليخلو عالم الأدب منها إن نفذ تلك الوصية

;;;;;;;;



ذهب القفص يبحث عن عصفور
!
ـــــــــــــــ

تتناول الرواية الشهيرة مشكلة السلطة العليا
وقد أولها الكثيرون إلى الأب الذي عان
...more
Fil
First, a quick summary of this horrible, horrible novel. Some jackass gets arrested, he does things you would not do, sees people you would not see and has thoughts you would not have. After that, a priest and a parable then, mercifully, the end.

Now my thoughts. K. is a pompous ass with a very important job - to him. The bureaucrats are the best part of the whole story, all job description, no brains (like now!). K's uncle, lawyer and landlady are very forgettable. Fräulein Bürstner is intriguin...more
Kaph
Verdict: A tome of existentialist tripe so bleak and pointless there isn’t even a trial.

There comes a point in the evolution all art; visual, literary, musical, wherein those who create it eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and become too self aware. ‘Look at this medium,’ they proclaim. ‘We have been following rules, society imposed rules limiting what our work can be, limiting what *we* can be!’ It shines suddenly and clearly before them, conventions that were never questioned are...more
Holly
Sometimes when book bothers me, I read more by the same auther to develope my sense of the author's style and personality. This book, however, did the opposite, after finishing it I had the same thought, "this is brillian but why does the author write such fantastical situations." I finally "get" this guys genius after I read a quote in a book I am reading now that says, "all good fiction does not necessarily depict reality as much as it uncovers truth." FINALLY, I got it. I get Kafka and can mo...more
Haines
"The Trial" is funny. If you read it as a comedy, it's not only more entertaining, it's far more frightening. Dark Comedy. 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. We never know what K did wrong, and neither did he, and the whole thing is just an absurd mystery that trips itself up sentence by sentence. There are banana peels strewn all over this book and the slapstick is existential rather than vaudevillian....more
Emilian Kasemi
Just the part where K. discusses with the priest the fable (a parable of his situation which has been published separately as a short story; "Before the Law") deserves not 5 but a hundred stars! The same with the end of the book, one of the best I've read. Apart from that I have to admit that I found it a little boring and totally frustrating in many parts. In any Kafka's work I always feel anxious and in a state of bewilderment. He is a master in this and his stories maintain in the reader this...more
Jonathan
Before you read my old initial review here's a summary that has been distilled over time in my mind:

Franz Kafka was a true genius. What is this sign of genius? When you can write a classic novel that wasn't even properly completed.


I read The Trial to give myself a better perspective on Kafka's writing style for my literature course. I can perceive similarities to his Metamorphosis but in many aspects this is a completely different work. However they are both challenging pieces with complex idea...more
Mohamed Elshawaf
مُحيّرة...
ــ
هل تعرف أن كافكا كتبها فى ليلة واحدة من العاشرة مساءًا حتى السادسة صباحاً، المقطوعات الفنية الفريدة فقط هى التى لها مثل هذه السّمة!
مُحيّرة، فماذا أراد بها كافكا!

لأديب يكتب رواية مثل هذه فى ليلة واحدة دون انقطاع، فإنى لا أشك أنه نفسه لا يعرف مدى رمزيتها وماذا أراد بها، فهو –مؤكد- لم يرسم الشخصيات ولم يوزع أدوارها فى الشكل النمطىّ المعهود ولا استخدم المسودات.. لأن كل هذا العمل الروتينى الرتيب يستغرق وقتاً ويستهلك من الروح الإبداعية، فتلك الروح حين تتواجد بقوة فإنها تتبنى كل تلك الأدوار...more
Caris
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 o...more
Henry Avila
Josef K.(just his initial), is a banker in Prague, now the capital of the Czech Republic, during the last days of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, before World War 1.Such a young man at the age of thirty, to be in charge of a large bank's finances.He lives in a boarding house of Frau Grabach. Why such a successful man does, is a mystery.Maybe he likes the women there,especially Fraulein Burstner, Josef is a bit of a wolf.Out of the sky two men come to his room and arrest him. The arrogant guards ev...more
Michael
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 finds himself being arrested and pros...more
Chiara Pagliochini
« Lei è innocente? », chiese. « Sì », disse K. Fu addirittura con gioia che diede risposta a questa domanda, soprattutto perché quella risposta era diretta a un privato, e non comportava quindi nessuna responsabilità. Nessuno gli aveva ancora rivolto una domanda così esplicita. Per assaporare questa gioia, aggiunse: « Sono del tutto innocente ».

Alcuni anni fa, quando ero ancora al liceo, mi capitò di assistere a una rappresentazione teatrale di questo stesso testo. Anche allora – e, direi, sopr...more
Daniel
Feb 28, 2008 Daniel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in bizarre situations of dizzying anxiety
Shelves: german
This may be the strangest book I have ever read. What can I say - it was Kafkaesque! I never knew what the trial was about, but I always thought it was about, well, a trial. It turns out - and I'm not spoiling it for you, because this is clear in the beginning - that Josef K. doesn't know what the trial is about either.
Sometimes it's hard in German for me to be sure I have the tone right, but much of this book is dream/nightmare-like, not unlike Die Verwandlung. I can't say that I got much out...more
Lynn Beyrouthy
WHAT IS THIS SHIT.

I have read many reviews and saw that I belong to the minority who just didn’t like or get this book.

Like the author, I am going to leave The Trial unfinished and surrender to the fact that, unfortunately, Franz Kafka’s writing is way too bizarre, inane and unrealistic for my tastes.

The protagonist, a pretentious banker named Josef K. woke up one morning to find two strangers in his room who told him he was under arrest. The reason for his conviction is never revealed and even...more
Mohnish
It was a semi dark cell, where lay two men propped against walls, facing each other, these men from 20th century fiction need no introduction. On one side was Herr Joseph K gnawing on his nails & on the other in his nonchalance vapidly lay Monsieur Meursault.

Both men had been constantly staring into each others eyes, not like lovers but like men brooding on platonic ideas, without even a modicum of awkwardness, as if in the other fellow lay the meaning of life. Soon tears of palliation rolle...more
Jason
My wife and I sued the former owners of our current home because they didn't disclose the removal of a weight-bearing wall or water seepage into the basement. It was a very lengthy, expensive, irritable, disorganized, and unsatisfying experience even though we won.

If you've ever had an experience with the legal system (and here I assume they're all bad experiences), then read The Trial by Franz Kafka. It will reassure you that today's level of frustration with lawyers, the legal administrative...more
Momina Masood
The love I bear Kafka will always remain a mystery to me like his works. But I cannot help ignore the feeling that arises after reading that last line in any Kafka piece--the feeling of sympathy, understanding and, strangely, even of love. His works unsettle me as Sartre's or Camus' do but Kafka, despite the fact that his works are the most vague of all, is more accessible to me than the aforementioned French writers. These days I am quickly growing impatient with existential and nihilist litera...more
Meenakshi
Having never placed a foot in the Kafka world, I was inexpressibly delighted to find a copy of The Trial in the library. And soon I sat to devour it. Before I give my views on this, something about the book:
The Trial was written by Kafka in 1914-15 and was published posthumously in 1925.
"After Kafka's death in 1924 his friend and literary executor Max Brod edited the text for publication by Verlag Die Schmiede. The original manuscript is held at the Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Necka...more
David Lentz
What would you do if you were Joseph K. and suddenly were told by your government to stand trial without being told the nature of your crime? Joseph is an intelligent man within the ranks of middle management of a bank. He is told to stand trial by a repressive regime which holds public hearings on his case and K. tries nobly to apply his reason and intelligence against the absurd powers which hold him in their grip with iron fists. When he applies reason to make his judges appear, like the fool...more
David
This was one of Kafka's works that was published posthumously by Kafka's friend despite his request that all of his unpublished writings be burned unread after his death. It is a satiric and symbolic tale of a man who mysteriously finds himself arrested and on trial one day. He can't figure out what exactly he's on trial for, and the mysterious court that is judging him is complex and surreal and unfathomable.

There were some really good things Kafka had going on here, but I just wasn't blown aw...more
B0nnie
The real question is, the question that Joseph K. wants to know, who accuses me? There are no answers, only questions. He accuses himself. Friends and neighbours accuse. God accuses. The police. The courts. All this comes to ambush him, and, ultimately us, as we try to get on with our lives.

There is such a solid core to The Trial. It reminds me so much of Dostoyevsky. The atmosphere is dreamlike, surreal - and yet at once concrete, real as the shoes on my feet. The build-up of tension is relent...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
Sep 14, 2014 Aidan Watson-Morris added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't like stories, people who need them
Shelves: 2013, translated
i dig the way kafka's writing puts you into a trance for the time you read it, but once you've put it down you feel no real need to return to it any time soon. yet when you do, you're immediately back in that world, as if no time has passed at all. when the trial ends, your reading of it doesn't.
Mike
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.

(view spoiler)...more
David
"Trial" is a word which is a cornucopia of meaning: (a) examination of evidence and applicable law by a tribunal, i.e. a 'court trial,' (b) the act or process of testing, trying, or putting to proof, (c) an instance of such testing, (d) an effort or attempt, (e) a state of pain or anguish that tests patience, endurance or belief - all of these definitions pertain to Franz Kafka's The Trial. Of course, as appropriate the title is in many senses, it too is heavily loaded with irony; a "trial," whi...more
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5223
Franz Kafka (German pronunciation: [ˈfʀants ˈkafka]) was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (presently the Czech Republic), Austria–Hungary. His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered to be among the most influential in Western lite...more
More about Franz Kafka...
The Metamorphosis The Metamorphosis and Other Stories The Castle The Complete Stories The Metamorphosis, in the Penal Colony and Other Stories: The Great Short Works of Franz Kafka

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“It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.” 223 likes
“From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.” 109 likes
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