Kevin Ansbro's Reviews > The Trial

The Trial by Franz Kafka
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"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open."
—Franz Kafka


Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.
This famous opening line becomes yet more intriguing as it pitches us directly into a scene whereby the first two protagonists are granted a degree of anonymity by the author, as he seeks to lure us into his philosophical daydream.
K is clearly under house arrest, but his perplexing captors aren’t at liberty to tell him if he has been arrested. Who are they, K wonders? They look as if they might be policemen, but neither he, nor the reader, can be certain. They could be pranksters for all he knows. Even the country he lives in isn’t name-checked.
So many unanswered questions:
Who is he?
Who are they?
Why has he been arrested?
Where are we?
Does time have a beginning or an end?
Why did the chicken cross the road?

This, my fine bibliophilic friends, is an enigma burritoed in a paradox.
There is something farcical about the situation he finds himself in; the ensuing cockeyed exchange of dialogue was almost Monty Pythonesque.
I shall paraphrase (apologies to Mr Kafka)...
"Take me to your superior!"
"He will see you as soon as he wants to see you."
"Who are you?"
"We’re free, you’re not, and you’re going to be put on trial."
"On trial, for what?"
"Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, isn’t it, eh? Beautiful plumage."

The absurdity continues.
There follows a kangaroo court and the comically surreal appearance of a whip-man, whose job it is to give people a damn good flogging. I don’t know if I was meant to be outraged, but I found it really funny (there’s something wrong with me, I’m sure of it).

Kafka uses existentialism like Banksy uses a spray can. K is trying to remain rational while the world around him has become irrational - something most of us have experienced at some stage in our lives.
As is also the case with Orwell’s 1984, this book hints at the totalitarian regimes that were likely to follow.

I don’t profess to understand much of what Kafka hoped to symbolise in this allegorical mystery (I suspect he didn’t want anyone to unlock all of its secrets anyway), and one gets the feeling that he deliberately leads us into a literary cul-de-sac of his own choosing.

The blurb describes the book as being ‘terrifying’ and ‘chilling’. I found it to be neither.
If anything, I found it rather droll.
Let me explain myself thus…
I have a lugubrious friend. His name is Mark.
Mark is so overly pessimistic and melancholic, that he creases me up with laughter. Then, when he asks me what it is that’s so funny (with that glum look on his face), I crack up even more!
He’s a hoot, and so is this book!
I thoroughly enjoyed being trapped in Franz Kafka’s web and I must revisit Metamorphosis, his crowning achievement.
I read it years ago, when I was too young to properly ‘get’ it.
Not that I’m likely to totally understand it even now! : )
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Reading Progress

November 4, 2017 – Shelved
November 4, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 8, 2018 – Started Reading
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: gentle-humour
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: human-cruelty
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: human-psyche
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: literature-for-grown-ups
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: modern-fable
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: morality
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: recommended-by-cecily
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: parable
January 11, 2018 – Shelved as: years-ahead-of-its-time
January 11, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 51-73 of 73 (73 new)

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Kevin Ansbro Jo wrote: "Kevin I’m not sure I’d be able to read this now without your review in mind and end up chortling when I should be mulling on existential angst! Thanks for an early morning chuckle!"

Thanks, Jo! You are so welcome. : )


message 52: by Nat (new)

Nat K Kevin wrote: "Nat wrote: "Why DID the chicken cross the road? Only kidding. Great review Kevin.

I saw "The Trial" performed on stage, and it was incredible."

I love that you're a proper culture vulture, Nat. G..."


Kevin, pet! You crack me up ;-)


message 53: by Kevin (last edited Jan 13, 2018 03:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kevin Ansbro Nat wrote: "Kevin wrote: Good on you, possum! : )
"Nat wrote: "Kevin, pet! You crack me up ;-)..."


I have my moments, Nat...
; )


message 54: by Margitte (new)

Margitte Love the review.


message 55: by Laysee (new)

Laysee Well, this philosophical daydream sounds just like Kafka. An enigma in a paradox - one day when I am willing to be befuddled, I will seek its company. I hope I will have your wonderful sense of humour to relish it. Splendid review, Kevin.


Kevin Ansbro Margitte wrote: "Love the review."

Thanks, Margitte!


Kevin Ansbro Laysee wrote: "Well, this philosophical daydream sounds just like Kafka. An enigma in a paradox - one day when I am willing to be befuddled, I will seek its company. I hope I will have your wonderful sense of hum..."

Thank you so much, Laysee. It doesn't take much to befuddle me!
: D


message 58: by Jaidee (new) - added it

Jaidee Get that tongue out of your cheek Mr. Ansbro !

A fun and interesting review :)

I read The Metamorphosis and was expecting something AMAZING and got just OK. and yet people and society go on and on about that ONE !

I figured out why we get along because I am like your buddy on a much more milder end of that spectrum...lol !


message 59: by Kevin (last edited Jan 14, 2018 09:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kevin Ansbro Jaidee wrote: "Get that tongue out of your cheek Mr. Ansbro !

I haven't got my tongue in mine, or anyone's cheek, thank you very much! ; )

A fun and interesting review :)

I read The Metamorphosis and was expecting something AMAZING and got just OK. and yet people and soci..."


Well, you certainly entertain me and make me laugh, Jaidee, my friend!


✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) Uh-oh, we’re agreeing about a book again. This can only mean one thing: imminent doom and complete, utter annihilation of all life on this planet. But hey, it’s not all bad! At least I got a chance to read your most entertaining review for this book before the world came to an end and stuff.


Kevin Ansbro ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) wrote: "Uh-oh, we’re agreeing about a book again. This can only mean one thing: imminent doom and complete, utter annihilation of all life on this planet. But hey, it’s not all bad! At least I got a chance..."

Uh-oh, indeed, Sarah.
Us agreeing on a book is sure to alter the tilt of our Earth's axis, causing ice caps to melt and entire continents to be flooded.
Oh, God, my name is mud already! So I could do without being the destroyer of our planet as well! : (


Laurie Johnston Kevin -- Such a supportive review! I'm exactly the same with people like Mark. I think I must read this. Thanks! : )


Kevin Ansbro Laurie wrote: "Kevin -- Such a supportive review! I'm exactly the same with people like Mark. I think I must read this. Thanks! : )"

Excellent, Laurie. Glum people are the funniest!! : D


message 64: by Sumi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sumi Karsoliya is the court of franz Kafka is totalitarian government can u please tell


Kevin Ansbro Yes, Sumi. The court is an abuse of power within a totalitarian state.


The Reading Samurai Excellent review


message 67: by Glenda (new) - added it

Glenda Great review Kevin. This actually sounds like something I would enjoy. I’m going to read it, just because of your review. Thanks........Glenda


Kevin Ansbro The Reading Samurai wrote: "Excellent review"

Thank you. I was pleased to see that your TBR list was at a realistic figure, rather than in the thousands! : )


Kevin Ansbro Glenda wrote: "Great review Kevin. This actually sounds like something I would enjoy. I’m going to read it, just because of your review. Thanks........Glenda"

Glenda, that’s amazing! Didn’t realise my reviews held such sway! : )


Laurie Johnston Kevin, I would never have read this book, if your review hadn't assured me I could get through it! This is very important, because now I might be able to hold my own in discussions about "Kafka's Canada." Thank you for showing it's funny side! : )


Kevin Ansbro Laurie wrote: "Kevin, I would never have read this book, if your review hadn't assured me I could get through it! This is very important, because now I might be able to hold my own in discussions about "Kafka's C..."

I'm so pleased, Laurie! : )
And, yes, Kafka did have a sense of humour, which might surprise newcomers to his work.


message 72: by Kimber (new)

Kimber Silver Kevin, I love the opening quote. How true! You are a hoot, sir! :-)


Kevin Ansbro Kimber wrote: "Kevin, I love the opening quote. How true! You are a hoot, sir! :-)"

Thank you, Kimber! So are you! : D


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