• Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

  • Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

  • Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

  • Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

  • Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

  • Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

  • Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

  • Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”

Most people will picture a giant, grotesque insect laying in bed when talking about Franz Kafka’s literary contributions since his most popular story is The Metamorphosis, but the famed Czech writer had other manuscripts published that contribute to his everlasting literary influence. One of these is his novel The Trial, an overlooked gem of magnificent proportions and existential questions.

Published in 1925, one year after the author’s death, The Trial tells the story of Josef K., a banker who is inexplicably charged with a crime (which is never revealed either to him or the reader), and the subsequent actions taken by him to avoid this mysteriously anointed fate. Filled with the pragmatic quandaries of a soul in disarray, Kafka’s novel has become the epitome of what humans fear the most: the uncanny.

(Above: An illustrated depiction of The Trial by R. Crumb featured in the book Introducing Kafkacourtesy of The Pantograph Punch.)

It is truly a challenge to describe Kafka’s works, simply because they are a “religious” experience, to put it in simple terms. The works of this man who believed himself to be a burden resonate differently for each person. You’ll have to read them to truly understand what critics mean when they describe something as “Kafkaesque,” and The Trial is a great place to start.

 

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