The Trial by Franz KafkaThe Trial by Franz Kafka

The Trial

byFranz Kafka

Paperback | March 28, 1995

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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 to the madness of totalitarianism, The Trial has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers.

Franz Kafka was born in 1883 in Prague, where he lived most of his life. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including “The Metamorphosis,” “The Judgment,” and “The Stoker.” He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels. At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary exec...
Title:The TrialFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:312 pages, 7.98 × 5.13 × 0.62 inShipping dimensions:7.98 × 5.13 × 0.62 inPublished:March 28, 1995Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0805210407

ISBN - 13:9780805210408


Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed I was very excited to read this book from reading the reviews so I went ahead and ordered it. Honestly, I was very disappointed. This book did not speak to me at all. It left me with a bunch of unanswered questions. Although it was worded beautifully I did not enjoy this book at all.
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Trial Read it. You won't be disappointed.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good Read it. You won't be disappointed.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Electric Easily one of the best works by Kafka.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Easily one of the best works by Kafka.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great!! A must read for anyone!! The themes in this story are deep and really makes you think.
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Terrifying This is a quasi-dystopian novel about the negative sides of modernity, which includes bureaucracy, meaninglessness, isolation, and anxiety. It's hard to see it in play, but when you reflect you can see the themes emerge. Great read.
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Kafkaesque Indeed It starts out a bit slow, and I was left a bit nonplussed by the ending, but I'm glad I stuck with it. There was no doubt about why this author and this book are so revered.
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Prime Example of Great Literature! Kafka is an amazing writer with a strong, critically questioning and innovative voice. Intentionally written in a confusing manner to evoke the frustrations and conspiratorial nature of modern society and bureaucracy that is laced with hidden political agendas. It is a book that will make you think, and question the fallacy behind truth and justice. Because of Kafka's highly, proficient literary language it may be difficult for some readers to comprehend, and therefore may require them more time to digest the material.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful translation I would recommend this translation over others. A dense book, but certainly worth the experience.
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Incredible This is the most atmospheric book I've ever read. It is confusing at times, but that often just contributes further to the overall theme.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Empathic frustrations #plumreview An existential mystery unfolds unfolds in this odd, terrifying nightmare of bureaucracy run amok.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from All you can Eat Pulled Pork Poutine! It starts out fantastic! Condensed, beautiful writing.Passages are so evocative and thought provoking. Kafka's word choice is filled with tension and makes me think his mind is being arrested. Love, love the beginning. It becomes a bit slow or tedious in the middle. But there are sparks of greatness throughout. I pummelled through to the end. If this book was food, it would have to be an "All you can Eat Pulled Pork Poutine." It's simply amazing in the beginning but more than I can handle. I'll go back for seconds and reread my highlighted passages. The world he creates is so dreamlike and memorable. It's worth the Buffet Style multiple reading trips back into The Trial.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointed Maybe it was the translation, but I was disappointed in this story. I loved the Metamorphosis and his other stories, so maybe my expectations were too high. It was still a decent read, but didn't live up to it's reputation or K's other works. I'll probably read it again, but maybe in a different translation.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True Classic Still incredibly culturally relevant and shocking in its content, this book is a classic of modern literature. Kafka's unique style of writing dominates this novel.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read This is an amazing book. One should be reminded how easily it is to be accused of anything .
Date published: 2012-10-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dystopic This novel deals with totalitarian politics and injustice that common people often face in our modern society (guilty until proven innocent). The atmosphere is quite dystopic and very pessimistic, similar to Orwell's "1984", with the government representing totalitarian rule and has the absolute power of authority over the people. I think the only gripe I have is the fact that this novel is left unfinished, but quite understandably since Kafka never meant for it to be published. If you're into Existentialism, I definitely recommend it.
Date published: 2009-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Process on Trial: A quick note about Kafka's take on law and society In socio-political terms, Franz Kafka's The Trial can be summed up as an illustration of law gone mad within a culture unconcerned with a social contract and the questioning or challenging of authority required to maintain a morally viable civil society. The story concerns Joseph K, an upstanding citizen of a civilized state with a written constitution implying, if not overtly guaranteeing, the right of individual privacy. Despite such political and legal safeguards, K is arrested in his home on charges that are never disclosed. His accuser is never revealed, nor is the law explained. The dehumanizing bureaucracy and arcane, corrupt legal process are, despite the bizarre character of Kafka’s novel, both comic and chilling, for, among other things, The Trial is a warning to good people everywhere who, through their failure to act against usurpations of authority and abuses of power, are complicit in the illegal or unethical actions of those exercising control over their society. So it is that Joseph K. is undone as much by his insistence on maintaining perfect decorum, which he maintains despite the increasingly outrageous assertions of civil officials, as he is by anything else in the ridiculous and immoral process through which he is destroyed. Pathological affinities between authority and religiosity are clearly drawn in The Trial, and Kafka's expressed fears remain relevant today even for those who, living in democratic nations, assume that constitutional documents and due legal processes guarantee justice, the protection of individual privacy, and all subsequent civil liberties and rights. draft notes: Copyright 2001 by Brian D. Sadie
Date published: 2007-10-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from the trial An excellent book that could add to the feeling of Czechoslovakia during the occupation, if one is studying that. Joseph K. is led to defend himself against charges of which he does not know the seriousness of nor does he understand. Too late he realizes that he is defending himself against himself. Man's self reliance and faith are truly being tested by a court where Holden Caufield would have been killed without being called.
Date published: 1999-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Alien Within Few authors of any era capture the isolation and inherit isolation within society with the depth and insight of Franz Kafka. The Trial, a dark, cryptic novel-noir, seperates itself from other works of world order in that 'The Trial' is not an apocalyptic vision of the future (see Orwell's '1984'), but a harrowing tail of the very real bureaucracy of any civlization which enforces law and order on the proletariat. Far too paranoid a text to confuse itself with any sense of reality, Kafka creates an empty palette of anti-establishment confusion, centered only its' steadfast resolve of truth, albeit the truth of a mad man. Kafka is brilliant not because he is able to relate to the plight of the common person, but rather because he reveals his own open wound in such a stunning manner, one cannot help but search within for the same sense of alienation he so desperately rails against; in order to discover the real meaning of repression.
Date published: 1998-10-23

From Our Editors

Joseph the banker has led nothing short of a respectable life. This, until the day that he's suddenly and inexplicably arrested then forced to defend himself against a charge, which he remains uninformed of. The Trial is a crafty parable that runs rampant on the excesses of modern bureaucracy, likening it to totalitarianism. Joseph plays the symbolic victim of this system that is, in many ways, of his own doing. Franz Kafka wrote this existential tale back in 1914, but to this day it resonates with a chilling truth that knocks hard on the door of fear and isolation.

Editorial Reviews

“‘[I]t seemed as though the shame was to outlive him.’ With these words The Trial ends. Kafka’s shame then is no more personal than the life and thought which govern it and which he describes thus: ‘He does not live for the sake of his own life, he does not think for the sake of his own thought. He feels as though he were living and thinking under the constraint of a family . . . Because of this unknown family . . . he cannot be released.’” —Walter Benjamin  “Breon Mitchell’s translation is an accomplishment of the highest order that will honor Kafka far into the twenty-first century.” —Walter Abish, author of How German Is It