Franz Kafka’s The Trial is the story of a man, Josef K., who wakes up one morning to find two dudes in his room who put him under arrest. Only, he is never told what his crime is and he maintains his innocence whilst he fights against a court that is nigh unreachable. He starts losing grip on his former life as a successful banker and everything descends into a downward spiral from thereon.

Its bleak and depressing, much like the multiple vignettes of the smoke shrouded city Kafka writes about in the book. There seems to be no respite, no pause, only endless questioning and never really getting anywhere. Corridors and airless passageways. Choked stairwells and dark gravel streets. Tasteless, black and white. At one point, I did wonder, what was the point. Why this perpetual, relentless race against an unknown. Then, I found myself fighting against the same such at work and it all seemed to click.

I not really whinging as such and I don’t think the book itself means to say that life’s a bitch necessarily. Still, the intensity of the atmosphere, the caricature of the bureaucracy, the many side characters that seem so removed from K., it almost sickening at times. Its intriguing. Like watching something fall off the edge of a cliff, it moves and accelerates and at one point seems almost endless but you just know its going to hit the bottom hard. Yet, we still persist, we watch, we act, we live. Why? Why not? Some of us actually feel just like K. and wonder. Some of us don’t. Does it matter? Probably not but we still do anyway. For some, it is enough to simply exist and never need to know. For others, it is a fly chasing you in the heat of an Australian summer. That last bit is a little whinge in case you were wondering.

I read from wikipedia, that the book is actually unfinished and that Kafka asked his mate to burn the manuscript. Thankfully, his clever mate acted against that interest and edited into what he thinks is a novel. Some bright sparks consider that The Trial might perhaps be based on Crime & Punishment. Hmm… I wonder what I’m going to read next?

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