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The Trial Paperback – October 11, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612931030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612931036
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A terrifying psychological trip into the life of one Joseph K., an ordinary man who wakes up one day to find himself accused of a crime he did not commit, a crime whose nature is never revealed to him. Once arrested, he is released, but must report to court on a regular basis--an event that proves maddening, as nothing is ever resolved. As he grows more uncertain of his fate, his personal life--including work at a bank and his relations with his landlady and a young woman who lives next door--becomes increasingly unpredictable. As K. tries to gain control, he succeeds only in accelerating his own excruciating downward spiral. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Praise for The Trial:

"Breon Mitchell's translation of the restored text is an accomplishment of the highest order -- one that will honor Kafka, perhaps the most singular and compelling writer of our time, far into the twenty-first century."
-- Walter Abish, author of How German Is It

Praise for The Castle:
translated by Mark Harman from the restored text

"The new Schocken edition of The Castle represents a major and long-awaited event in English- language publishing. It is a wonderful piece of news for all Kafka readers who, for more than half a century, have had to rely on flawed, superannuated editions. Mark Harman is to be commended for his success in capturing the fresh, fluid, almost breathless style of Kafka's original manuscript."
-- Mark M. Anderson, Columbia University

"Semantically accurate to an admirable degree, faithful to Kafka's nuances, responsive to the tempo of his sentences and to the larger music of his paragraph construction. For the general reader or for the student, it will be the translation of preference for some time to come."
-- J. M. Coetzee, The New York Review of Books

"There is a great deal to applaud in Harman's translation. It gives us a much better sense of Kafka's uncompromising and disturbing originality as a prose master than we have heretofore had in English."
--Robert Alter, The New Republic

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 94 people found the following review helpful By M. Strong on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's fascinating to see the divergent reviews that this book generates; for my part, I couldn't put it down. The book creates a world and atmosphere in which you become completely engrossed - it is a disturbing place to be.

The story follows Joseph K while he is on trial by a seemingly arbitrary court system. What starts out feeling like a cautionary tale about misplaced and abused power quickly gets stranger and morphs into a story of a deeper and more personal trial. Before long, you notice that K is the one who seems to be doing the work of trying himself.

I was left thinking for a long time about the meaning behind the story and a lot of its symbols and components - I don't consider the fact that I still had questions to be a bad thing. On the contrary, this one left me feeling strangely energized.

Highly recommended for people who like philosophy, examinations of the human condition, or existentialism.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Alex Udvary on September 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
We should all know the story concerning one of the greatest novels ever written, about a man being awaken to find out he is under arrest for a crime he knows nothing about, and charged by an unknown person.
It's been debated as to what is really Kafka's novel all about. Some say, it's "hero"(?) Joseph K. represents the "every man". Who has been forced to live in a world, where's man's biggest sin is being himself. The character K. like Kafka himself feels they are an outsider in a world they cannot function in. Others still, see the book as merely a semi-autobiography as Kafka's own feelings of worthlessness. We all know Kafka even doubted his own talents as a writer. But, yet again, others think that "K." is not the "every man". That he is guilty of his "sins".
So, what does all of this prove? It simply goes to show you the impact Franz Kafka has left on the world. Here we have a book published in 1925 and still causes debate as to what exactly were Kafka's intentions. If, infact, he didn't have any intentions!
'The Trial', to me is a story of a man's loneliness. It's a story of man who probably is guilty of what he is charged with. And we slowly read about his desent into a world of paranoia. I've heard some people agrue that what happens to "K." is all merely a dream. None of it ever really happened, but, it was "K." himself who brought this punishment on himself. Sort of like how Kafka himself did by never marrying the girl he loved, by living in the shadows of his father, who he adored, and never having an self confidence. If what happens in 'The Trial' is a dream, you can bet "K." learned something.
There's something about Kafka that fasincates me. He is one of my favorite authors.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sean K on April 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
"You don't need to accept everything as true, you only need to accept it as necessary."

How true, for in this chilling novel, truth and justice cease to exist in a conventional sense. The traditional ideals of law and justice are inverted, as it is the accused who is blind and justice is pre-determined. Indeed, the courts and law system render an unfathomable, surreal-like existence. The accuser is kept in a dark abyss of ignorance, not only in the actual charges brought forth against him, but in the very foundation of the court system within which he is entrapped.

The "Court" operates outside the normal legal system and is a clandestine and faceless bureaucracy. It seems as if everything belongs to the Court, for they can invade the lives of the accused with impunity - in their home, their workplace, and even into the recesses of their mind. Indeed, the psychological torture and self-abasement is one of the key tools of the Court. The only interaction one has with this system is through low-level judges, magistrates, and lawyers in dank, hidden courtrooms. Yet, one has to devote his life (or what's left of it) to seeking influence from mysterious characters. For the actual facts of the case matter none, but the influence of the others matter the most. Yet, any defense is completely futile, for no one can escape their ultimate fate. Judgment is handed down by High Level "deities" who no one knows. It seems as if the best one can hope for is to forestall the trial through an endless cycle of influence peddling and evasive action, for to receive an actual acquittal is only a legend and not within the realm of possibility.

In a sense, the accused is condemned as soon as he is arrested.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Hillel Broder on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
For your convenience, I've copied/pasted below what I wrote for my review of the same publisher's "Metamorphosis". Looks like they're going for the Kafka scam superfecta...Reader's note: Replace the "Corngold" edition (of the Metamorphosis) with the new Schocken edition of "The Trial" (trans. Breon Mitchell)--a far superior translation to a translator-less "Original Version".

From my review on the same publisher's "Metamorphosis":

As a graduate student of Kafka who has bought multiple works of his off of this site, I am appalled to learn that yet another publisher, republishing Kafka's work in English without noting the name of the translator, claims to have done so in an "Original Version". If you're a Kafka scholar, then you would notice this as fishy from a mile away; this sham, therefore, is probably intended for the unsuspecting Kafka newbie who will be doubly disserviced with a shoddy (and unacknowledged) translation and no critical essays or scholarly footnotes.

But wait, there's more!

Let's be clear: Kafka wrote his "Original Version" in a (mostly school and self-taught) German. This publication is in English, and so it must, therefore, draw on one of the many fine translations now available. Note, of course, that the publication information listed above does not detail the name of the translator. This is doubly appalling: it is misleading to those who are not Kafka scholars and want to take Kafka seriously. They may think this is some "authentic" or "original" version, both of which are--by definition--false claims.

Personally, if you want the best (and most recent) translation, I'd recommend purchasing Stanley Corngold's translation, available through the fine Norton (Critical) series.
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