A gripping work of psychological horror, in its depiction of bureaucracy run amok Franz Kafka's The Trial skirts the line between fantasy and reality. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the German with an introduction by Idris Parry.
'Somebody must have laid false information against Josef K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong.' From this first sentence onwards, Josef K. is on trial for his right to exist. 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. Maintaining an atmosphere of unease throughout, this chilling, thought-provoking novel, more than any other, is infinitely perceptive about the nature of terror and the absurd meaninglessness and futility of human life.
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a Czech-born German-speaking insurance clerk who despised his job, preferring to spend his time writing. Nevertheless, Kafka published little during his lifetime, and ordered his closest friend to burn the mass of unpublished manuscripts - now familiar to us as some of the most influential novels and short stories of the twentieth century - after his death. Kafka's novels, all available in Penguin Modern Classics, include The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika.
If you enjoyed The Trial, you might like Kafka's The Castle, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'This compelling, prophetic novel anticipates the insanity of modern bureaucracy and the coming of totalitarianism'
'It is the fate and perhaps the greatness of [The Trial] that it offers everything and confirms nothing'