“Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.”
Franz Kafka, The Trial
A mysterious tale documenting the trial of one Josef K, Franz Kafka's masterpiece has held up very well over the years as its surreal nature and parallels to the secret police of the USSR drove it into the history books.
The story follows Josef K as he sits in his room on the night of his 30th birthday when he’s visited by two government officials who escort him into the hellish world that is their justice system. Josef K. is taken through a year of absolute chaos battling through courts filled with mad men to clear his name of a crime that is never revealed to him in this bonkers journey through a dystopian court.
The book has a very surreal theme of nonsensical authority throughout as most of what goes on is given no purpose or explanation. This fact is what makes the book so unique as you feel yourself in Josef K’s shoes being thrust from court to court with absolutely no control. It will frustrate you beyond your limit as it does to Josef K when he's caught in a nonsensical rigged system. This perspective is what makes the book so unique. The writing style compliments this nonsensical frustration perfectly.
The main writing style of the book could be called quasi philosophical. This is the case because throughout the book there's many long dialogues that seem as though they're very deep and philosophical only to end up meaning absolutely nothing. Everyone in this book is constantly gaslighting our protagonist because they themselves don't know. Josef K even acknowledges the mundaneness of it all “It would have been so pointless to kill himself that, even if he had wanted to, the pointlessness would have made him unable.” This quote is a good summary of the system that takes hold of everyone in this book…….pointless. The worst part about this system is that it's not too far off from the one that was used by USSR secret police. They didn't need any rhyme or reason they would just act. This gives Kafka’s writing style a whole new meaning when put into that context.
I would recommend this book and any other Kafka book to any human or animal who has developed the ability to read. Between the unique perspective given by Josef K, the pointlessness of the system, and the parallels to the USSR secret police this book has almost no flaws. I absolutely loved this book and if you're a fan of literature at all I would give it a read.