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Publisher's Summary

The Trial is one of the great works of the 20th century - an extraordinary vision of one man put on trial by an anonymous authority on an unspecified charge. Kafka evokes all the terrifying reality of his ordeal.
© and (P)2007 Naxos AudioBooks Ltd.
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By David S. Mathew on 10-19-17

Trials and Tribulations

I have always adored Kafka's work and being an attorney, I had to read this novel. The Trial is often considered Kafka's masterwork, despite being technically unfinished. Don't worry; this incredibly bleak story has a proper ending albeit a bit unpolished. This is the story of a truly dystopian legal system, eerily similar to our own in many respects, and K, our protagonist who isn't even aware of what he is on trial for. I won't describe the plot further for fear of spoilers, but I will say that the final two chapters still give me chills.

Also, I greatly preferred Rupert Degas' performance to George Guidall's version. Both men are good at their jobs, but Degas' tone is a far better fit for this kind story. Ultimately, I just can't say enough to praise this novel. Beyond highly recommended!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Alan on 05-03-12

Slow & calm

I like this reading much better than the other two I have heard (George Guidall and Geoffrey Howard). The sedate, if somewhat mincing, tone seems just right. Rupert Degas does not try to voice-act, which probably couldn't be done anyway. A slow reading, as befits a text that is highly suggestive in almost every sentence. That's on the reading.

As for the book, need I say anything? If you are new to Kafka, this is probably the long novel you are most likely to find interesting. It is focused and well executed in comparison to the others. (Amerika, which is his first novel, seems unfocused because there is no obvious central or abiding motif. The Castle, which is his last, is not exactly well written throughout. Many of its passages may seem flat and boring unless you, the reader, are doing some active part.)

I find that the best way to read Kafka is to read it like some genre piece you read only for the action. Just to find out what happens, never bothering your head about the 'meaning' or anything like that. If the book is not interesting to you at that level, it's just not for you. Why bother when there are other books to suit other tastes?

To me, the most interesting passages in The Trial are Fraulein Burstner, Fraulein Montag, and the first visit to the advocate including Leni.

The least interesting are the opening scenes (the Arrest), the First Hearing, and the Cathedral (including the 'Before the Law' inset).

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5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By GenKan on 03-27-15

a dull life brought to insanity

If you could sum up The Trial [Naxos AudioBooks] in three words, what would they be?

a slow, pathological destabilization of a human being. The overall corrupt and inefficient legal process where you could never win seem designed to force people into insanity.

What did you like best about this story?

How Josef K could stay so calm for so long. He seemed to think that he could win and prove his innocence, but all he could see is people under the heel of "system". Made out in so much detail

Have you listened to any of Rupert Degas’s other performances? How does this one compare?


Any additional comments?

Shares some of the characteristics of Jonathan Swift hatred for the legal system and lawyers. Having recently finished a book I really liked the theme. Was also a HUGE fan of 1984 and this felt almost the same. Great book

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Jon on 08-01-17

The Process

Darkly funny at times and deeply depressing at others. Sometimes difficult to follow, especially when Kafka just gives up and doesn't finish a chapter.

The act of being persecuted by an unknown authority is an important and fascinating allegorical tale, however, Kafka's weakness here (or perhaps his ultimate point) is to render the plight of the protagonist pointless, as it was decided from the start, therefore providing a frustrating experience for the reader, when nothing is resolved and then you die.

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By Michael on 05-09-17


Kafka was truly prophetic — his ability to capture the dream-like absurdity of being caught up in layers of bureaucracy in a gripping narrative is without parallel. "The Trial" is case and point.

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