Friday, January 12, 2007

The Trial - post I

There are moments when you read this book by Franz Kafka and you start to get concerned that some of the strange things could be possible. The sense of helplessness and weirdness that permeates through the novel is the most disturbing aspect to it so far.

Bullet points between pages 7 – 101

* The story starts with a banker named Joseph K. being told by two men, then confirmed by a third sitting in a neighbours flat behind a desk, that he is under arrest but no charges are specified and he is then released to go back to work

* Joseph tries to dig a bit deeper with his landlady about the events and manages to fall out with her and then gets carried away and kisses his neighbour after explaining to her what happened in her rooms

* He then gets summoned to a tenement block for an interrogation on a Sunday and walks into a packed room and takes the stage and pleads for some sort of sanity and gives a full account of the events of his arrest including a criticism of the men who first dealt with him

A week later he returns for a hearing but discovers there is no sitting but gets seduced by the legal secretary’s wife who is then grabbed and taken upstairs to for the interrogating magistrate’s pleasure leaving Joseph with the husband who offers to show him the legal offices

* But once in the attic Joseph becomes weak and almost faints and has to be helped outside to get his breath back and as the door opens those inside replicate his symptoms as they breath in the fresh air

* The strangest scene so far comes next as Joseph hears a sound as he goes past a store room in the bank and finds the two men who first arrested him being whipped because of the complaint he made about them at the first interrogation

* As Joseph walks past the room the next day he opens the door on impulse and finds the same two men and the whipper in the room – something that unnerves him and he demands that the bank clerks clear the room out

Why are these things happening to him and why does he get sudden impulses to do things that he presumably would never do, like kissing his neighbour and walking firmly into store rooms? More will follow…


Stephen said...

Interesting - I think it's time for me to read The Trial. Have you ever seen the Orson Welles film? A real forgotten classic.

simon quicke said...

never seen the film but will try to track it down now.