It's weird recommending a book that leaves a massive pit in your stomach, but that's exactly what I'm about to do. The Trial follows lowly bank cashier Josef K. who, in the very first chapter, is placed under arrest for an unspecified crime - a crime he himself is baffled by, and one that nobody can (or will?) explain to him. Josef K. is free to do as he wishes while under arrest, but the nebulous "trial" looms over his head wherever he goes, and from page to page, the real punishment seems to be the inability to escape the eyes of society, the simple horror of being watched. The Trial is quite possibly the most harrowing book I've ever read - and probably the closest we'll ever come to defining what the heck "Kafkaesque" really means.— From Nick's Picks
A brilliant translation of one of the most important novels of the twentieth century, revealing a tale that is as full of energy and power as it was when it was first written. From the author of The Metamorphosis.
Written in 1914, The Trial is the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka's nightmare has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers. This new edition is based upon the work of an international team of experts who have restored the text, the sequence of chapters, and their division to create a version that is as close as possible to the way the author left it.
About the Author
FRANZ KAFKA was born in 1883 in Prague, where he lived most of his life. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including “The Metamorphosis,” “The Judgment,” and “The Stoker.” He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels. At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn all his unpublished work. Brod overrode those wishes.
BREON MITCHELL has received the ATA German Literary Prize, among other translation awards. He is a professor of Germanic studies and comparative literature at Indiana University.
"Kafka's 'legalese' is alchemically fused with a prose of great verve and intense readability."
—James Rolleston, professor of Germanic languages and literatures, Duke University
"Breon Mitchell's translation is an accomplishment of the highest order that will honor Kafka 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