by Franz Kafka
New York: Schocken Books, 1937-1984, 281 pp., paperback.
The final decisions of the Court are never recorded, even the Judges can't get hold of them, consequently we have only legendary accounts of ancient cases. These legends certainly provide instances of acquittal...I myself have painted several pictures founded on such legends.While K. is digesting the implications of his difficult situation, the painter's tale moves into the bizarre territory that sometimes leave you wondering what drugs Kafka ingested before writing. K. spots a little door in the wall behind a bed:
The Judge whom I'm painting just now, for instance, always comes in by that door, and I've had to give him a key for it so he can wait for me in the studio if I happen to be out. Well, he usually arrives early in the morning, while I'm still asleep. And of course however fast asleep I am, it wakes me with a start when the door behind my bed suddenly opens. You would lose any respect you have for the Judges if you could hear that curses that welcome him when he climbs over my bed in the early morning.Kafka's reputation for the bizarre is well-deserved, but the attraction is how his prose draws you into a story and convinces you to identify with his protagonist's frustration. I enjoyed reading The Trial despite the dark worldview. After all, each of us has some fear of Big Brother, especially since The Patriot Act was enacted, and even if we believe that God is ultimately the authority in charge, we can never be fully convinced that we're immune from injustice in this life.