Friday, June 06, 2003

Quote of the day

"I have immensely absorbed the negative aspect of my time - a time which is very close to me and which I have no right to challenge, but only as it were to represent." - Franz Kafka

After fitful bouts of reading over the course of several months, I've at last finished Kafka's 'The Trial' (in translation, though - memories of A-level German don't stretch very far). The whole disjointed nature of the reading process seems to have impeded my enjoyment of the book - had I sat down and really focused on it for a few days I'm sure it would have been a much more rewarding experience. Still, I did find it a powerful and profoundly unsettling work of fiction, for several reasons: the nightmarish arbitrariness and inexorability of the plot from the very beginning (that famous opening line, "Someone must have been spreading lies about Josef K for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one morning"); the generality and utter absence of specific details, which ensures the book's malleability in terms of its interpretation as a parable or allegory but which also leaves the reader feeling that there is precious little of substance to cling onto; the flat, methodical, arid prose which has a strange and disconcerting deadness to it. Overall, bleak, harsh, disturbing - and recommended.

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