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Book 15 Completed

March 3, 2010

It’s difficult to write a review of Kafka. I mean, it’s Kafka. And here is a secret…are you ready for it? Lean in a little closer: I USED SPARKNOTES!! Duhn-Duhn-Duhn. Yeah, so, whatever. It’s not like I didn’t read the book too. But here I am thinking, “Did that just happen? Does that mean his lawyer is just playing around with him? Or is Josef paranoid?” And I just needed some extra help processing the intensity of Kafka’s Kafkaesque tale. (Now I get the whole Kafkaesque thing. Wow. So much Kafkaesqueness in my literary adventure.)

I kinda likened this story to Alice in Wonderland. Look, Alice in Wonderland is messed up. Of course, it’s not just the magical and surreal aspect that prompted me to think of Kafka as writing an Alice for adults; there is a trial in both books! Here is a quote from Alice: “Some of the jury wrote it down important, and some unimportant. Alice could see this, as she was near enough to look over their slates; but it doesn’t matter a bit, she thought to herself.” Yes, Alice it doesn’t. And it doesn’t matter to Josef K. in The Trial either.

Kafka left this book unfinished. It has to say a lot about you as a writer when your unfinished novel is lauded as one of the best/most important books of the twentieth-century. Certainly the commentary about Justice is “Hit You Over The Head With A Hammer” strong. It’s a fairly easy to read; that is, if you can get past the bizarre scenes and large chunks of circular conversations. Beneath the surface story, I find the idea of The Trial really interesting — a man doesn’t know what he is accused of — he’s arrogant enough to assume he’s innocent, but he’s human enough to worry. Fairness is a huge theme in this book — the little guy vs. the big power. There is just so much to talk about in this little book…I feel like I should take a class. Community Center Kafka discussions? Should I start that up?

A long time ago, in another life, I used to do really cool academic things! I took a Women’s Lit. class in college and wrote a compelling essay about how Asian women are depicted in mainstream American literature. (Seemed appropriate for an English major/Asian studies minor.) Then I had the opportunity to present my essay during my college’s annual Gender Symposium.  Divulging that to you serves no purpose in this post. Except to say that before I spent my time cleaning up vomit in the Safeway grocery aisle and saying things to my students like, “Are you asking me to go to the bathroom? Or telling me you’re going to the bathroom?”, I used to use my brain.  And reading Kafka TOTALLY made me feel like I was using my brain again!!

(Yeah, the by the way, the Safeway vomit incident totally happened yesterday evening. My advice is: If you ever see a young, harried mother opening up baby wipes off the shelf to wipe up chunks of goldfish crackers and tomatoes off the floor, herself, and her screaming child? Cut her some slack if all she has in her cart is a bottle of wine and an entire chocolate cake.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. McFaul permalink
    March 3, 2010 8:25 pm

    Love it!
    Kind of hoping that one of our future book-club reads will force thinking on me too!!!

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