The Trial takes place in a bizarre, impersonal, bureaucratic society where Joseph K, a bank clerk, is arrested for a crime that didn't take place. While he searches for answers as to where his trial is going to be held, no one seems to want to tell him. The authorities in Kafka’s cleverly created world are quick to arrest and sentence but have no particular interest in the accused’s defense.
Metropolis, 1984, A Clockwork Orange and Brazil have all explored similar themes, and after reading The Trial, I see where these frightening landscapes originated.
According to The Trial’s jacket blurb, artist Chanta Montellier, is one of France’s leading graphic artists and it’s easy to see why. She constructs magnificent nineteenth century interiors in vivid detail and then quietly blends them into a mixture of 1940’s film noir and a nightmarish gothic world. I thought it was a nice touch that Kafka’s likeness served as Montellier’s interpretation of Joseph K.
Writer David Zane Mairowitz is a well-renowned author and playwright. His bio states he previously wrote Introducing Kafka with Robert Crumb (that’s gotta be a great combination). His use of exclamation points and question marks are perfectly used to emphasize the citizens’ confusion in the totalitarian state.
I may never have read this classic piece of literature if it weren't for the graphic novel adaptation. The Trial is a great book for fans and for slouches like me who have just discovered this acclaimed novelist and short story writer. I’ll be reading more of Kafka’s work, like The Metamorphosis and The Castle.
On a similar note, check out Scott D. Parker's site. He has a review of Coward (Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips) plus a short history of graphic novels.