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The Trial (German: Der Process) is a novel by Franz Kafka about a character named Josef K., who awakens one morning and, for reasons never revealed, is arrested and prosecuted for an unspecified crime.
According to Kafka's friend Max Brod, the author never finished the novel and wrote in his will that it was to be destroyed. After his death, Brod went against Kafka's wishes and edited The Trial into what he felt was a coherent novel and had it published in 1925.
In Kafka's famed story, bank clerk Joseph K is arrested for a crime that didn't take place and put on a trial that never occurs. This faithful graphic novel adaptation depicts not just the comical, nightmarish and absurdist themes explored by Kafka but also his gravitation to and mistrust of women. Artist Montellier's heavy shadows cast The Trial in a dark world framed with detailed embellishments that spill out of panels, creating a dreamlike (albeit a nightmare) quality. The surreal feeling of the story, and Kafka's absurdist view of reality, make this adaptation a dense read, full of strange imagery and, overall, a bit overwhelming. Although a clear, visual rendering of the feeling kafkaesque, a new, grotesque element is added with every scene, making it difficult to digest the events of the plot. Likely good supplemental reading to Kafka's actual novel, this graphic novel may serve as a useful entry point to his writing for teachers and librarians.