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The Trial cover art

The Trial

By: Franz Kafka, Idris Parry
Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

This Penguin Classic is performed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, winner of the 2019 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

A terrifying psychological trip into the life of one Joseph K., an ordinary man who wakes up one day to find himself accused of a crime he did not commit, a crime whose nature is never revealed to him. Once arrested, he is released, but must report to court on a regular basis - an event that proves maddening, as nothing is ever resolved. As he grows more uncertain of his fate, his personal life - including work at a bank and his relations with his landlady and a young woman who lives next door - becomes increasingly unpredictable. As K. tries to gain control, he succeeds only in accelerating his own excruciating downward spiral.

Public Domain (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Trial

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Throughout the process…

The narrator’s creative and playful accents deliver justice by perseving Franz Kafka’s sarcasm and wit.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration voice

This is a classic read, it’s about K, a man whose every move is blocked by others, and it’s about how he decides to cope with the situation. There’s something Kafka-esque in life at one time or another for all of us so I too can relate to it. I love the narrator’s interpretation of being K, just love it. I would have given up with a book, but Kobna makes it interesting.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

For Those Who Don’t Feel Comfortable In Their Comfort Zone

It’s not a feel-good novel - quite the opposite. As you read it two questions start to trouble you: What crime is Josef K. Meant to have committed; what actually *is* this novel? Allegory? If so of what: every man’s sense of guilt? Any turn of life that gives you an inescapable sense of dread? Is the book actually a satire? If so Bohemia before WW I must have pre-figured the Soviet era. Is it a fantasy? If so it presumably has a political message: vindictive bureaucracy, corrupt judiciary. Or is it a commentary on the weakness of Josef K. Himself, & hence all of us? The cleverest feature, for me, was the pervasive sense of being in a dream. You have to let go, gradually, of your need to answer such questions … maybe.
Why not 5 stars? 1: this hundred-year-old novel portrays a very poor attitude to woman. 2: Josef K. Is not even likeable: too snobbish & entitled.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful performance

I studied Kafka 35 years ago at university and was fascinated by his obsessive, absurd and neurotic view of the world. But it always seemed like a bleak and pessimistic assessment of the human condition. Kafka can be a tough and dull read. The Trial can be a trial.

That’s why I loved the narrator’s performance in this recording. He brings the text to life and adds a humorous interpretation of this pessimism that I had never appreciated before. The regional accents and intense and engaged narration made The Trial more enjoyable than ever for me.

This is my first ever Audible review and it was all to say thank you Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Bravo!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too clever for me

Although coming to the story aware of Kafka's love of the absurd and alienation, I expected to understand what was (or more accurately wasn't) said. However, I come away not really having an idea of the point of it all.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Franz Kafka's Illustration of Bureaucracy

Narration was excellent. Kafka expertly illustrates a spirit shattering bureaucratic nightmare that begins to feel like a sentient organism rather than an organisation as the book goes on.

It ends abruptly and in a somewhat unsatisfactory way, but I suppose that's to be expected given the content, it should be expected even more so taking Kafka's other work into consideration.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good voice acting

macabre tone set the scene and gave a good feel of the main character Joseph Kay.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Could not stand narrator

Did not like narrator, half way through bought another copy with different narration. Book was good.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Important novel

Superbly sinister, a metaphor for the mystery of life. Josef K. is in an unidentified place, awash in a legal nightmare, where he is arrested without knowing why, and bound fast by a burocratic machine... and as if that's not enough, he keeps getting seduced by incidental women.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

more interesting to talk about than actually read

its good and achieve what it wants to. it just gets a bit lost in the middle

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