The Trial

The Trial -  Franz Kafka This book was typical of Kafka - fairly depressing. The philosophical message (it seems to me) that Kafka is trying to convey is the futility and pointlessness of everything. It's best summed up with Herr K.'s conversation with the priest "'No,' said the priest,'you don't have to consider everything true, you just have to consider it necessary.' 'A depressing opinion,' said K. 'Lies are made into a universal system.'" Within seven pages, K. has been convicted, sentenced, and executed by two men with a knife in a dark quarry. His last question was "Where was the judge he'd never seen? Where was the high court he'd never reached?"

Besides this deep philosophical depression of this book, this book has a more immediate meaning to the lawyer and law student. K. is faced with an appalling, nightmarish lack of criminal procedure in his "trial". In fact, it is a farce to call it a trial - he is guilty before anything happens, and is already sentenced to death, though he does not know it. Eventually, without ever having a trial, presenting a defense, or even being informed what crime he was being charged with, he is executed in secrecy. It is a poignant picture of the importance of criminal procedure. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in law or who complains about criminals getting off on "technicalities".