I’ve just finished reading Kafka’s “The Trial” (a.k.a Der Prozess (de) and Prosessen (no)) which is supposed to be one of world literature’s better works.
The version I’ve read is the ‘critical edition’ which is closer to Kafka’s own writing and also has fragments of unfinished and cut-out chapters, which I hope will cast additional light into Kafka’s darkness, hoping to reach
comprehension. (I haven’t finished reading these fragments.)
Having a dangerous prejudice against it, being ‘one of the greatest’, I suffered from disappointment when the story finally came to an end. I felt that the book didn’t handle the subject pretty well and that the book (or
maybe just _this_ edition of it) lacked a general outline to direct the reader to the right questions, giving it the right clues.
Word has it that Kafka didn’t want to publish this, that he didn’t write it for anybody to read it, and that he asked one of his friends to burn it before he died. This is hard to accept especially if he just wrote to himself, which – at least to me – should’ve resulted in shorter and more direct lines of reasoning. And where did his ‘master skills’ in literary constructions of reasonings go? Nobody knows.
What to make of this?
a) The book is actually not as good as people would like it to be.
b) I’m too stupid to see how great it is.
c) Kafka wrote to himself, which made the book pretty unsavoury.
In order to grant Kafka his greatness, I see now option but to go with alternative b), but doesn’t this also state that Kafka was a bad author since he’s not communicating with his reader?