ENGL 205 – Central European Literature
The Emperor’s Tomb has many unfamiliar place names and historical events, along with character names, and feels rich in detail. The Trial, by contrast, is very thin in detail, and could be set almost anywhere. How does this difference affect how you respond to the book?
Because The Emperor’s Tomb is so descriptive, I had difficulty getting to the main point of the novel. I generally do not enjoy overly descriptive books. I like to imagine the locations in my own mind, rather than struggle to understand what exactly it is that the author is referring to. In addition, because I am so unfamiliar with the location of this novel, I had difficulty with those details as well. Furthermore, the inclusion of foreign language only made it more difficult for me to understand what it was that was going on throughout the novel. I would have much preferred if there were footnotes, or parenthetical citations defining the foreign words during The Emperor’s Tomb.
In contrast, The Trial, is very non descriptive. Had the novel been less ambiguous, I would have preferred reading this to The Emperor’s Tomb, which I found quite boring. The Trial just annoys me because I have no idea why K is on trial in the first place. Had Kafka described that more, I would have been more apt to enjoy reading this book. In general, I do not mind reading a novel that has little detail. I prefer to create the set and scene in my mind anyways. But, due to the extreme disconnectedness throughout the story, I struggled to understand the underlying reason for K’s crime and punishment.
So, yes, due to the varied levels of detail, it does indeed affect my reading and response to the book. While I usually prefer novels to have far less description than The Emperor’s Tomb, I could at least know what was going on in the novel. The Trial was so far past my understanding, I dreaded reading it.