What a chilling story! This was my classic in translation for the Back to the Classics 2015 reading challenge (my 10th book out of 12!). It is the story of Josef K., a respected bank officer who is arrested and has to defend himself without knowing what the charges against him are. I'd certainly heard of this story and had a general idea of what it was about. I'd always assumed that Josef K. was put in prison after his arrest, but that is not the case; his arrest consists of being questioned and having to appear in various court proceedings. But this particular court system is separate from the usual court system; most citizens have never heard of it. This leaves Josef K. uncertain how to defend himself and what is required of him. Just imagine trying to defend yourself when you don't know what the charges are!
It was originally published in German in 1925, a year after Kafka's death. In fact, Kafka had left behind a letter to his friend Max Brod with this last request: "Everything I leave behind me . . . in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others'), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread." Max Brod believed that Kafka asked him to do this because he had told Kafka that he would not honor his wishes; instead he worked very hard to get all of Kafka's works published. I rate it 4 out of 5.