One reviewer says 'In some sense, Room is not so different to Donoghue’s earlier historical novels, because it is inspired by real events, turned around and retold from a different perspective. Room is based on real women and their children, confined under horrible circumstances. But the perspective of this story makes it unique – it is not the sensationalistic story of a man holding a female victim hostage, but the story of a child and his mother in an incredibly difficult situation. Donoghue’s sensitivity and humour make this story not only readable, but beautiful and compelling.
This would be a very different novel if it were told by Jack’s mother. The five-year-old acts as a buffer between the horrifying reality of her existence and the reader. We know what’s going on, but often Jack doesn’t grasp the meaning of the events he describes. This isn’t a fictionalised ‘survivor story’, but a story of the love between mother and child. Through Jack’s voice, we understand what he can’t – that his Ma would do anything for her son to get out of the room.'
According to another reviewer 'The Trial opens with this first sentence: "Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."
Throughout the novel, Josef K never learns the charges against him, his lawyer is a preening incompetent who has built a mini-industry defending similarly "slandered" innocent (or maybe not so innocent -- we don't ever learn what's legal and what's illegal) men, and the reaction of the other characters in the novel ranges from mild shock to resignation to an irony that's half-comedic and half-tragic.
In the end, men he doesn't know confront him with one of the greatest of human horrors for reasons he doesn't understand and with a timing he doesn't suspect: "Was there still help? Were there objections that had been forgotten? Of course there were. Logic is no doubt unshakable, but it can't withstand a person who wants to live. Where was the judge he'd never seen? Where was the high court he'd never reached?"
Kafkaesque is a word that has become deeply rooted both in the English language and the psyche of the "free world." Having The Trial in your personal library is essential for the appearance of cultural literacy ("appearance" being a notion that fits perfectly with much of the middle of the book); but to read it is to understand how an obscure (at his death) author's last name has given birth to a powerful and enduring adjective known around the world.'