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Metamorphosis (Original Classics)

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Franz Kafka's 1915 novella of nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. This new and acclaimed translation is accompanied by possible inspirations and critical analysis of Gregor Samsa's strange story. This Norton Critical Edition includes: · Susan Bernofsky’s acclaimed new tra Franz Kafka's 1915 novella of nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. This new and acclaimed translation is accompanied by possible inspirations and critical analysis of Gregor Samsa's strange story. This Norton Critical Edition includes: · Susan Bernofsky’s acclaimed new translation, along with her Translator’s Note. · Introductory materials and explanatory footnotes by Mark M. Anderson. · Three illustrations. · Related texts by Kafka, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Rainer Maria Rilke, among others. · Eight critical essays by Günther Anders, Walter H. Sokel, Nina Pelikan Straus, Mark M. Anderson, Elizabeth Boa, Carolin Duttlinger, Kári Driscoll, and Dan Miron. · A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography.


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Franz Kafka's 1915 novella of nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. This new and acclaimed translation is accompanied by possible inspirations and critical analysis of Gregor Samsa's strange story. This Norton Critical Edition includes: · Susan Bernofsky’s acclaimed new tra Franz Kafka's 1915 novella of nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. This new and acclaimed translation is accompanied by possible inspirations and critical analysis of Gregor Samsa's strange story. This Norton Critical Edition includes: · Susan Bernofsky’s acclaimed new translation, along with her Translator’s Note. · Introductory materials and explanatory footnotes by Mark M. Anderson. · Three illustrations. · Related texts by Kafka, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Rainer Maria Rilke, among others. · Eight critical essays by Günther Anders, Walter H. Sokel, Nina Pelikan Straus, Mark M. Anderson, Elizabeth Boa, Carolin Duttlinger, Kári Driscoll, and Dan Miron. · A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography.

30 review for Metamorphosis (Original Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Here's a link to a BooktTube Video - all about the fabulous (and not so fabulous) old books I've read. The Written Review UPDATE FEBURARY 2021 At this point, it's become a yearly tradition to check back on this and see whatever shtstorm happened over the year. I think my favorite comments are when people are upset that my review is the most popular & they say it doesn't deserve its position. It's like...lol...what? Do you think I'm going around making nearly a thousand fake a Here's a link to a BooktTube Video - all about the fabulous (and not so fabulous) old books I've read. The Written Review UPDATE FEBURARY 2021 At this point, it's become a yearly tradition to check back on this and see whatever shtstorm happened over the year. I think my favorite comments are when people are upset that my review is the most popular & they say it doesn't deserve its position. It's like...lol...what? Do you think I'm going around making nearly a thousand fake accounts on my free time so I can like it myself or something? I'm in grad school for crepes sake. I got a thesis to write. If anything, I feel like the popularity of the review shows that there must be a lot of people out there who agree...or they want to follow the resulting fallout as goodreads users lose their minds over one negative review of a classic... 50/50 I do feel somewhat bemused by the people raising hell over me not liking/getting The Metamorphosis... Sometimes I want to say, hmm...perhaps you just don't "get" my review? Perhaps it is just going over your heads? But then I realize that it's not up to me to convince them. And that it isn't my job nor my right to force someone to think positively of something that they don't like. Could you imagine a world like that? Where you are ONLY allowed to think positively about literature and if you aren't, then an angry mob of "literature lovers" will harass you for literally years? What a world that would be... Ps. thank you for the positive comments as well. I appreciate them. I'm also hella loving your collective effort to bring this review to 400+ comments. I don't think any other review I've written has come even close to that. Pps. High five to those of you who have read this book and felt like me, that it was a rather pointless tale about a bug that died. Don't let anyone ever tell you different (ha). UPDATE MARCH 2020 Hi. It's me. Your friendly neighborhood reader. You all want to know why people don't like reading the classics? Try reading the comments. I didn't like this book and wrote a jokey review in 2018. People freaked out because A) I didn't like the book and B) poked fun at this classic in my review. The horror. Two years and 300+ comments later...annnnd *drum roll* I really don't give a sh*t anymore. I'm tired. I'm bored. It's been TWO FREAKING YEARS and people won't leave this review alone. Feel free to talk about my (lack of) intelligence all you want down below but I really don't have anything to say in the comments anymore. A BIG EFFING DISCLAIMER (January 2019): I read books for fun, not to better myself. I originally published this review MONTHS ago, for a book published DECADES ago... and I just want to say: Reviewers be warned. People are not the forgiving sort if you don't like this book. It seems that some classics must be liked, or else . Since publishing this review, many people have posted their interpretations of this book - some of which I can see, some of which I don't buy and some that really are quite brilliant. People seem convinced that if only I (the "stupid broad" as one now-deleted comment said) could understand the d*man book , then my "absolute idiocy" could be resolved and I wouldn't have to worry about my children "inheriting the stupid." While your sentiments about my future children were strong (and no doubt your hearts were in the right place), I'm afraid that won't help them. They are doomed. Even if the most stunningly accurate interpretation of the novel comes into my life, that doesn't change the fact that I didn't like the book. I'm not a professional. I'm not an English teacher. I have never claimed to be anything other than an avid reader. Just because I'm a "casual" doesn't mean that I'm only going to stick to fluffy novels. I like to branch out, sometimes with awesome and sometimes with awful results. And this one just didn't work for me. The Original Review - (February 2018) If you are someone who is looking for a serious interpretation kindly check out another. There plenty of brilliant interpretations of this novel, and so many people LOVE it. Unfortunately, I did not. I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself. Allow me to explain it to you then: You (Gregor) turned into a giant bug. Your family alternated between fearing, caring, and loathing you in your bug-body. Ultimately, you began doing lots of creepy bug-things and became a burden to them. Then you starved to death and your parents got their spare bedroom back. *slow clapping* Okaaaay, if you haven't already guessed, I didn't enjoy this one. I am not a fan of books where things just *happen* without any sort of explanation. Nor if books that give off a consistently dreary feeling throughout. I could summarize the entire book as: Gregor turns into a bug, it was not a smart move. Which is slightly misrepresenting the book - cause the book actually has Gregor turning into a bug without any rhyme or reason. Actually. Wait a moment. This is probably one of those books where everything is a representation of something significant in real life. An "Important Novel", if you will. Lemme Wikipedia this. ... ..... ........ Ok. I'm back. Apparently the bug thing is either a metaphor for a "father complex" (Gregor's dad was the most anti-Gregor/anti-bug character) or a take on the "artist struggle" (Gregor's sister is the cruelest, because she can make music). I mean, maybe? I guess that could be what the book means...? There's a cruel father and a gifted daughter...but who knows. I guess the book is so open to interpretation that it could literally mean just about anything. It kind of feels like one of those books just written for the hell of it and then some English teachers got a hold of it and now it's become an Important Novel. Therefore, I'm going to stick with my original interpretation - it's a rather pointless novel about a bug that dies. Personally, I did not like the style, the characters and the ending. It felt painful to read, the emotions and the feelings associated with the events just felt incredibly depressing. Plus, as a personal pet peeve - plenty of things happen without a solid explanation or clear motivation... which actually funnels back into my "English teachers got ahold of this novel" theory quite well. Ultimately, this took up time that I can never get back and I don't think I'll ever enjoy it. How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all this nonsense YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to discover he's been transformed into a giant beetle-like creature. Can he and his family adjust to his new form? The Metamorphosis is one of those books that a lot of people get dragooned into reading during high school and therefore are predisposed to loath. I managed to escape this fate and I'm glad. The Metamorphosis is quite a strange little book. Translated from German, The Metamorphosis is the story of how Gregor Samsa's transformation tears his family apa Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to discover he's been transformed into a giant beetle-like creature. Can he and his family adjust to his new form? The Metamorphosis is one of those books that a lot of people get dragooned into reading during high school and therefore are predisposed to loath. I managed to escape this fate and I'm glad. The Metamorphosis is quite a strange little book. Translated from German, The Metamorphosis is the story of how Gregor Samsa's transformation tears his family apart. I feel like there are hidden meanings that are just beyond my grasp. I suspect it's a commentary about how capitalism devours its workers when they're unable to work or possibly about how the people who deviate from the norm are isolated. However, I mostly notice how Samsa's a big frickin' beetle and his family pretends he doesn't exist. There's some absurdist humor at the beginning. Samsa's first thoughts upon finding out he's a beetle is how he's going to miss work. Now, I'm as dedicated to my job as most people but if I woke up to find myself a giant beetle, I don't think I'd have to mull over the decision to take a personal day or two. Aside from that, the main thing that sticks out is what a bunch of bastards Samsa's family is. He's been supporting all of them for years in his soul-crushing traveling salesman job and now they're pissed that they have to carry the workload. Poor things. It's not like Gregor's sitting on the couch drinking beer while they're working. He's a giant damn beetle! Cut him some slack. All kidding aside, the ending is pretty sad. I'll bet Mr. Samsa felt like a prick later. The Metamorphosis gets four stars, primarily for being so strange and also because it's the ancestor of many weird or bizarro tales that came afterwords. It's definitely worth an hour or two of your time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Petra hugged a guy who got Covid next day. Oh dear

    A paraphrase. When my (ex)husband went out one evening from unsettling dreams of how faraway his wife was, he went out drinking and whoring. Next morning he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. A cockroach. Much he knew it though. None of his friends recognised it, in fact they preferred the cockroach to the person he had been and he had a great time. When it was time for him to come home, armour-plated as he was he crushed his wife underfoot (well fists and kicks, but same A paraphrase. When my (ex)husband went out one evening from unsettling dreams of how faraway his wife was, he went out drinking and whoring. Next morning he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. A cockroach. Much he knew it though. None of his friends recognised it, in fact they preferred the cockroach to the person he had been and he had a great time. When it was time for him to come home, armour-plated as he was he crushed his wife underfoot (well fists and kicks, but same thing). Unlike Kafka's poor cockroach whom no one could come to terms with and is destroyed by their ultimate hatred of creepy, crawly insects that roam the house, my ex was embraced by all and became the most popular party person. Although at one stage I did have to fight off a woman who was swinging her handbag at me and tell a Spanish prostitute that my husband's unwanted attentions were no business of mine. The moral of the story is that there is more than one type of human cockroach and Kafka only wrote about one. It's all in the shell, if you are ugly, big, brown and with six legs you are hated. But handsome, big, brown and with only two, you are adored. Read this book back in 1999 and loved it. Social isolation for visible or invisible characterists reverberated with me, as did the cold gang mentality that rules once each has identified themselves as a sympathetic member. 5 star book 2 star ex husband (I did get my son so he gets a star for that).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I once used my copy to kill a beetle. Thereby combining my two passions: irony and slaughter. *wields*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gaurav

    The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis can quite easily be one of Franz Kafka’s best works of literature- one of the best in Existentialist literature. The author shows the struggle of human existence- the problem of living in modern society- through the narrator. Gregor Samsa wakes in his bed and finds himself changed into an a mammoth bug- the vermin; he battles to discover what really has transpired, he checks out his little room and everything looks ordinary to him anyway it gets a pec The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis can quite easily be one of Franz Kafka’s best works of literature- one of the best in Existentialist literature. The author shows the struggle of human existence- the problem of living in modern society- through the narrator. Gregor Samsa wakes in his bed and finds himself changed into an a mammoth bug- the vermin; he battles to discover what really has transpired, he checks out his little room and everything looks ordinary to him anyway it gets a peculiar inclination it may not be so. He attempts to turn over and return to stay in bed request to disregard what has occurred, but since of the state of his back, he can just shake from side to side. "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." The initial lines of the novella relates the odd occasion of Gregor's change in a very direct way, the author utilized the differentiating image of an abnormal circumstance and common things of life to make a preposterous world which is crisp, disorganized as opposed to rational and normal, as we expect it to be; but the Kafka always do what you least expect. Gregor becomes accustomed to his creepy vermin body and his family takes care of him (mostly an inappropriate things, however they couldn't care less) and expels furniture from his room with the goal that he can uninhibitedly move around and climb the walls. Be that as it may, they would prefer not to see his appalling structure, he is kept to his room, and normally stows away under the couch when his sister enters with his food, to save her sensibilities (as opposed to the pleasantly human creepy crawly Gregor, his sister isn't chivalrous in any way, yet progressively hostile and barbarous); his brutish dad (as Kafka himself had been quite afraid of his father) pursues him back by tossing apples at him when he once comes out. The relatives additionally need to take employments for they can no longer soak up the fruitful child. What's more, the circumstance separates, and the family crumbles. The problem of alienation is explored to depth in the novella- Gregor become insect and behaviour of his family members change towards him, he may transformed to something unusual at the core he is still the same however he faces problem of acceptance by society due to his transformed appearance, which ridicules his being- his existence- as if he is thrown into the hell of nothingness without any notice. The feebleness of his existence disintegrates his being into nothingness, under the sheer pressure of the society- the 'Other'. The novella raises some very basic and profound questions of human existence- alienation, identity, being. Kafka questions all our presuppositions of life- success, social position, money, that a healthy life is characterized by a steadily improving standard of living and a socially-acceptable appearance which we think matter most- through Gregor's metamorphosis. These presuppositions of our life pose more serious questions- which are very chilly and which can rip us apart from any sense of our (inauthentic) existence. The author robs Gregor-the protagonist- of every sense of his inauthentic existence by stealing off all assumptions of his life, now he is striped down to the very core of his existence. The protagonist is encountered with basic problems of human existence- what it takes to be?- which we encounter in our lives- if we once appeared socially acceptable and now have ceased to do so, are we still in fact ourselves? Was the socially-acceptable persona in fact ourselves, or is there more essential self-ness in the being we have now become? Or have we, in fact, been nobody in the first place, and are we nobody still? Gregor Samsa can make us ponder our own character, our identity, about the smoothness of what we take to be steady and fixed, and about the dangers and supernatural occurrences of our own metamorphosis. Kafka gives us that how the conventions of normal society are twisted because of our incompetence to look past the surface to the individual inside.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Gregor waking up one morning as a bug was a hilarious analogy of the effects an illness can have on someone, as well as on those who are close to him. Though the underlying story behind the hilarity of the analogy was anything but funny. I took it as more of a warning of what NOT to do when a loved-one is afflicted by some unfortunate disease or circumstance. I found his resistance of acknowledging to himself that he had become a bug in the beginning of the story to be very interesting. When he Gregor waking up one morning as a bug was a hilarious analogy of the effects an illness can have on someone, as well as on those who are close to him. Though the underlying story behind the hilarity of the analogy was anything but funny. I took it as more of a warning of what NOT to do when a loved-one is afflicted by some unfortunate disease or circumstance. I found his resistance of acknowledging to himself that he had become a bug in the beginning of the story to be very interesting. When he couldn't ignore his state any longer, he looked to others' reactions as to how he would look at his own condition. As he was trying to unlock his bedroom door to let his parents and supervisor in, he thought, "If they took fright, then Gregor would have no further responsibility and could rest in peace. But if they took it all calmly, then he had no reason to get excited either and he could, if he hurried, actually be at the station by eight." The reaction of those around him, and most importantly, those of his closest loved-ones, is what influenced his own attitude towards himself and his own state. He became completely ashamed of himself, striving to completely hide himself from view, though it took great effort and pain on his part to do so. His imprisonment, or rather, his confinement from the company of others, had a devastating affect upon his mental well-being and in turn, affected his physical well-being. Such a sad story and the fact that his family didn't feel remorse for their actions, but relief for themselves at his death... I don't believe Kafka was trying to say this is how humans are indubitably, even though most of them try to put on a show of galantry and higher morals. But that humans certainly can become some of the most self-serving, self-centered creatures on Earth. It serves as a warning to us all that while it is good to allow others to serve us from time to time, it is far better to always serve others. Gregor's family had all become accustomed to being taken care of by him. They didn't even mind that he was held in servitude to pay off their debts. This was made evident when the fact was made known that Gregor's father had been saving up extra money earned by Gregor, when it could have been used to pay for his freedom much sooner. Gregor, on the other hand, had been serving his family and loved them purely because of it. His first thought was not of himself, but of the hardship his condition would cause his family. So lest we fall into such an ugly state of existence, let us guard ourselves by serving those we love, thus loving more those we serve.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Die Verwandlung = The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was first published in 1915. One of Kafka's best-known works, The Metamorphosis tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect and subsequently struggling to adjust to this new condition. The novella has been widely discussed among literary critics, with differing interpretations being offered. The Hunter Gracchus is Die Verwandlung = The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was first published in 1915. One of Kafka's best-known works, The Metamorphosis tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect and subsequently struggling to adjust to this new condition. The novella has been widely discussed among literary critics, with differing interpretations being offered. The Hunter Gracchus is a short story by Franz Kafka. The story presents a boat carrying the long-dead Hunter Gracchus as it arrives at a port. The mayor of Riva meets Gracchus, who gives him an account of his death while hunting, and explains that he is destined to wander aimlessly and eternally over the seas. An additional fragment presents an extended dialogue between Gracchus and an unnamed interviewer, presumably the same mayor. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: در سال 1974 میلادی؛ بار دیگر: روز دهم ماه نوامبر سال 1995 میلادی عنوان: مسخ: نوشته: فرانتس کافکا؛ مترجم: صادق هدایت؛ کتاب در قطع جیبی و شامل داستانهای: «مسخ»؛ «گراکوس شکارچی»؛ «شمشیر»؛ «در کنیسه ما»؛ نخستین ترجمه فارسی این اثر، از متن «فرانسه» به قلم روانشاد «صادق هدایت» منتشر شد؛ سپس ترجمه ی بانو «فرزانه طاهری» در سال1358هجری خورشیدی، توسط انتشارات نیلوفر آمد، که از متن انگلیسی ترجمه شده بود، و انتشار یافت؛ ترجمه ی دیگری را نیز، جناب «علی اصغر حداد» از متن اصلی، و از زبان «آلمانی»، ترجمه کرده اند، که نشر ماهی منتشر کرده است مَسخ داستان کوتاهی، از «فرانتس کافکا» است؛ که در ماه اکتبر سال 1915میلادی، در «لایپزیگ»، به چاپ رسید؛ «مسخ» از مهمترین آثار ادبیات فانتزی سده بیستم میلادی است، که در دانشکده‌ ها، و آموزشگاه‌ های ادبیات سراسر جهان غرب، تدریس می‌شود داستان درباره ی فروشنده ی جوانی، به نام «گرگور سامسا» است؛ که یک روز صبح، از خواب بیدار، و متوجه می‌شود، که به یک حشره ی نفرت‌ انگیز بدل شده است؛ برهان مسخ «سامسا»، در طول داستان بازگو نمی‌شود، و خود «کافکا» نیز، هیچگاه در مورد آن شرحی نداده اند؛ لحن روشن، و دقیق و رسمی نویسنده در این کتاب، تضادی حیرت انگیز با موضوع کابوس‌وار داستان دارد؛ «ولادیمیر ناباکوف»، در مورد این داستان، گفته است: «اگر کسی مسخ کافکا را، چیزی بیش از یک خیال‌پردازی حشره‌ شناسانه بداند، به او تبریک می‌گویم، چون به صف خوانشگران خوب و بزرگ پیوسته است»؛ مترجم مسخ باور دارد، که «گرگور سامسا» در واقع، کنایه‌ ای از شخصیت خود نویسنده (کافکا) است نقل از متن پشت کتاب: (نویسندگان کمیابی هستند، که برای نخستین بار، سبک و فکر و موضوع تازه ای را، به میان میکشند، به خصوص معنی جدید میآورند؛ که پیش از آنها وجود نداشته است. کافکا یکی از هنرمندترین نویسندگان این دسته، به شمار میآید.؛ خواننده ای که با دنیای کافکا سر و کار پیدا میکند، در حالیکه خرد و خیره شده، به سویش کشیده میشود.؛ همینکه از آستانه ی دنیایش گذشت، تأثیر آنرا در زندگی خود حس میکند، و پی میبرد، که دنیا آنقدر هم بن بست نبوده است.)؛ پایان نقل تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 10/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    4* for the novella + 1* for Benedict Cumberbatch narration ( I adore his voice). A family (mother, father and sister) are forced to become responsible and find jobs when the son, the sole provider of the family, has a sort of a disease and cannot work anymore. As he becomes useless he is marginalized and despised. I almost forgot, the disease is that the son wakes up in the morning as a cockroach. Methamorphosis is considered one of the best books ever written which is quite remarkable consideri 4* for the novella + 1* for Benedict Cumberbatch narration ( I adore his voice). A family (mother, father and sister) are forced to become responsible and find jobs when the son, the sole provider of the family, has a sort of a disease and cannot work anymore. As he becomes useless he is marginalized and despised. I almost forgot, the disease is that the son wakes up in the morning as a cockroach. Methamorphosis is considered one of the best books ever written which is quite remarkable considering its size. To succeed to have such an impact in a few pages is an accomplishment. At a first glance it is the story of Gregor Samsa, who wakes up transformed as a vermin and becomes treated like one by the family. As with great literature, and with Kafka in particular, there is more than meets the eye. Some of the themes that come to my mind (and some that I read in other reviews) are: - What happens when a person is no longer sociable acceptable and it becomes marginalized - The novel can be seen as a critic of discrimination or - Kafka’s own existential suffering and his alienation from the world ( I think some reading about Kafka’s life is needed to better understand his work). - A fable of Jews’ condition For a better and more in depth analysis of the novella please check Vladimir Nabokov’s contribution: http://www.kafka.org/index.php?id=191...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Kafka’s classic tale written in 1912 is about the changes that can come about in our lives. Up until the very end, the entire tale takes place in an apartment of a mother, father, son and daughter. The son is unfortunately unable to continue to perform his job as a traveling salesman and support his family financially. This abrupt change forces the father, mother and daughter to exert more energy in their lives and take steps to earn money. Here is a word about each member of the family: The Fath Kafka’s classic tale written in 1912 is about the changes that can come about in our lives. Up until the very end, the entire tale takes place in an apartment of a mother, father, son and daughter. The son is unfortunately unable to continue to perform his job as a traveling salesman and support his family financially. This abrupt change forces the father, mother and daughter to exert more energy in their lives and take steps to earn money. Here is a word about each member of the family: The Father – At the beginning of the tale he is too worn out to even stand up straight and walk across the apartment without pausing. At the end, he stands up straight, combs his white hair neatly, wears a uniform smartly in his new job working for a bank and can take charge of family situations and challenges with authority. The Mother – At the outset, she is weak and helpless. At the end, she does the household cooking and helps support her family through taking in sewing. The Daughter – A wan stay-at-home at the beginning and a healthy out-in-the-world worker at the end. At the very end, this 17 year-old blossoms into an attractive young lady, a real catch for some lucky guy. This Kafka tale is, in some important ways, the forerunner of such books as How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Of course, what I've written above is tongue-in-cheek. Not to be taken seriously! Review of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka ---- Take 2 If I didn’t write this ‘Take 2’ I suspect my book review would be the first in nearly 100 years not to mention Gregor wakes up transformed into an enormous bug. Since there already so many reviews posted, I’d like to offer several brief observations: • What is it about our attempt to maintain the status quo? Gregor is transformed into a monstrous verminous bug and all he and his mother and father and sister can ask is: ‘How can we change things back to how they were?’. • The objective 3rd person narrator lets us know directly that although Gregor’s body has transformed, he still has his human mind with its memories. Why does his family assume Gregor lost his human mind? If they wanted, they could simply ask him questions to find out. For example, ‘Gregor, if you can understand what I am saying, move over to the right side of your room’. This speaks volumes about how people are too narrow in their thinking to deal with life creatively and with imagination. • What adds to the eeriness of Kafka tale is Gregor’s metamorphosis is in stark contrast to the humdrum regularity of the family in their apartment. The possible exception is the absurdist scene at the beginning where Gregor’s manager knocks on the door and insists on knowing why Gregor missed the early morning train. This combination of these opposites is a stroke of genius. • The most insightful review of this Kafka tale I’ve read is from Vladimir Nabokov ------ http://www.kafka.org/index.php?id=191.... Nabokov adjudged Kafka’s tale the greatest novel of the 20th century behind Joyce’s Ulysses.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    Some modern personal transformations are no less dramatic than those immortalized by Ovid… One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the siz Some modern personal transformations are no less dramatic than those immortalized by Ovid… One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked. On turning into the loathsome insect, Gregor Samsa actually acquired his authentic essential nature – his body just had come into accordance with his inner insectival self. In his new shape, his parents had no sympathy for him and for his sister he has become a kind of a pet. Strange may it seem but Gregor’s metamorphosis had set his family free – everyone became more independent and his kin began to feel that they have some obligations. Gregor drew his head back from the door and lifted it to look at his father. Truly, this was not the father he had imagined to himself; admittedly he had been too absorbed of late in his new recreation of crawling over the ceiling to take the same interest as before in what was happening elsewhere in the flat, and he ought really to be prepared for some changes. And yet, and yet, could that be his father? The man who used to lie wearily sunk in bed whenever Gregor set out on a business journey; who welcomed him back of an evening lying in a long chair in a dressing gown; who could not really rise to his feet but only lifted his arms in greeting, and on the rare occasions when he did go out with his family, on one or two Sundays a year and on high holidays, walked between Gregor and his mother, who were slow walkers anyhow, even more slowly than they did, muffled in his old greatcoat, shuffling laboriously forward with the help of his crook-handled stick which he set down most cautiously at every step and, whenever he wanted to say anything, nearly always came to a full stop and gathered his escort around him? Now he was standing there in fine shape; dressed in a smart blue uniform with gold buttons, such as bank messengers wear; his strong double chin bulged over the stiff high collar of his jacket; from under his bushy eyebrows his black eyes darted fresh and penetrating glances; his onetime tangled white hair had been combed flat on either side of a shining and carefully exact parting. Nonentity’s tragedy was just his own tragedy and when he disappeared, everyone could breathe easy. It makes me wonder how many paltry insects are really hiding behind human masks.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Die Verwandlung und Der Jäger Gracchus = The Metamorphosis and The Hunter Gracchus, Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was first published in 1915. One of Kafka's best-known works, The Metamorphosis tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect and subsequently struggling to adjust to this new condition. The novella has been widely discussed among literary critics, with differing int Die Verwandlung und Der Jäger Gracchus = The Metamorphosis and The Hunter Gracchus, Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was first published in 1915. One of Kafka's best-known works, The Metamorphosis tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect and subsequently struggling to adjust to this new condition. The novella has been widely discussed among literary critics, with differing interpretations being offered. The Hunter Gracchus is a short story by Franz Kafka. The story presents a boat carrying the long-dead Hunter Gracchus as it arrives at a port. The mayor of Riva meets Gracchus, who gives him an account of his death while hunting, and explains that he is destined to wander aimlessly and eternally over the seas. An additional fragment presents an extended dialogue between Gracchus and an unnamed interviewer, presumably the same mayor. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1974میلادی؛ بار دیگر: روز دهم ماه نوامبر سال 1995میلادی عنوان: مسخ و گراکوس (گراچوس) شکارچی؛ نوشته: فرانتس کافکا؛ مترجم: صادق هدایت؛ کتاب در قطع جیبی و شامل داستانهای: (مسخ؛ گراکوس شکارچی؛ شمشیر؛ در کنیسه ما)؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان آلمان - سده 20م نخستین ترجمه فارسی این اثر از متن «فرانسه» به قلم روانشاد «صادق هدایت» منتشر شد؛ سپس ترجمه بانو «فرزانه طاهری» در سال1358هجری خورشیدی، توسط انتشارات «نیلوفر»، که از متن انگلیسی ترجمه شده بود، انتشار یافت؛ ترجمه ی دیگری نیز از جناب «علی اصغر حداد» را، که از متن اصلی و از زبان «آلمانی» ترجمه شده، نشر «ماهی» منتشر کرده است؛ داستان کوتاه «مَسخ» اثر «فرانتس کافکا» است؛ که نخستین بار در ماه اکتبر سال 1915میلادی، در «لایپزیگ» به چاپ رسید؛ «مسخ» از مهمترین آثار ادبیات فانتزی سده ی بیستم میلادی است، که در دانشکده‌ ها و آموزشگاه‌های ادبیات سراسر جهان غرب، تدریس می‌شود؛ داستان، در مورد فروشنده ی جوانی به نام «گرگور سامسا» است؛ که یکروز صبح از خواب بیدار، و متوجه می‌شود، که به یک مخلوق نفرت‌ انگیز حشره‌ مانند، تبدیل شده است؛ دلیل «مسخ» شدن «سامسا»، در طول داستان بازگو نمی‌شود، و خود «کافکا» نیز، هیچگاه در مورد آن توضیحی ندادند؛ لحن روشن، دقیق، و رسمی نویسنده در این کتاب، تضادی حیرت انگیز، با موضوع کابوس‌وار داستان دارد؛ ولادیمیر ناباکوف، در مورد این داستان گفته است: (اگر کسی «مسخ» «کافکا» را چیزی بیش از یک خیال‌پردازی حشره‌ شناسانه بداند، به او تبریک می‌گویم، چون به صف خوانشگران خوب، و بزرگ پیوسته است.)؛ مترجم فرانسوی «مسخ» باور دارد که: («گرگور سامسا»، در واقع کنایه‌ ای از شخصیت خود نویسنده «کافکا» است؛ نقل از متن پشت جلد کتاب: (نویسندگان کمیابی هستند که برای نخستین بار، سبک و فکر و موضوع تازه ای را به میان میکشند، به خصوص معنی جدید میآورند؛ که پیش از آنها وجود نداشته است؛ «کافکا» یکی از هنرمندترین نویسندگان این دسته به شمار میآیند؛ خوانشگری که با دنیای «کافکا» سر و کار پیدا میکند، در حالیکه خرد و خیره شده، باز هم به سویش کشیده میشود؛ همین که از آستانه ی دنیایش گذشت، تأثیر آن را در زندگی خود نیز حس میکند، و پی میبرد، که دنیا آنقدر هم بن بست نبوده است.)؛ پایان نقل تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 09/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  12. 5 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    It was no dream. Gregor Samsa awakes one day, changed forever. How unpredictable is life, one moment leading to a new labyrinth of existence where forward is the only motion available, our scars and choices following us in a tuneless parade with few interested spectators. Despite our lives being a personal struggle, it is constantly judged, criticized and appraised by all those whom we encounter. Oh, the injuries we inflict upon one another. We alienate and assume instead of communicate, we fear It was no dream. Gregor Samsa awakes one day, changed forever. How unpredictable is life, one moment leading to a new labyrinth of existence where forward is the only motion available, our scars and choices following us in a tuneless parade with few interested spectators. Despite our lives being a personal struggle, it is constantly judged, criticized and appraised by all those whom we encounter. Oh, the injuries we inflict upon one another. We alienate and assume instead of communicate, we fear differences and we yell when we should love. Strange how the ones we love tend to be the ones we hurt, or hurt us the most. Kafka’s classic story The Metamorphosis is an alarming tale of alienation and hurt that seems fantastical on the outside to house a bitter pill of reality that has roots in us all. What is most compelling about Kafka is his ability to construct a tale from personal anxiety and injury that broadcasts as a universal message to all that read it, honing in on the guilt, loneliness and frustration in every heart. Gregor’s terrifying tale of transformation is a powerful rendition of guilt and the failure to succeed in a father’s eyes that utilizes religious imagery and fantastical occurences to drive the knife into the reader’s heart and soul. Gregor lives a life of solemn servitude to his job and, most importantly, his family. His job is a necessity to support a family whose debts accrued by the now-unemployed father are being repaid by the fruits of Gregor’s labor. While Gregor has provided the family with a modest home which he shares with them, the debt seems an unquenchable burden he can never fulfill. In the original German, the word schuld means both ‘debt’ and ‘guilt’¹, a critical texture to the text ironed away by translation that opens a gateway of understanding Gregor’s father issues. There is the guilt at being unable to satisfy the father, to live up to the father, and the senior Samsa is a quick tempered man. Kafka struggled with a strained relationship with his own abusive father, a struggle that he transformed into a literary theme permeating much of his artistic output. Much of Kafka’s life soaks into this work, much like the constant slamming doors he often complained of in his own household with his family. Despite his transformation, what initially upsets Gregor most is that he is missing work. I felt this sting deep within myself, being the head of a household and barely making ends meet despite long hours. The burden of the working class is to be so dependant on a job as life-blood creating a system of guilt and depraved necessity that pulls us from bed to work despite any affliction; we must work, we must provide, we must survive. To stumble is to die, yet even staggering onward seems just a slow suicide climbing towards an unattainable surface from our pit of existence. Gregor feels this, the reader feels this, and Kafka’s magic has been unleashed. To fail to work is yet another failure in the eyes of the obdurate father, but also in a society that is built to enrich the upper classes on the blood and sweat of the working class and at their expense. At its very core, this story is a critique of capitalism and the absurdities of upholding such a system. The father and the Father seem united in the character of the elder Samsa. Kafka himself struggled with his Jewish identity, made plain in his diaries. As Vladimir Nabokov points out in his exquisite lectures on The Metamorphosis², the number three is pivotal to the understanding of the story. The story is divided into three parts. There are three doors to Gregor’s room. His family consists of three people. Three servants appear in the course of the story. Three lodgers have three beards. Three Samsas write three letters. Three, of course, representing the Holy Trinity (there are many other important details surrounding three, such as the clock tower striking three after Gregor retreats into his room, or Gregor standing on his three hind legs since the fourth was damaged beyond repair). The rejection and unfulfillment of the father is also Gregor’s failure to be valuable in the eyes of the Father, God, and perhaps this may be the cause of the unexplained (and rather unquestioned for the most part) transformation that has befallen the poor man. The fatal blow pinning Gregor to the ground like a crucified Christ (while this may be a slight stretch, there are other Christ-like references such as the sudden pain in Gregor's side much like the spear in the side while on the cross) is an Edenic apple thrown from the father, rotting and festering in him like our sins until we breath our last. ‘All language is but a poor translation,’ said Kafka, made evident in Gregor’s failure to communicate in his new form. Communication is the cornerstone of understanding others, and being stripped of his voice severs his link to his family and humanity. ‘That was the voice of an animal,’ the office chief exclaims after Gregor attempts to communicate with them through language. With his loss of language, his family slowly ceases to view him as Gregor but as a dumb beast, easing them into letting go of their notions that he is still Gregor. He is now an unproductive, dumb hindrance to their lives and they begin to forget him and move on to a productive life of work and family without him. It is like an invalid aging relative, many continue to care for them out of respect for their memory, but the person slowly becomes a chore or a burden and not a human-being in their minds. Another view of Gregor in his new state is that of a person stricken by crushing depression or other mental or emotional ailments where those around them begin to view them by their illness and not their soul. They forget the person that is still there, the person they know and love, and dwell on the chasm forged between them. It is human nature, it makes it easier to cope. How many people walk away when times get tough, even abandon the ones they love because it is easier to convince yourself they are not the person you loved than it is to fight for them or fight for what was once had. Kafka’s genius is that he took a personal experience and related it as a universal parable with endless interpretations, each unique and equally valid as they blossom within each respective reader. Rereading this story was a rewarding experience and I very much connected with it. Gregor was a traveling businessman, and I am a traveling delivery driver. The musings on the plight and unique depression of long hours in strange faraway places hit home, as well as the notion from everyone else that traveling in such a manner is some royal treat. Granted, I greatly enjoy the work and the freedom of being, essentially, a professional vagrant, yet there is a tinge of alienation being a person without an anchor, always on the move, always chasing a horizon. The feelings of guilt, of alienation, the struggles with family, everything range true plucking my heartstrings like a guitar to form a foreboding yet fantastic melody. Kafka is as relevant to the modern reader as he was in his own time with themes that illuminate us with their timeless insight into society and the individual. 4.5/5 I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself. ¹ There is an interesting article recently published by the BBC on ‘the German’s debt psyche’ and the cultural relationship between debt and guilt stemming from the word schuld. ² There is a wonderful film adaptation of Nabokov’s lectures with Christopher Plummer as Nabokov. You can watch it here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    there was a trend going around on tiktok for a while where girls would ask their boyfriends, ‘if i were a worm, would you still date me?’ those girls are literally this MC, except gregor samsas tiktok would be him asking his family, ‘if i were an insect, would you still love me?’ and the answer is a hard NO. at face value, i found this to be a rather weird and super depressing story. and this book is a perfect example of why i have such a love/hate relationship with stories that are considered c there was a trend going around on tiktok for a while where girls would ask their boyfriends, ‘if i were a worm, would you still date me?’ those girls are literally this MC, except gregor samsas tiktok would be him asking his family, ‘if i were an insect, would you still love me?’ and the answer is a hard NO. at face value, i found this to be a rather weird and super depressing story. and this book is a perfect example of why i have such a love/hate relationship with stories that are considered classics. i read for entertainment, so i generally prefer not having to analyse the text in order to get a full understanding of the story. and this is one that requires deep analysis. gosh, any reader could spend hours trying to interpret this novella. religiously, psychologically, socially - all are different interpretations this story could take. not to mention the influence of different translations. but i found that i just didnt care enough about the story to put in all that effort. maybe one day i will take the time to figure out what it all truly means. if i do, i have no doubt i will be able to appreciate this story more, like many other readers. but as of right now, im just not in the mood. ↠ 2.5 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Gregor Samsa awakes from a bad dream, into a mad nightmare, as he struggles, stuck in his own bed this weary, young traveling salesman, has overnight been miraculously transformed... incredibly Gregor is now a hideous bug, a dung beetle , or even a cockroach does it really matter what ? He has missed his train in more ways than one, but Samsa, is a real trooper, still thinks he can catch the locomotive and make that vile business trip, eventually getting off the bed with great difficulty, just a Gregor Samsa awakes from a bad dream, into a mad nightmare, as he struggles, stuck in his own bed this weary, young traveling salesman, has overnight been miraculously transformed... incredibly Gregor is now a hideous bug, a dung beetle , or even a cockroach does it really matter what ? He has missed his train in more ways than one, but Samsa, is a real trooper, still thinks he can catch the locomotive and make that vile business trip, eventually getting off the bed with great difficulty, just a slight crash, in truth, opening the locked door somehow and moving around on the floor, in his many, new, ugly little legs the parents and sister are greatly shocked, at his new repulsive appearance. And when the office manager arrives to see what happened , big mistake, he spots Samsa and is out the door without a word spoken (twitching a little). Now the "Bug" becomes a burden to his lazy, ungrateful family after years of Gregor supporting them, all by himself (a job he hated, with a big passion), they much embarrassed , hide him in his modest quiet room, feeding the "monstrous vermin", leftover garbage from their table scraps, a menu the bug implausibly prefers...Months pass and it becomes obvious something has to give, the reader will decide is Samsa a real dung beetle, or is he mentally ill? But to some, the gist of the fable is, how much does your family love you? A brutal depiction of a family in tremendous turmoil...expediency triumphs.

  15. 4 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    My ever dearest Kafka, It has come to my attention that you've left a manuscript behind pertaining to the extermination of vermins. So my eccentric little self decided to pick up a copy of yours hoping to annihilate pests of the worst, possibly, the most malicious kind, only to find out you didn't offer such trick. Well, woe is me! There goes me gay self screaming and running away from flying roaches! Ackkkk! Shoooo! Oh bollocks, you could've helped! Interestingly, what I discovered was a lustrou My ever dearest Kafka, It has come to my attention that you've left a manuscript behind pertaining to the extermination of vermins. So my eccentric little self decided to pick up a copy of yours hoping to annihilate pests of the worst, possibly, the most malicious kind, only to find out you didn't offer such trick. Well, woe is me! There goes me gay self screaming and running away from flying roaches! Ackkkk! Shoooo! Oh bollocks, you could've helped! Interestingly, what I discovered was a lustrous gem of sorts — a brilliant speculative fiction that neither offers answers nor questions as to why something is happening, only that it is really occurring! While I thought to turn Gregor Samsa into a monstrous insect was quite preposterous, it seems that in the end, it was the most logical choice, or so I thought! If Alice was to trot along with me and find this surreal handbook with absurdist humour, I wager that she'll say the same thing when she was in Wonderland a long time ago, "Curiouser and curiouser!" Indeed, it was baffling and sufficient to bedazzle your foes! Give this as a gift, let them read and interpret it, and wish upon a bloody star that one day your enemies will metamorphose into a despicable vermin that you can whack or swat with tremendous gusto, that is, depending on their particular form. Being turned into a monstrous insect is no mean feat especially if you're a travelling salesman and a breadwinner with a family to support — an asthmatic mother, a workshy father, and a clueless sister. Unfortunately, poor Gregor took that frightful curse of being turned into a vermin of sorts. Once a human who was socially acceptable, now he's but a social pariah — alienated, ostracised, and discriminated. I wonder though what you've really meant by this novella of yours. Was this a philosophical commentary or an allegory about the human condition, human nature, or our precarious existence? Was this a mirror that reflects how we treat others who are entirely different? Was this your way to expose the masks that we've held long enough just to uncover our true essence as human beings? Was this your life story? Were you trying to unveil the nefarious ways how humans can be so corrupt to their core that they forgot how to care, see each other through by loving one another and showing kindness in so many ways? That I wouldn't know for you are not here. All you've left is but a manuscript that will leave us feeling discombobulated for many years to come! How disappointing! Anyways, your version of vermins is already obsolete, my friend. Ever since you've left this world, vermins in the form of some reprehensible humans have survived! Yes, we do have that in our lives, unfortunately, which reminds me that I might need to further transmogrify them into roaches and whack, smoosh, squish-squash those little scuttling critters out of existence by wielding my handy-dandy, ever-reliable broomstick! Not all vermins are worth the empathy, mind you! Only your story does. Wish me luck though! This one will feel like a game of Whack-a-Mole with me squealing while chasing those pests away from my life! Your fan and friend, JV Audiobook rating (narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch): Narrative voice & style - ★★★★★ Vocal characterisation - ★★★★★ Inflexion & intonation - ★★★★★ Voice quality - ★★★★★ Audiobook verdict - ★★★★★ (Exquisite performance, superbly brilliant, a must-have!)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁

    Any day you wake up as a cockroach is a shit day.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Surreal, inexplicable and unusual, Kafka explores the futility of human existence. Or does he? Gregor Sansa is turned into a bug and through the process he realises just how insignificant he is, how insignificant we all, ultimately, are in the greater scheme of things. He was his family’s backbone, holding them up, supporting them financially whist they took the easy path. However, when that backbone is removed the unit adapts; it carries on and finds new means of survival. The most important me Surreal, inexplicable and unusual, Kafka explores the futility of human existence. Or does he? Gregor Sansa is turned into a bug and through the process he realises just how insignificant he is, how insignificant we all, ultimately, are in the greater scheme of things. He was his family’s backbone, holding them up, supporting them financially whist they took the easy path. However, when that backbone is removed the unit adapts; it carries on and finds new means of survival. The most important member of the family is swept aside, forgotten about and life continues as it always must. I guess he wasn’t that important after all. There are so many designs that can be put onto this story, so many interpretations. And this is what Kafka does so well. He leaves you with absolutely nothing, no answers or explanations, only a simple case of this happened and it ended like this. We as readers look for meaning within the narrative because that is how narrative traditionally works. There has to be a point to it all, right? But perhaps that is the point: there is no point. Perhaps by looking too hard we miss what Kafka is trying to say, or not say, with his passive writing. There are certainly elements of alienation in here, even in the recollections Gregor has before he was turned into a bug. As per the modernist mode, he was isolated from his peers and the world at large. Powerlessness is also another theme that runs through the story. Gregor’s family, and Gregor, cannot stop what is happening. They just have to go on with it and hope to make it through to the other side. A suggestion that no matter how hard we work in life, how much love or success we appear to have, we can be struck down at any moment. Forced into a situation we cannot control, we perish. Such is life. It would be easy to talk about elements of Kafka’s own biography here, and consider the work’s relevance to events that would eventually happen later in the century, but I think that would be to put too much of a design on the book. His personal feelings about life obviously helped to propel much of his writing. He wrote many strange stories, though Metamorphosis is the most renowned of his work. Utterly compelling, yet bewildering, this isn’t a story that will ever leave the reader. It’s haunting and told with realistic mundanity. “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous bug…”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    "Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt." - "As Gregor Samsa was waking up one morning from restless dreams, he discovered in his bed that he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug." (my own translation) This novella starts with a shock, but ignores the "why" and "how" (I don't think anyone in the book ever asked either of those questions) in favor of exploring Gregor's and his family's reactio "Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt." - "As Gregor Samsa was waking up one morning from restless dreams, he discovered in his bed that he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug." (my own translation) This novella starts with a shock, but ignores the "why" and "how" (I don't think anyone in the book ever asked either of those questions) in favor of exploring Gregor's and his family's reactions to the change and how it affects their relationships and their lives. Franz Kafka had a fraught relationship with his father, a butcher and a loud, overbearing, self-satisfied man who was critical of Franz. I can see Kafka's internal feeling of insufficiency giving root to this story where it is externalized into the physical appearance of a loathsome bug, alienated from all around him. Interestingly, the number three plays a repeated role: three parts to the story, three family members, three servants, three bearded lodgers... It's debatable what this means, but I tend to think Kafka was referencing the number three's popularity in folk and fairy tales (three wishes, three brothers, three billy goats Gruff, etc.) to give his story additional heft and a more timeless feel, rather than, say, it being used here a religious symbol. But Kafka, who was Jewish, did use some religious and even Christian symbols. Note the symbolic apple and the crucifixion imagery here:An apple thrown without much force glanced against Gregor's back and slid off without doing any harm. Another one however, immediately following it, hit squarely and lodged in his back; Gregor wanted to drag himself away, as if he could remove the surprising, the incredible pain by changing his position; but he felt as if nailed to the spot and spread himself out, all his senses in confusion.My main thought after finishing this is that the family relationships being dissected here are incredibly sad, and disturbing. In an essay on The Metamorphosis, Vladimir Nabokov stated that "Gregor is a human being in an insect's disguise; his family are insects disguised as people." I've gone back and forth on whether I agree with this, but it certainly has given me a lot of food for thought: There's the originally loving sister who turns on him, the frail and helpless mother who lets him be mistreated, and the father who attacks him physically in the only two interactions they have. They betray him repeatedly, and Gregor always accepts it meekly and even makes excuses to himself for their mistreatment of him. His father stashing away Gregor's wages while Gregor was working at a horrific job to pay off the father's bankruptcy, was awful to read about, and Gregor simply rationalizes it. It's particularly chilling how in the end they all brush off (view spoiler)[Gregor's death and cheerfully move on, even blossom hatch from their cocoons, after he's gone (hide spoiler)] . I ended up reading about 30% of this in German and the rest in English, going back and forth between two side-by-side versions. Some of the German dialogue and expressions don't translate well into English. For example, Gregor's boss is called "Herr Prokurist" -- literally, Mr. Manager (which was the name used for him in one translation I looked at), but it sounds very lame in English. So I appreciated the additional level of authenticity and even insight that reading parts of this in the original German gave to me. The more I think about this and pick it apart, the more impressed I am with it. There are so many layers to this story. I started out with 3 stars based on my college memories of reading this, upped it to 4 stars when I finished it the other day, and, after spending more time analyzing it for this review, am finally winding up with 5. Reread with the Non-Crunchy Cool Classic Pantaloonless Buddy Readers group. I highly recommend taking a look at Vladimir Nabokov's lecture and notes on The Metamorphosis, here at the Kafka Project website. Initial post:I didn't care for this when I studied it in college but I'm hoping it will grow on me this time. I've found a cool website with side-by-side English and German versions of the story: http://bilinguis.com/book/metamorphos... So my intention is to try to work through this novella in German. Wish me luck! <---ETA: this was a semi-successful experiment. See above.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    One morning a young man woke up and decided he didn't want to leave his room. He felt at odds with the world and wished he could opt out of his busy life. He knew he was unlikely to get away with skipping school, so he thought about how to find a perfect excuse. His eyes fell upon the half-read copy of Kafka's Metamorphosis he had left beside his bed, and was pleased. When his stressed mum banged on the bedroom door and yelled that it was time for breakfast, shower and school, he answered: "I ca One morning a young man woke up and decided he didn't want to leave his room. He felt at odds with the world and wished he could opt out of his busy life. He knew he was unlikely to get away with skipping school, so he thought about how to find a perfect excuse. His eyes fell upon the half-read copy of Kafka's Metamorphosis he had left beside his bed, and was pleased. When his stressed mum banged on the bedroom door and yelled that it was time for breakfast, shower and school, he answered: "I can't!" "What kind of nonsense is that?" yelled his mum. "I have been transformed into a giant insect and can't move my arms and legs! I mean my legs and legs!" "Ooooohhh please, I don't have time for this stupid game, get out of your room now, and get ready!" "You can leave, I'll stay here!" But his mum knew her Kafka well, and was not ready to let go of her eldest son. Vermin or not, he would socialise and be part of the family. And he would go to school. "Listen!" she yelled at him. "You live in the wrong place and the wrong time! We care about people here in Sweden, no matter what their personal condition is. If you have a minor insectification problem, so be it. I will write and explain to your teacher that you need certain special education tools, and we can find you a hobby that fits your ability as well." "No! They will bully me." "Oh no! There is a perfectly functional anti-bullying programme at your school, and you have been working on it yourself!" "No! I feel weak!" "Oh forget it! Fresh air is just the right environment for insects! What kind of bug are you anyway?" "Mum!" "Yes, I thought I could send an email to your grandparents, announcing the change!" "Mum!" "Your siblings have a right to know as well. Shall I go and get one of those nature books, so you can check for yourself?" "Mum, you are not going to stay outside my room for the rest of the day, are you? Haven't you got a job to go to?" "I'll call in sick to take care of my insect son!" "Can't you just leave me alone?" "Nope! I'll wait here with an action plan until you open your door and come out! I stick by my children, whatever mess they have gotten themselves into!" "Okay, I give up! It is impossible to be an isolated, grumpy, neglected insect these days, with all those over-active parents and student care teams buzzing around like annoying flies!" The young man opened the door, went through his morning rituals, left for school, and did his chores. In the evening, he finished reading Kafka. "Maybe it's not so bad to live here and now after all", he said, smiling in a truly Kafkaesque way. The story could be true.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    Gregor’s transformation into a bug is no ordinary plight, and yet the fallout of this event is bitterly recognizable. Relatable, even. In fact, I associate myself with Gregor so exactly that it is almost as if Kafka had been writing—in his veiled, symbolic way—about my queer anxieties, just as they are today, in this summer of 2021. For context, let me briefly address what’s going on in my life before getting into the novel. I am a thirty-two year old gay man who recently “came out” to his deeply Gregor’s transformation into a bug is no ordinary plight, and yet the fallout of this event is bitterly recognizable. Relatable, even. In fact, I associate myself with Gregor so exactly that it is almost as if Kafka had been writing—in his veiled, symbolic way—about my queer anxieties, just as they are today, in this summer of 2021. For context, let me briefly address what’s going on in my life before getting into the novel. I am a thirty-two year old gay man who recently “came out” to his deeply religious family. I use quotes here because I did not so much come out as stop tip-toeing around this aspect of my life. For several years my family has known about my boyfriend and yet believes any recognition of my relationship will “condone” the abominable act. So they pretend he doesn’t exist. Whenever my boyfriend’s name comes up, they turn to ice, go completely silent until the topic moves on to something else. I can return home for a visit, provided I travel alone and never speak of my personal life, otherwise I am not invited. Having finally grown exhausted of this game, I informed my parents and siblings that if I could not see them with my boyfriend by my side, I simply couldn’t see them anymore. The response was flat “then I guess we won’t see each other for a while.” And by “for a while” the subtext is, until I’m not gay—or at least until I’m not openly gay. With this dilemma bubbling around in my head, I found it shocking that every detail in Kafka’s bizarre 1915 novel served as a parable for my experience, and indeed many other queer experiences which I haven’t personally encountered. It begins with the image of a locked door. Gregor’s titular metamorphosis occurs behind closed doors, with his entire family “knock[ing] lightly” from both the main entrance and a side door leading to Gregor’s room. The family understands something is wrong, Gregor is usually quite punctual for work, and his mother makes excuses on his behalf: “‘He is not well, believe me, Mr. Manager…the young man has nothing in his head except business. I’m almost angry that he never goes out at night.” Meanwhile, the sister goes so far as to “beg” him to come out. The irony is, of course, that once the family gains access to Gregor (and thus Gregor’s secret) they are appalled and close the door again. Such probing accusations—“‘What is wrong? You barricade yourself in your room, give us no more than yes or no for an answer, you are causing serious and unnecessary concern to your parents…’”—have a familiar echo to my own experiences. These translate in my head as “Why are you so quiet? Why don’t you ever pursue that cute girl? What is wrong with you?” To those on the outside, these seem like ordinary questions capable of ordinary answers. But being inside the locked room, you know these answers will destroy your family relationship. Even slight hints at the truth—such as when Gregor hits his insect head against the door and makes a “small sound”—have the chilling effect of “silenc[ing] everyone.” That queer sound alone is enough for the family to freeze in horror. Not in optimism—is he communicating with us?—but revulsion. Something they do not want shared with third parties. Something they would rather not think about themselves. The phrase “coming out of the closet” has long been used for revealing one’s sexuality, with some evidence that similar comparisons were used in Kafka’s time. In any case, the closet metaphor serves well because the image of a tightly-spaced room, typically with no light source, accurately represents the stifling, oppressive feeling queer persons feel while hiding from a heterocentric society. The social recuperations of being “seen” are too great a risk. Existing in a dark space, one is used to eavesdropping, of analyzing how much light can be seen through the keyhole, of vast hope whenever someone accidentally leaves the door open—are they signaling acceptance? Is it safe to come out now? Gregor similarly finds himself “pressed upright against the door and listening” to his family talk about him to gauge how much he matters to them in his present form. He reads into everything he hears, hoping for signs that he is still part of the family, a “friendly word.” There's a fleeting moment when the sister enters his room to tidy up and provide food. Feeling optimistic, Gregor makes himself seen—slightly—to test her level of acceptance. Her revulsion assures him the timing is not right, however, so he reverts deeper into his hiding place under the sofa—a closet within a closet. He goes so far as to spend “four hours” “drag[ging] a sheet” over the couch so that his sister does not have to endure seeing “small parts of his body” which “stuck out.” As a queer person with an unaccepting family, this dance is yet again all too familiar. I have my own sister who I imagine very much views me as a hideous bug; a blight on the family. As time goes on I imagine she will change, that even if my “bugginess” continues to bother her she will choose to accept a bug as family. On the phone, I occasionally push boundaries. When she asks “What did you do this weekend?” I might daringly respond “Me and Ryan went to the movies” to see what happens. So far the reaction has not changed. She still turns to ice, letting the dead silence linger on the line until I inevitably say “What did you do?” so that she can promptly change the subject. Like Gregor below the sofa, I usually limit my speech to “Nothing really,” or something sufficiently vague, as a courtesy to her so that she doesn’t have to be exposed to the grotesque details of my ordinary life. Or maybe I do it for me. It’s not worth hearing her disgust in that long, hate-filled silence. Either way, I’m a bug hiding beneath a sofa with a sheet draped over it. That Gregor continues to love his sister, even after she becomes increasingly cruel, is not surprising—I too continue to love my obstinate sister—because there is so much textual evidence to show that the Samsa siblings were particularly close prior to the metamorphosis. Gregor worked relentless hours to keep his family financially stable. He even set aside extra wages so he could “send [his sister] to the conservatory.” Today we could compare this to paying for her college tuition. Additionally, their names—Gregor and Grete—have a similar ring to them and imply the two are a well-suited pair. Till the bitter end, even after she spearheads a plan to kill him, his sister is the one he trusts and admires most. Another reason Gregor never condemns his sister’s cruelty is the common queer experience of internalized homophobia. This occurs when queer individuals begin to view themselves as abhorrent because that is how others view them. Lines such as “there was, of course, no question of her ever becoming fully used to the situation” and “[it is] a requirement of family duty to suppress one’s aversion and to endure – nothing else, just endure” and “his mother…was perhaps near death, thanks to him” show a growing ideology that Gregor sees himself as a problem which, in the best of circumstances, can be begrudgingly tolerated and at worst is killing his family. This internalized homophobia climaxes, as it often does for queer persons, in death. As he lay dying, with “pains throughout his entire body,” Gregor feels “relatively content,” with “deep feelings of love” for his family. Most telling is the line: “his own thought that he had to disappear was, if possible, even more decisive than his sister’s.” After seeing himself as a burden on his family for so long, the reason for their unhappiness and the hideous creature they see in him, he is ready for his life to end because he feels it will be for the greater good. Gregor’s death is not a suicide—though his relief in death can certainly be viewed as suicide-esque—but rather the result of a festering wound from an apple that his enraged father threw at him after Gregor un-hid himself in front of his mother, causing her great distress. The “festering wound” is one of the finest symbolic moments to illustrate that Gregor’s death is the result of lingering insult that sticks to the skin (or exoskeleton) long after the initial confrontation. Even Mr. Samsa’s fruit of choice carries the symbolic weight that particularly resonates with my experience growing up in a deeply religious household. Gregor’s father hurls from a “fruit bowl” and yet, if the bowl contains a variety of fruits, it is only apples used for ammunition. Indeed, “It was an apple” is one of the shortest sentences of the novel, drawing particular attention to itself. Apples are, of course, most famously associated with original sin in the Garden of Eden. Thus it is impossible for someone like me, whose own father is a Baptist minister, to miss the interpretation that Mr. Samsa’s apple-hurling is effectively calling Gregor’s existence a crime against God. These accusations, common in the queer experience, are also the most “sticky” and hardest to ignore. One can brush off homophobic friends and even, with more difficulty, family, but the belief that your life is an affront to God is—at least for the religious—the wound least likely to heal. In case the religious implications of the apples are missed, Kafka includes crucifixion imagery in the same scene. After being “bombarded” by apples, Gregor describes feeling “as if he was nailed in place and lay stretched out.” The word choice here is almost certainly an allusion to Jesus hanging on the cross. Furthermore, to once again cement religion as an issue, Mr. Samsa’s reaction to his son’s death is “‘Well…now we can give thanks to God.’” These references to God at such critical moments stand out like a banner within a queer interpretation. It is so easy to imagine a homophobic family thrilled by such a convenient conclusion to their social problem. For the Samsas, at least, that relief is immediate and apparent. The blight hidden in their apartment, the thing which hurt them financially and tormented their religious beliefs, is, “thank God,” finally gone. There is no period of mourning, only an immediate desire to “pass that day resting and going for a stroll.” Out in the “open air” and “warm sun” they congratulate themselves on securing alternative sources of income without Gregor and are eager to blot out any memory of his existence. Again, Kafka breaks my heart with a depiction that is all too familiar to me personally, and queer reality in a broad sense. Some form of disownment continues to be a reality for queer persons from unsupportive families. This is why, out of 1.6 million homeless youth, it is reported that a staggering 40% will identify as LGBT. Though I am independent and cannot be thrown out of doors, my family works hard to “erase” me in other ways, such as tucking away pictures, home movies and other artifacts that may remind my young nephew of my existence. If the family shows any level of support for a gay person, they fear, it could reverse his installed belief that homosexuality is a sin against God. At this moment, it is worth backtracking to discuss the issue of how we should interpret Gregor in his insect form. I’ve wrote a lot about viewing Gregor as a queer person, but how should we deal with the fictional reality of his being an insect? Should we only see his bug exterior as a metaphor for the queer experience? Or should we ever take the story at face value? That is, that he has literally transformed into a bug? Based on Kafka’s careful word choice, the answer seems to be a bit of both. Kafka includes many examples where Gregor moves his tiny limbs, creeps about the ceiling, or eats rotten food to assure us that he has, indeed, become a bug. There should be no doubting the reality of that. And yet, it is also interesting that his insect form does not overwhelm the novel. Gregor does not linger on how this metamorphosis happened. At first he thinks he’s dreaming, but after waking up there is scarcely a wonder how this came to be. If I transformed into a bug, I would do nothing but wonder how this happened and how it might be fixed. What did I eat last? What chemicals was I exposed to? Did a witch curse me? That Gregor does not question this only further illustrates that is aware he is queer and, frankly, always has been. Now the exterior only matches the interior, and the dilemma is in handling that reality. Neither does Gregor’s family go to any length to uncover the mystery of the metamorphosis. They do not ask, for example, “How did this happen?” or offer any medical assistance—despite there being a hospital right across the street, visible from Gregor’s window. Instead, their primary concerns are getting third parties out of the house so that rumor does not get around. Kafka further blends the insect issue by making it unclear precisely what bug Gregor has transformed into. Why avoid a line which plainly states “he was a cockroach!” or “he was a ladybug!” — why not make it easier for the reader to picture the protagonist as a specific type of bug? This seems fairly obvious, that Kafka wants the reader to view Gregor as an outcast more than a bug. He wants the reader to read Gregor as a brother and a son, as someone who has been alienated by his own family. There can be some doubt on whether or not Kafka intended the queer implications of his novel—more on that later—but the ambiguous language is certainly meant to make the reader view Gregor as human as possible in his bug form. Miraculously, Kafka does name a specific type of insect in relation to Gregor, but that insect is so full of innuendo that could also be used as a human insult. The maid, using a tone that “she probably considered friendly” taunts Gregor with such phrases as “‘come on then, you old dung-beetle!’” and “‘Look at the old dung-beetle there!’” For the queer reader, the interpretation of this scene is a familiar affront of homophobic slurs. Regardless of the maid's tone, she uses the equivalent of such phrases as “fudge-packer” or “poop dick” when she calls him a dung beetle. In her mind she might consider this address as an actual way to build a connection, a way of saying I know what you are, and it’s disgusting, but I’m trying to be your friend. Gregor, of course, like every gay person who’s experienced the exact same thing, does not find this hostility as an effective way to build bridges. So he reverts more, deeper still into his closet within a closet. By now I hope my argument is convincing that The Metamorphosis can be read as a parable for the queer experience. This naturally leads to the question of authorial intent. Did Kafka intend to write about the gay experience? Is this the “true” interpretation of the novel that a century of scholars have yet to identify? Maybe, probably not. In truth, it doesn’t matter. It’s certainly possible for a heterosexual to write a canonical queer novel without intending to. Furthermore, the art of masterpieces is often found in their ability to warrant many interpretations. But textual evidence is so overwhelming, so seemingly personal, that I can’t not dig into Kafka’s life. As it turns out, there are some clues which may readily validate a queer interpretation. “Kafka had homosexual fantasies, but everyone does,” writes Reiner Stach, one of Kafka's most dedicated biographers. He goes on to argue that it was Kafka’s ability to tap into these subconscious desires which make him such an enduring and brilliant writer. Max Brod, a close friend of Kafka and the recipient of his estate, described his companion as “tortured by his sexual desires” though he did not clarify if those desires were same-sex. It is true that Kafka never married, despite finding himself engaged to a number of attractive, eligible women. Yet another Kafka scholar, Saul Friedländer, concluded that the famous author led these women on for social acceptance while he secretly fantasized about men. It would have been almost cliché for a gay man in the early 1900s to be repeatedly engaged to women before breaking off the wedding last minute. This stereotype alone does not, of course, prove anything. But on the flip side, the knowledge that Kafka attended brothels, presumably for their female entertainment, likewise does not prove an exclusive interest in women. Investing in prostitutes is, in fact, a common “treatment” for homosexuality even today. The methodology seeming to be that once you try heterosexuality you will like it. Perhaps Kafka, riddled with a sense of self-loathing, went to brothels to “fix” himself so he could finally marry one of his many female companions? If you thought of yourself as a crawling, creeping cockroach, what extremes would you go to for a cure? Recent research into Kafka’s private life has found he subscribed to pornography. This detail is hardly revealing, except that The Metamorphosis possibly alludes to porn. In the memorable scene where Gregor’s family is removing all furnishings from his room, he, in a last ditch effort to preserve at least one personal artifact, crawls upon the wall and presses himself against the picture of “a woman dressed in nothing but fur.” An act which, it is worth noting the sexual phrasing here, “made his hot abdomen feel good.” One interpretation is that this portrait is merely art, a token of his prior life, however Kafka makes it clear that the removal of furnishings is symbolic of giving up hope on his condition. Mrs. Samsa goes so far as to speak this out loud: “‘…by taking the furniture away, won’t it seem like we’re showing that we’ve given up all hope of improvement and we’re abandoning him to cope for himself?’” Since this line is spoken it has the ability to influence Gregor’s thinking. The nude art is the thing he chooses to save possibly because he views it as the item most likely bring him back to normal. Again, for the gay man seeking to “change” his sexual orientation, pornographic depictions of women might be seen as medicine. Of course there are other interpretations. Indeed almost anyone who has ever felt alienated from society, misunderstood, abused, or suffered from some ailment which the rest of the world doesn’t seem to understand, can imprint themselves on Gregor’s situation. This is not a fault of the novel, but rather one of its touchstone achievements. Still, whether intended or not, Kafka’s tragic tableau tells the story of homophobia in society and within the home. As more queer readers respond to this novel and share their personal connections to it, I suspect there will be more recognition of its relevance as a queer literary landmark.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Ansbro

    "I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable." — Franz Kafka Taking bedbugs to a whole new level, travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant beetle. Rather than waving his legs and antennae in the air, screaming, "Omigod! Omigod! I’ve turned into a frigging cockroach!" he keeps his composure and goes about his daily business with a selfless determination. His family, by way of contrast, are a selfish, unpleasant bunch and mer "I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable." — Franz Kafka Taking bedbugs to a whole new level, travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant beetle. Rather than waving his legs and antennae in the air, screaming, "Omigod! Omigod! I’ve turned into a frigging cockroach!" he keeps his composure and goes about his daily business with a selfless determination. His family, by way of contrast, are a selfish, unpleasant bunch and merely see Gregor as vermin. It has oft been said that angsty Kafka might well have been channelling his own real-life feelings of worthlessness (i.e. him toiling as a writer when he could serve his family better by securing a ‘proper’ job). That being so, this poignant story is ostensibly one of alienation and guilt. Many readers focus on the story’s inherent sadness, but (as is the case with Kafka’s The Trial), the author lessens his existential load with a generous dollop of dark humour. His writing is a little laboured at times, but this might have more to do with my reading of a translation, rather than his original. Overall, from its genius premise to its allegorical ending, Metamorphosis is an entertaining, pity-inducing, thought-provoking read. Despite its dark exoskeleton, this anthro-podcast has a soft abdomen and is a whole lot of fun!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    So, this business man wakes up one morning to discover that he has somehow mysteriously morphed into a disgusting, putrid, orangey cockroach. No, this isn't Donald Trump's autobiography... Kafka's Metamorphosis played as much to my subconscious anxieties as it did to my conscious ones, like those nightmares most of us have about our teeth falling out, or our home falling apart. I came away feeling like I had just watched a David Lynch film (*see: 'Eraserhead'). I enjoyed this and I'm not 100% sur So, this business man wakes up one morning to discover that he has somehow mysteriously morphed into a disgusting, putrid, orangey cockroach. No, this isn't Donald Trump's autobiography... Kafka's Metamorphosis played as much to my subconscious anxieties as it did to my conscious ones, like those nightmares most of us have about our teeth falling out, or our home falling apart. I came away feeling like I had just watched a David Lynch film (*see: 'Eraserhead'). I enjoyed this and I'm not 100% sure why. Maybe I liked it because it can be exhilarating to face one's fears, like skydiving, or bungee jumping, or marriage?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Ant-Man, Spiderman and The Fly sit in a café in Prague and discuss Franz Kafka’s 1915 story Metamorphosis. Ant-Man: What in the hell was that anyway? Spiderman: Bug man. Fly: Guys, please, this is a modern classic of existentialism told in absurdist comic fashion. It’s an allegory about isolation and alienation, and ultimately a rejection of modern ideas about materialism and family unity. Kafka was decades ahead of his time, he quite literally influenced literary movements following him. Spiderman: Ant-Man, Spiderman and The Fly sit in a café in Prague and discuss Franz Kafka’s 1915 story Metamorphosis. Ant-Man: What in the hell was that anyway? Spiderman: Bug man. Fly: Guys, please, this is a modern classic of existentialism told in absurdist comic fashion. It’s an allegory about isolation and alienation, and ultimately a rejection of modern ideas about materialism and family unity. Kafka was decades ahead of his time, he quite literally influenced literary movements following him. Spiderman: Or it’s a story about a guy who wakes up as a big bug and his family gets creeped out. Ant-man: Right, that’s what I read too. I mean, anything cool at all, any super powers? Spiderman: Not that I could tell, he just kind of scuttles around his apartment – Fly: Guys! This is not meant to be read literally, yes he wakes up as a beetle like insect and yes, his parents and sister reject him, but Kafka makes Gregor’s plight one about inaccessibility that we can all relate to. By making this an absurdist comedy, he highlights the contrast between what society dictates and the feelings of inadequacy and desperation we all feel. Spiderman: I don’t even see how he could wear a supersuit. Ant-man: Even though they were freaked out by him, they still kind of just accepted it, kind of like the Coneheads. Spiderman: Yeah, but he’s not from France. Ant-man: Well neither were the Coneheads, they just told everyone that, they were from an alien planet. Fly: Aaaaaargh!! I’m going to throw up on both of you. Spiderman: I’ll wrap him up with spider webs! Ant-man: Avengers!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

    The emotions hit me right. The characters relatable. Family issues well brought up. Everyday family struggles with such a character to handle with everyday, the shift of responsibilities, the change in the nature of human beings well displayed. The characters may be a bit detached or too overwhelming. The storyline a bit mundane and underwhelming. The best part is the solid writing style. For me, this did it. And made it an interesting read. It was a good, classic one time read ✳️ It won't be a fav for The emotions hit me right. The characters relatable. Family issues well brought up. Everyday family struggles with such a character to handle with everyday, the shift of responsibilities, the change in the nature of human beings well displayed. The characters may be a bit detached or too overwhelming. The storyline a bit mundane and underwhelming. The best part is the solid writing style. For me, this did it. And made it an interesting read. It was a good, classic one time read ✳️ It won't be a fav for everyone. Looking forward to more of his work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    NOTE: Some of the stories in this edition have also been published in separate collections, and those ones are reviewed under those titles (links included here). Many are short, poignant vignettes, rather than stories, though some have a surreal/magical angle. A definite voyeuristic slant to several (two are explicitly titled about looking through a window). Metamorphosis The provider turns parasite, and in giving up his life, liberates his family. It's a surreal situation: Gregor wakes to find hi NOTE: Some of the stories in this edition have also been published in separate collections, and those ones are reviewed under those titles (links included here). Many are short, poignant vignettes, rather than stories, though some have a surreal/magical angle. A definite voyeuristic slant to several (two are explicitly titled about looking through a window). Metamorphosis The provider turns parasite, and in giving up his life, liberates his family. It's a surreal situation: Gregor wakes to find himself transformed into an unspecified insect, for an unknown reason, contrasted with realistic detail. He wonders what he is, but never why. In this unrealistic situation, it convincingly shows how his thoughts, principles, preferences, attitudes to family, mood etc gradually change as a result. The least real aspect is how pragmatic and accepting everyone is. No one asks "why?" or seeks a cure; they just get on with life as best they can. It is sad, but somehow pointless - except as personal catharsis re his own family. Up till the start of the story, Gregor is well-intentioned: he thinks he is the provider, and wants to be loved and appreciated for it, but he is really a parasite. His overwhelming efforts to provide for his family have sapped them of power and ambition, "so preoccupied with their immediate worries that they had lost all power to look ahead". As an insect, he can understand everything they say, but cannot make himself understood. His sister is empathetic and creative, but even so, the inability to communicate is part of his demise. Yet as he becomes a burden to them, the family blossoms and is rejuvenated; they take control of their lives and sunshine - literally - returns. Ultimately, it is a totemic apple, thrown in anger, by his father that is the end. Here's Vladimir Nabokov on the subject: http://www.kafka.org/index.php?id=191... Aeroplanes at Brescia This is a factual report of Kafka's first sighting of planes, at an air show he attended with friends. His anxiety is more noticeable than his enthusiasm or awe, but there are some good descriptions of incidentals: * "A dirt which is simply there an dis no longer spoken of... a dirt which never alters, which has put down roots." * A host who is "proud in himself, humble towards us". * Sailors etc "can first practice in puddles, thin in ponds, thin in rivers... for these people [pilots] there is only an ocean." * Take-off: "runs off for a long way over the clouds like an awkward performer on the dance floor". * "Twenty metres above the earth is a man entangled in a wooden frame, defending himself against an invisible danger that he has freely taken on." * Society portraits include Puccini with "the nose of a drinker". * "Perfect achievements cannot be appreciated, everyone thinks himself capable... for perfect achievements no courage seems to be necessary." The Coal Scuttle Rider "All the coal used up; the coal-scuttle empty; the shovel meaningless; the stove breathing out cold; the room inflated with frosty air; trees beyond the window rigid with rime; the sky a silver shield against anyone looking for help from there." A cold and destitute... being(?) imagines taking flight on the coal scuttle and begging for a few scraps, in "a voice burned hollow by the frost, wreathed in the clouds of my voice". Penal Colony is particularly gruesome (yet somehow elicits sympathy for the obsessed officer), with scope for Christian/crucifixion interpretation. I've reviewed it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Eleven Sons especially sad but pertinently perceptive of 11 different ways he disappointed his father. This is in The Country Doctor, reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Report to the Academy is an amusingly surreal (reminiscent of Gerald the gorilla in Not the Nine O'clock News) slant on Jewish integration. This is in The Country Doctor, reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The Fasting Artist may be where David Blaine got his idea from. The title is used for a collection of four short stories, mostly concerning performers: this one, plus First Sorrow, and A Little Woman and Josefine the Songstress or The Mouse People, all reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Before the Law is chillingly allegorical and is reviewed here, with a link to the full text: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The Judgement is a domestic judgement, passed by a father on the son in whom he is so disappointed. It's reviewed here, with a link to the full text: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The Dream and Before the Law are actually from his novel The Trial, which is on my Kafka-related bookshelf (http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...), along with lots of others, including biographies. The section of this titled Meditation is sometimes published separately under that title, or Contemplation. My reviews of those are under that title, here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... The Stoker is reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., but is actually the first chapter of his novel, Amerika.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samra Yusuf

    When I was a child,I used to get myself hide for some time and animatedly hear what’s everyone saying about my disappearance……we all are walled up by insecurities, incarcerated by uncertainties, captivated by absurdities and haunted by fears of losing the people we love so helplessly ………… Kafka touches delicate strings of relations, with such audacity and ingenuousness that Metamorphosis becomes a voice on drum even after more than 100 years of its publication.. Kafka’s writings largely originated When I was a child,I used to get myself hide for some time and animatedly hear what’s everyone saying about my disappearance……we all are walled up by insecurities, incarcerated by uncertainties, captivated by absurdities and haunted by fears of losing the people we love so helplessly ………… Kafka touches delicate strings of relations, with such audacity and ingenuousness that Metamorphosis becomes a voice on drum even after more than 100 years of its publication.. Kafka’s writings largely originated from the conflicted relationship he experienced with his family, especially his father, and the glimpse of that biographical connection is vividly portrayed in form of our main character Gregor Samsa,who to his utter misfortune gets up one morning just to witness a horrendous insect of himself transformed overnight…. So what do we expect him to do now? Consider himself in mid of some nightmere and sleep again? Shriek vehemently by first transformed-sight of himself? Think of suicide maybe? No,he doesn’t do such thing,and here we come to know typical kafka-hero,Gregor is little startled to see himself an enormous insect and littler worried to get back into human form.the first thought strikes his head is of being late today from job and catching train to reach office.and counting time as he keeps lying in bed for a good deal time.and this is the thinking that paves ground for Marxist approach of the novella. Gregor is the representative of proletariat class trying so bad to catch up with bourgoais, considering job “travelling day in and travelling day out..” and bosses “pain in ass”…..a little box is not enough to touch other approaches like symbolism, structuralism and a semblance of feminism in story. The most horrific factor though is of alienation,Gregor in his own home is confined to hide and is treated strictly like the one he looks………an insect a bigger one! Gregor becomes noticeably less human and more accepting of his transformative state. With each act, Gregor also becomes physically weaker. As his family abandons its denial of his insectlike appearance and their hope for his full recovery to a normal human condition, they gradually become indifferent to his fate and recognize their need to pursue their lives without him. His father returns to work, his mother learns to operate the house without the help of a maid, even adding the burden of taking in boarders, and his sister assumes the responsibilities of adulthood. Where once he was the center of their lives, he now becomes an unnecessary burden and an embarrassment. And this is when he abandons hope………. Gregor dies of disappointment!

  27. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to The Metamorphosis, written in 1915 by Franz Kafka. I think most people are familiar with the premise of this book, and rather than do a normal review, I thought maybe I'd question how on earth Kafka came up with this one? It was such a great way to tell the story and teach a lesson... a man wakes up as a giant beetle? (I secretly suspect he came across a huge cockroach in his apartment while in NYC one day). And how do you deal with such a change? Your Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to The Metamorphosis, written in 1915 by Franz Kafka. I think most people are familiar with the premise of this book, and rather than do a normal review, I thought maybe I'd question how on earth Kafka came up with this one? It was such a great way to tell the story and teach a lesson... a man wakes up as a giant beetle? (I secretly suspect he came across a huge cockroach in his apartment while in NYC one day). And how do you deal with such a change? Your family is afraid. They are embarrassed. You can talk. What's really going on here? What is Kafka trying to say about life? We're all insensitive? Liars? Fakes? Humorists? Nutty? So many things to read into here... it's a run book, too. When you're a bug life's quite different. Have you ever managed something like that before? No. So how did Kafka come up with all the little things to make it real? I'm glad he did as this book helps you enjoy reading when you may be forced to read some classics at a younger age that don't appeal to you. As an more mature reader, you find all the symbols and beauty in the messages with this one. I believe I read it twice, possibly some excerpts for a third instance. Each time, it gets better. I would love to see a really good film or TV Adaption... purely to witness the metaphorical views a director would incorporate on the big screen or the stage. The words are amazing, but it's what you experience by reading it that makes it such a wonderful book. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A strange fable about a young traveling salesman who metamorphosizes overnight into a monstrous insect, rendering him unable to work and useless to his family, who scrambles to feed his relentless appetite and find another source of income to sustain the household. The story’s succinct, cryptic, and written in sardonic prose that doesn’t feel dated; a strong final act elevates the work and lends it lasting power.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Technically I read this book in German, and if I could give it zero stars, I would. I read the first sentence (in German, mind you) around 3:30 in the morning earlier this semester, and was convinced I was loosing my mind and that I couldn't be translating it right. It read: "Gregor Samsa awoke on morning to discover that he had somehow transformed into a giant cockaroach". After typing the sentence into freetranslation.com and finding out I actually had read and translated it correctly, I thoug Technically I read this book in German, and if I could give it zero stars, I would. I read the first sentence (in German, mind you) around 3:30 in the morning earlier this semester, and was convinced I was loosing my mind and that I couldn't be translating it right. It read: "Gregor Samsa awoke on morning to discover that he had somehow transformed into a giant cockaroach". After typing the sentence into freetranslation.com and finding out I actually had read and translated it correctly, I thought for sure the author had lost his mind. I'm sorry, but all this stuff about him being a symbol for Jesus and struggling for mankind is a bit over-the-top I think. He's a cockaroach. There's no explaination for it, and his family is only mild freaked out at the fact that he suddenly turned into a giant bug. If the family tried to take him to the doctor, or sell him to the circus, or perhaps even give a damn at all, the story might have kept my attention for more than the first few pages.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    The way how the wide spectrum of human behavior, nature, emotions and reactions is illustrated in this book does a huge favor to every single word written in it. The truth of every relationship, the vanity of human nature, the highs and lows of human emotions, the actions one takes in certain circumstances and the reactions one gives intentionally or unintentionally have been very beautifully portrayed in this book. This book has a lot to teach if one is a keen reader. Must read for people who e The way how the wide spectrum of human behavior, nature, emotions and reactions is illustrated in this book does a huge favor to every single word written in it. The truth of every relationship, the vanity of human nature, the highs and lows of human emotions, the actions one takes in certain circumstances and the reactions one gives intentionally or unintentionally have been very beautifully portrayed in this book. This book has a lot to teach if one is a keen reader. Must read for people who enjoy reading about human psychology.

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