The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
(Bantam Classics)

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Although the themes in the story are depressing, Kafka's writing brings this memorable story to life through finely-detailed and vivid descriptions of this insect...
-Suko's Notebook


"When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin." With this startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, "The Metamorphosis." It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetlelike insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing -- though absurdly comic -- meditation on human feelings of inadequecy, guilt, and isolation, "The Metamorphosis" has taken its place as one of the mosst widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction. As W.H. Auden wrote, "Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man."

About Franz Kafka

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Franz Kafka was born in 1833 to a well-to-do middle-class Jewish family. His father, the self-made proprietor of a wholesale haberdashery business, was a domineering man whose approbation Franz continually struggled to win. The younger Kafka's feelings of inadequacy and guilt form the background of much of his work and are made explicit in his "Letter to His Father" (excerpted in this volume), which was written in 1919 but never sent. Kafka was educated in the German language schools of Prague and at the city's German University, where in 1908 he took a law degree. Literature, however, remained his sole passion. At this time he became part of a literary circle that included Franz Werfel, Martin Buber, and Kafka's close friend Max Brod. Encouraged by Brod, Kafka published the prose collection Observations in 1913. Two years later his story "The Stoker" won the Fontaine prize. In 1916 he began work on The Trial and between this time and 1923 produced three incomplete novels as well as numerous sketches and stories. In his lifetime some of his short works did appear: The Judgment (1916), The Metamorphosis (1916), The Penal Colony (1919), and The Country Doctor (1919). Before his death of tuberculosis in 1924, Kafka had charged Max Brod with the execution of his estate, ordering Brod to burn the manuscripts. With the somewhat circular justification that Kafka must have known his friend could not obey such an order, Brod decided to publish Kafka's writings. To this act of "betrayal" the world owes the preservation of some of the most unforgettable and influential literary works of our century.
Published February 1, 1972 by Perfection Learning. 194 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Metamorphosis
All: 7 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 1

Open Letters Monthly

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue on Feb 11 2014

...he wrote it quickly. Some of that haste can still be seen in the finished product, but despite the claims various translators have made over the decades, Die Verandlung isn’t a particularly tough text to translate. It contains none of the fussy rhetorical flourishes of, say, the Mann brothers, or Herman Hesse...

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Teen Ink

Reviewed by FriendOfTheAcorns on Jan 28 2014

Franz Kafka truly is one of the strangest and most extraordinary storytellers in pioneering magical realism, and I find that this novel provides a gateway for stronger intellectual thinking and it really grows on you.

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Above average
Reviewed by Soonha Abro on Jan 26 2013

Despite all the absurdities in The Metamorphosis, the novella remains one of Kafka’s most well-known works. The combination of the absurd and symbolic is actually what makes the novella so complex and an interesting read. However, it is not everyone’s favourite, and that again can be explained by the same.

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So Many Books

Reviewed by Stefanie on Mar 26 2012

...somehow Kafka managed to write it so perfectly that I only ever felt sympathy for Gregor. If you have not read this one before, I highly recommend it. It is fairly short, and even though it is not anywhere near uplifting, it is very good.

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Simply Books

Above average
Reviewed by Simply_Megan on Apr 15 2010

It was a weird, slightly frightening book, but it has some good material for an essay so it might be a good choice for a research paper or something similar.

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Reviewed by Ad Blankestijn on Jul 28 2012

Kafka writes a beautiful, idiomatic German, with long meandering sentences, so try to read it in the original of you can.

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Suko's Notebook

Reviewed by Suko on Jun 09 2010

Although the themes in the story are depressing, Kafka's writing brings this memorable story to life through finely-detailed and vivid descriptions of this insect...

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Joaquin alarcia 11 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5

Joaquin alarcia

Joaquin alarcia 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list