Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review by Shellie and John: The Metamorphosis ~ By Franz Kafka


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There are some amazing covers for this book – I liked this one. It links to the Amazon US book purchase site for this edition.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. ~ Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis

Mini Synopsis:  A novella published in 1915, it is set in Europe in the early 1900’s. The main character, Gregor Samsa wakes one morning to find that he has transformed into a bug. Being the sole support of his aging parents and teenage sister he becomes increasingly worried about their future. They are appalled at his appearance and leave him in his bedroom alone while hoping he disappears.

Shellie’s Thoughts:  John and I listened to this audio book while driving. It was unabridged. This will be a joint review.

We both agreed that, while the narration was done with an English accent and was pleasant it was surprisingly upbeat in tone, it felt like a slightly bizarre period piece, telling of woes in that particular time. Where instead of the main character having a terminal disease he turned into a beetle. 

This horrific event espouses the horrors of loss, abandonment, loosing one’s ability to communicate, and station in life, as well as our ability to truly recognize who we are or what we have become.

I felt that although the writing/reading was intriguing, I wanted more. Perhaps it is being so accustomed to drama and hype within modern day reading The Metamorphosis went comparatively limp. We agreed and gave this book 3 Stars. We liked it but it was not what we expected.


An Austrian/Czech author born – July 3, 1883 died – June 3, 1924. He is purported to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Sadly, he was not well known until after his death.

For Wikipedia information on Franz Kafka link on his above picture.

Thinking about The Metamorphosis further - apparently there are a number of layered meanings within the story which are not apparent without discussion.

John’s Post Discussion Thoughts:  For a book that is widely regarded as a classic, I was a little surprised and was somehow expecting more. I can see how there are different layers to the story, and can well imagine that with repeat reading or with discussion, greater depth becomes apparent.

For example, I just read a view that the most radical metamorphosis in the story was not Gregor himself, but rather how his family reacted to him and to their changed circumstances. Which is a most excellent twist and now seems obvious, but I didn’t get that at the time. Maybe listening while driving was not the best way to experience this story.

This book is appropriate for several challenges linked below:

 Speculatice Fiction Challenge 3100books24023982391_7a3d1b0979_o  basics-121757



This audio book was borrowed from the local library – what a deal!

Purchasing links for the audio version of this book from The Book Depository US/Euro/AUD/Canada

All links to your reviews of this book, contrary thoughts, and miscellaneous comments are welcome.

Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.


logankstewart said...

I remember reading Kafka's The Metamorphosis back during my senior year of high school. I remember hating every page. It seemed like such an excellent idea, but the story, as you put it, fell "limp." I didn't care about Gregor's change at all. I don't remember much, but I don't think I'll be re-reading it anytime soon, either.

Strange, though. The book is highly praised and considered a classic. Meh.

Aarti said...

I read this in high school and never thought of it as a "horror" novel. It's interesting to me that you classify it as such. Hmm- I don't know how I'd classify it, really. Bizarre? :-)

I remember enjoying the story, but I definitely didn't get all the levels that Amanda did in her reads! Clearly, I need to go back and try again. Though I'd never get the Biblical references, anyway. Glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn't quite what was expected.

Unknown said...

Aarti -
Funny thing is that John said the same thing about the biblical references too.

Amanda loves this book perhaps we will get her insight here?

Yes bizarre is definitely a great definition. I have seen it classified as fantasy too. I even thought it may be sci fi. But now that I've read it I know it is not.

As for the enjoyment factor - I almost always stop reading stuff I don't enjoy - Have you seen my list on goodread?...good gods....I think there 1700+ in my tbr pile.

Thanks for commenting :)

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

The cover creeps me out! I never read this book-even in school.

Unknown said...

Diane -
A face to the blog :). Excellent!

John hates he gets your point. Me... no so much.

I love horror...not to much scares me. I was a substitute teacher for years. ;)

logankstewart said...

Ah, I noticed that my comment for this post (which I did yesterday) didn't show up. I think my work computer is having difficulties... argh.

In short, I hated this book. I read it in high school and thought it was stupid. The idea was great, but the plot fizzled out early and grew boring. I didn't care for Gregor and I didn't care for his family/friends. I still don't.

On the side, you're classification of horror is an interesting choice. I like Aarti's genre, bizarre. It's definitely that.

Unknown said...

Logan -
You know if I was forced to read this in high school I would have hated it too.

It is very bizarre...I was reading the blurb on the back of a Joyce Carol Oates books last night and it said something about how she find the horror's in life's mundane events as a source for her stories and creating fear in readers...

I was thinking that this ran along the same lines...or perhaps as you expressed annoyance and disgust?

Wow - Logan your posts did not come up in my email box... but they are there in comment moderation inside the blog... Please let me know if you continue to have problems posting, since I am having spammers galore - and unfortunately hackers are often next. :)

I will post them now. Sorry about that.

Charlie said...

I think The Metamorphosis is too complex for high school, and I agree with John: it should be read, not heard.

Unknown said...

Charlie -
I tried reading it and could not. This is the only way I am going to get through many of the classics. :)

I think that re-listening to it now after knowing some of the layered meanings it would feel different. But with my huge list, I truly do not think this will be happening any time soon.

Now my friend Rose sent me an email copied from a conversation she had with a high school English teacher. He said some amazing things about its meaning and stated that his students loved it... but we are talking middle to upper class kids at a private school.. so... go figure.

Anna said...

I read this novella a couple of times in college, but I don't remember anything other than that I read it! Maybe I'll re-read it at some point.

Diary of an Eccentric

Unknown said...

Anna -
I'm thinking don't you have enough to read? lol... just a back handed suggestion...

Thanks for commenting. :)

Anna said...

You're probably right about that. LOL

Diary of an Eccentric

Unknown said...

Excellent! lol...

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