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The Metamorphosis | [Franz Kafka]

The Metamorphosis

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.” With this startlingly bizarre sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young traveling salesman who, transformed overnight into a giant, beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. Rather than being surprised at the transformation, the members of his family despise it as an impending burden upon themselves.
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Publisher's Summary

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.”

With this startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young traveling salesman who, transformed overnight into a giant, beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. Rather than being surprised at the transformation, the members of his family despise it as an impending burden upon themselves.

A harrowing - though absurdly comic - meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of 20th-century fiction. As W. H. Auden wrote, “Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man.”

FRANZ KAFKA (1883–1924), one of the major fiction writers of the twentieth century, was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague. His unique body of writing, much of which is incomplete and was mainly published posthumously, is considered by some people to be among the most influential in Western literature, inspiring such writers as Albert Camus, Rex Warner, and Samuel Beckett.

© Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“In The Metamorphosis Kafka reached the height of his mastery: he wrote something which he could never surpass, because there is nothing which The Metamorphosis could be surpassed by - one of the few great, perfect poetic works of this century.” (Elias Canetti, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (398 )
5 star
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2 star
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3.8 (360 )
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4.0 (358 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Patrick Weldon Louisiana 03-19-12
    Patrick Weldon Louisiana 03-19-12 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kafka-esque terrific"
    Would you listen to The Metamorphosis again? Why?

    A true classic. Works very well on audible. Almost a short story, but a wonderful narrative.


    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    damarques Brasília, Brazil 03-29-14
    damarques Brasília, Brazil 03-29-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Depressing, but good book"
    Would you listen to The Metamorphosis again? Why?

    Yes, because it is always good to read about human nature.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main character, Gregor Samsa. All the others are more disgusting than the creature he becomes.


    Did Ralph Cosham do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    This was the second book I heard with this narrator. I didn't like him very much. It's a matter of taste, but I didn't like his voice and his interpretations. He sounded rather monotonous.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Well, I felt a bit disgusted throughout the book, and a bit depressed with the end. All in all it was a very good book. It makes you think about life.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is about a human being who lived among verminous creatures. When he becomes a nasty bug like them, they realize they have to start living like human beings.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-30-12 Member Since 2012

    I've since moved to Green Bay, WI, from the Twin Cities, 9/2011. Love the Twin Cities.

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    "kafka's best"
    Where does The Metamorphosis rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The reading performance is excellant; But they all are very professionally done. As a book, I would rate this book as the the author's most original, well written, and profound.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Metamorphosis?

    When even his fovorite sister betrays him, and the reader discovers Kafka's point of view on the human condition, that at bottom, we all are alone.


    What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Listening to an audio book is a challenge for me, because it requires a continiuos consentrated focus that reading doesn't require. I often look up and ponder ideas, sorting them out, while reading, and resume, without any loss of place in the written text. Listening doesn't allow for such breaks. It reminds me of the joys of listening to stories on the radio, before Tv as a child. I just have to practice such listening skills again.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I usually can't focus that long. I enjoy listening to a portion every day.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm happy I discovered AudioBooks. It brings a new kind of pleasure into my life.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 04-06-12
    Elaine 04-06-12

    I did not learn to read until I was in my twenties. Have not stopped since. The two most important things to learn are reading & chess.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    I do not usually read short stories but after listening to this audio and plan to discover more. This story is timeless and very entertaining. I will forever look at bugs differently. The narration by Ralph Cosham is excellent and perfect for this story.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    galvinci south lake tahoe, california, United States 03-26-12
    galvinci south lake tahoe, california, United States 03-26-12

    galvinci

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Seeing is believing..my tail is still wagging"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Metamorphosis to be better than the print version?

    YES


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The father, he could throw an apple faster than Roger Clemens


    Which character – as performed by Ralph Cosham – was your favorite?

    Gregor,the bug


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    DEFinitly


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait for mosquito season

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 08-11-14
    David 08-11-14 Member Since 2010

    Indiscriminate Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So this guy wakes up as a bug..."

    So, this guy Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning as a cockroach. (Actually, the Wikipedia article has an interesting discussion about how Kafka never specified exactly what kind of bug Gregor turned into). His family freaks out a little, as you might expect, but then they sort of come to accept the situation. Gregor feels increasingly isolated as he cannot really communicate with them and he can no longer support them as he once did. Coexisting in a tiny apartment with a giant cockroachinsect becomes increasingly burdensome for the family. Eventually Gregor dies (implied, that he wills himself to death to spare his family further burden) and they're all relieved. The end.

    Sort of a downer. I think it loses a lot in the translation, as apparently Kafka's prose in the original German was much of the reason for The Metamorphosis's high literary status.

    This is a surrealistic piece which, technically, you could probably call "magical realism." (No explanation is ever given for Gregor's transformation into a giant bug, and no one seems curious about how such a thing could happen. They're just all rather distressed by the whole thing without ever really talking about it.

    Frankly, as a story it was a bit flat and anti-climactic, and if there is some deeper meaning, I'm afraid I missed it. Would probably enjoy it more if I read it in the original German.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 09-05-14
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 09-05-14 Member Since 2013

    Rob Thomas

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    "Well written, but kinda bugged me..."

    This book deserves its reputation as being very well written. The premise (man turns into giant bug overnight) is completely implausible, but the writing was good enough that I could suspend my disbelief with modest effort. The narration is also very well done.

    That said, I was left wondering whether I'd gotten the key point. If I did I imagine it is that no matter how serious or weird a thing that might happen to a person, their loved ones' sympathies will eventually wear thin and they'll begin to see that person as a mill stone around their necks, financially at the very least. Then they will likely want to get on with their lives without that person.

    If that's it, fine. It's a valid observation. Maybe because this book has a reputation as a classic I expected a bit more. Specifically, I expect classics to both make profound observations about life AND tell a really great story. (The second being more important than the first, in my view.) This book made its profound observation, but its premise seemed a bit more bizarre than would seem really necessary.

    Four stars overall. Worth reading.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Jacob Mekes ROTTERDAM, Netherlands 01-30-12
    Jan Jacob Mekes ROTTERDAM, Netherlands 01-30-12 Listener Since 2008
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    "Great symbolism, powerful story"
    What did you love best about The Metamorphosis?

    Kafka manages to pack a lot of emotion and powerful imagery into a reasonably short story. It really makes the reader think about how they relate to the characters, and how they think about others, especially the


    What other book might you compare The Metamorphosis to and why?

    I haven't read anything like it myself. The concept of a man turning into an insect is just incredibly unique, and Kafka wrote it all down very well.


    Have you listened to any of Ralph Cosham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't, but I have played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in which Cosham voiced several characters. If you're familiar with his voice work, you'll know what to expect. I think he has a very pleasant voice to listen to, despite (or perhaps thanks to?) a slight lisp. He enunciates very well, speaking the words and phrases carefully and deliberately, but without it turning monotonous.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    That's a tough one... I'm not sure you could capture the idea of the story in a catchphrase, but perhaps something like


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fernando antonio hadba 04-29-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I think I expected too much"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, It is a very good story with a very good narration of it


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I do not dare to change anything


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    Very good with a superb intonation.


    Could you see The Metamorphosis being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    yes


    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Sandy, UT, United States 10-30-14
    John Sandy, UT, United States 10-30-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Strange and Disturbing but well written"
    Would you listen to The Metamorphosis again? Why?

    Probably not, it's a little on the depressing side and kind of meanders it's way to an unsatisfactory ending.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Dissatisfaction with the ending, but I suppose I'm not the writer....


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 16 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Steph B
    in a caravan somewhere
    9/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent introduction to Kafka"

    My first Kafka book which I approached with a little apprehension as I wasn't sure I would understand the story. My fears were unfounded as Metamorphosis is a very accessible story. I listened to it on audio and I think that hearing the words at speaking pace was good because I tend to rush when reading which, in this case, would have meant missing a lot of the more subtle meanings.
    Gregor Samsa's transformation is the most obvious in Metamorphosis, but all the family undergo a change in their characters caused by his situation. I found myself able to identify with aspects of his sister's behaviour and his father's distance, as well as Gregor's sense of isolation.
    Metamorphosis was an excellent introduction for me to Kafka's work and I shall seek out more of his stories.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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