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.
“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)
A true classic. Works very well on audible. Almost a short story, but a wonderful narrative.
Yes, because it is always good to read about human nature.
The main character, Gregor Samsa. All the others are more disgusting than the creature he becomes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I've since moved to Green Bay, WI, from the Twin Cities, 9/2011. Love the Twin Cities.
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.
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.
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.
No. I usually can't focus that long. I enjoy listening to a portion every day.
I'm happy I discovered AudioBooks. It brings a new kind of pleasure into my life.
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.
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.
The father, he could throw an apple faster than Roger Clemens
Can't wait for mosquito season
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
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.
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.
That's a tough one... I'm not sure you could capture the idea of the story in a catchphrase, but perhaps something like
Yes, It is a very good story with a very good narration of it
I do not dare to change anything
Very good with a superb intonation.
I like autumn night times. Curtains drawn. The dim lamp. Chaired with a book. Fireside hours. A warm peace.
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.
The main thing that sticks out is what a bunch of jerks Samsa's family are. 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.
Overall: The narration was good, although the writing was a little confusing at times. This has a lot of hidden symbolism , and might take a few listens to uncover.
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.
"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.
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