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The Metamorphosis and Other Stories [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Guy de Maupassant , Franz Kafka , Tom Whitworth
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2005 Unabridged Classics in Audio
THE METAMORPHOSIS begins as its protagonist, Gregor Samsa, wakes up one morning to find that he has become a huge insect. This change is understandably difficult for Gregor, not to mention his family and business. It ends up costing him his life.

The story has been interpreted as everything from religious allegory to psychoanalytic case history, but works because, though written nearly a century ago, Kafka's fantastic imaginings convey a reality of their own. We surrender to Gregor's experience, which in a way becomes ours.

Also included are stories by Guy de Maupassant: The Englishman, The Piece of String, The Necklace, A Crisis, The Will, Love, The Inn and Was it a Dream.

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Product Description


In this, his most famous story, Kafka explores the notions of alienation and human loneliness. It is a work of extraordinary narrative technique and imagination. This unique edition also presents six of Kafka’s lesser-known stories.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

5 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone Oct. 21 2003
By Megami
The other stories mentioned in the title are quite varied - some are self contained short stories, others are no more than a few paragraphs, and these it is difficult to understand their inclusion: perhaps in their original German they were fantastic examples of prose, but in their English translation the reaction is more 'So?'
The main story in the book is of course Metamorphosis. Along with 'The Trial', this is probably the work Kafka is best known for. The basic premise is simple, if a little weird - George Samsa wakes one morning to find he has become a giant insect. The remainder of the story is about George coming to terms with his new existence, and the reactions of the rest of the household. What is interesting in this story is how Kafka reveals so much of the family dynamic obliquely - by describing the actions that the family must now take since their chief breadwinner - George- is incapacitated (to say the least) and the changes in their lives, we see that a family George once regarded as loving and needing care were actually leading an easy life at his expense, and once he is out of the equation are quite able to cope on their own, coming to loath what George has become once they realise that they no longer need him. The straight-forward style when writing about such a bizarre subject is a bit odd at first, but the reader becomes 'acclimatised' as the story develops.
There seems to be three reasons people read Kafka - some genuinely enjoy his writing; some come across it accidentally and give it a go; and some feel the need to read his works since they are referred to in one way or another in so many works written since his death. Kafka is not a writer that will probably be on most people's favourite authors lists, but it is worth trying some of his work to at least know what all the fuss is about and decide for yourself. And if it is not for you, at least you're making an informed choice.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrifyingly Absurd Jan. 29 2013
By Jonathan "WorldsWithoutEnd dot com" - Published on
Franz Kafka's novella The Metamorphosis exists in the same terrifyingly absurd sort of world as so many of his other stories. His characters are often oppressed by isolation and a sense of futility, and as such the horror they experience is part and parcel with the very act of living. In his novel The Trial, for instance, Josef K. is arrested and prosecuted for a crime unknown not only to the reader but to himself. Many of Kafka's stories exist on the borders of madness and despair, something most Horror writers can only dream of accomplishing in their own work.

The Metamorphosis is a strangely-layered work pulling out of many literary traditions, but still seemingly unique. The title, for instance, is a reference to Ovid's Metamorphoses, an ancient Roman work that retells Greek myths to make the philosophical point that all things are in a state of flux and transformation. The mutation of traveling salesman Gregor Samsa into a giant insect is reminiscent of werewolf stories... well, except for the insect part. The suddenness and unexplained nature of the mutation is a feature of absurdist and postmodern art, which has it that the world (contra Aristotle) is intrinsically irrational and chaotic. The unkindness of Gregor's family as they fail to adjust to his curse is evocative even of the crueler sort of European fairy tales.

But despite all this, there is nothing that can quite prepare the reader for a story which describes the protagonist's plight in this way: "His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes." It manages to be both disgusting and terrifying at the same time, something the Splatterpunk subgenre rarely achieves. Gregor's attempts to move and talk in his new, inhuman body are pitiful, making one want to weep and vomit simultaneously. His family is uncertain whether this giant insect is still their son, though because of our privileged point of view, we know that he is. Only after his father has crippled him do they allow him to venture out of his room now and then. I won't ruin the ending, but you wouldn't be wrong to guess that it's not a happy one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange but Good Dec 10 2011
By Joel E. Mitchell - Published on
There is a reason that "kafkaesque" means "surreal." The short stories in this book read like dreams/nightmares you would have after eating ham and sauerkraut pizza immediately before bed. I enjoyed their strangeness and trying to figure out what point (if any) Kafka was trying to make in them (alienation seems to be a recurring theme).
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazon purchase Sept. 7 2011
By Kristin Wu - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Purchased for an English class. Easy transaction. Book is just what I needed.Story is very short but there are many interesting articles on the story included in the book.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting collection Oct. 31 2012
By TRH - Published on
Kafka is not for everyone, and so it seems, not for me either. This collection contains several stories by Kafka. Many of them are entertaining and thought provoking. But in the end most of them are simply strange and dehumanizing. They often leave you scratching your head and looking for a point. There are as many interpretations of Kafka as there are readers, probably because he was slightly crazy and perhaps didn't actually have a point. This is only for a certain class of reader.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not what i ordered Sept. 2 2013
By Rhonda - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I did not order an adapted, comic-book-like version of this book, which is what I got. I ordered the original Metamorphosis written by Franz Kafka.
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