The Metamorphosis and Other Stories Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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This edition contains a fascinating introduction by Ritchie Robertson, offering Buddhist, Freudian and expressionist readings of the text. Guardian online, WB Gooderham Bracing surprises for buffs as well as an easy passage into the labyrinth for newcomers. Boyd Tonkin, The Independent --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
Hesperus Press, as suggested by their Latin motto, Et remotissima prope, is dedicated to bringing near what is far—far both in space and time. Works by illustrious authors, often unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English–speaking world, are made accessible through a completely fresh editorial approach or new translations. Through these short classic works, which feature forewords by leading contemporary authors, the modern reader will be introduced to the greatest writers of Europe and America. An elegantly designed series of exceptional books. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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