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Insect Dreams: The Half Life of Gregor Samsa (2002)
by Marc Estrin
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399148361, Hardcover)It seems the Samsas' chambermaid only claimed to sweep into the dustbin the twentieth century's most remarkable contemplative. Instead, having spirited him from his bedchamber, she apparently sold the metamorphosed Gregor to a Viennese sideshow, where-it being 1915-he could earn his living lecturing carnival crowds on the implications of Rilke and Herr Spengler.
In this delightfully original work of imagination, compassion, and good reason, we follow the trajectory of Kafka's salesman-turned-cockroach across two continents and thirty years as he touches the most significant flash points of his time. In the process, Marc Estrin delivers a human saga of cultural ambition and compassionate insight that may be the most surprising addition to Jewish literature in a generation.
What's more, the book is funny. And Estrin's Gregor is downright endearing.
With its reach and substance, Insect Dreams is nothing short of a liberal education-in cultural history, musical theory, nuclear physics, and the world of ideas. But it's also a remarkable reading experience. With a scope, heart, and intelligence unparalleled in recent memory, Insect Dreams should spark wide-ranging discussions about who we're becoming, now that the swiftest century is complete.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:25 -0400)
"The metamorphosis of Kafka's Gregor Samsa from fabric salesman to cockroach was surely one of the momentous transformations of the modern world. And for almost a century it has seemed that we lost someone dear when the Samsas' chambermaid claimed to sweep into the dustbin the twentieth century's most remarkable contemplative." "Now, in Marc Estrin's debut, we find, instead, that she spirited Gregor from his bedchamber and sold him to a Viennese sideshow." "In these continuously surprising pages, Estrin's Gregor tests out his insect state, not only in Vienna, where Musil and Wittgenstein, Spengler, Einstein, and Rilke all help him define his goals. He flies to America, into the crazy rhythm of Prohibition, the Scopes and Sacco-Vanzetti trials, Alice Paul's feminist movement, and the KKK. In New York, he works with Charles Ives, that mad genius composer and insurance magnate. In Washington, he joins the FDR brain trust at its most volatile moment. And what comes of that is nothing less than the explosive birth of modern conscience. This original work of imagination, compassion, and good reason is an ambitious - and enlightening - human comedy."--BOOK JACKET.
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