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The Metamorphosis (1915)

by Franz Kafka

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,088142622 (3.91)250
The Metamorphosis 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. It is a harrowing--though absurdly comic--meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation.… (more)
1910s (15)
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» See also 250 mentions

English (103)  Spanish (18)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (140)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
3.75* I enjoyed the second half of this more than the first half. ( )
  courty4189 | Mar 24, 2021 |
An unsettling, psychological story with an ending that had me stunned completely. See, this is the book that should have ended with "ah, humanity!" - like Bartleby the Scrivener did. Also, my first Kindle read! Am I finally a 21st century reader now? ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
Brilliant story, I loved this! ( )
  Timwindram | Feb 28, 2021 |
This short story is beyond weird. I mean it super is, but it really kept my attention. It's like nothing I remember reading before. I won't soon forget it. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Feb 17, 2021 |
Most people are probably somewhat familiar with Franz Kafka. When we hear that something is Kafkaesque we think of the surreal and the absurd, but with a darkness. The Metamorphosis is possibly his most well known story. The tale of a travelling salesman who wakes one morning and finds that he is a giant beetle or cockroach. How many of us know the rough outline without ever having read the actual work?

I do have a vague memory of reading it at some point in the past. But years and years ago. I know I didn’t appreciate it then. Reading it now I was left with an overwhelming sense of sadness. Gregor is a pitiable person even before he is transformed into vermin. His family are even worse. For a while the reader may hold out some hope for his sister, but that never comes to pass.

Why and how Gregor became an insect is never discussed, never explained. That is not the point of the book, it isn’t even vaguely important to the characters. What is important is how it changes Gregor’s relationship with his family. Up until his transformation he had been the sole bread-winner, he can no longer support even himself. He has become a burden on the rest of the Samsa’s, but his thoughts and memories seem to suggest that even while he was supporting them his parents never truly valued him.

This, supposedly, is a worry that Kafka himself had, that he was disgusting and a drain on his family. In some ways it seems like a analogy of someone suffering from depression, but it could also be about modern life and the alienation of capitalism and the city, or even about ageing. There are many many interpretations, and all, I would think, valid in their own way.

( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (139 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kafka, Franzprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Altena, Ernst vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Appelbaum, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baioni, GiulianoContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bernofsky, SusanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corngold, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corngold, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cronenberg, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cumberbatch, BenedictNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graftdijk, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hauptmann, TatjanaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hofmann, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoover, Marjorie L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, Ian C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keenan, JamieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Llovet, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, EdwinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, WillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nervi, MauroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neugroschel, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neumann, GerhardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rho, AnitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rozendaal, W.J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simonischek, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorn, Willem vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyllie, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.
When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed right there in his bed into some sort of monstrous insect. (tr. Susan Bernofsky)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

The Metamorphosis 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. It is a harrowing--though absurdly comic--meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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