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The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

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The Metamorphosis and Other Stories PDF, ePub eBook The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, by Franz Kafka, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions are beautif The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, by Franz Kafka, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. Virtually unknown during his lifetime, Franz Kafka is now one of the world’s most widely read and discussed authors. His nightmarish novels and short stories have come to symbolize modern man’s anxiety and alienation in a bizarre, hostile, and dehumanized world. This vision is most fully realized in Kafka’s masterpiece, “The Metamorphosis,” a story that is both harrowing and amusing, and a landmark of modern literature. Bringing together some of Kafka’s finest work, this collection demonstrates the richness and variety of the author’s artistry. “The Judgment,” which Kafka considered to be his decisive breakthrough, and “The Stoker,” which became the first chapter of his novel Amerika, are here included. These two, along with “The Metamorphosis,” form a suite of stories Kafka referred to as “The Sons,” and they collectively present a devastating portrait of the modern family. Also included are “In the Penal Colony,” a story of a torture machine and its operators and victims, and “A Hunger Artist,” about the absurdity of an artist trying to communicate with a misunderstanding public. Kafka’s lucid, succinct writing chronicles the labyrinthine complexities, the futility-laden horror, and the stifling oppressiveness that permeate his vision of modern life. Jason Baker is a writer of short stories living in Brooklyn, New York.

30 review for The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave Maddock

    I suspect interpreting Kafka says more about the reader than the author so here's some insight into my psyche: Gregor's family are losers. Gregor takes over the "bread winner" position after his father's business fails and provides enough money for the family to live as well as help to pay down the large debt his father's business incurred. The rest of them are fine to let him and sit on their asses. Gregor's father is perfectly healthy, but is happy to mooch too. Then, we find out that his fathe I suspect interpreting Kafka says more about the reader than the author so here's some insight into my psyche: Gregor's family are losers. Gregor takes over the "bread winner" position after his father's business fails and provides enough money for the family to live as well as help to pay down the large debt his father's business incurred. The rest of them are fine to let him and sit on their asses. Gregor's father is perfectly healthy, but is happy to mooch too. Then, we find out that his father has been squirreling away Gregor's money on the side to boot. Gregor works for five years in this manner, never missing a day of work, and the first day he is ill they are jerks. Yet, when the vermin dies and they are employed, they all sit down quick to write letters of excuse for themselves. When the vermin's alive it's an excuse to not leave the house; when he dies they can't work. They deplore the fact that the vermin cannot understand them despite evidence to the contrary when he hears them talk and follows their instructions (eg. to get back in the room, etc.). Furthermore, they make no effort to communicate with him. I'd like to think if a loved one turned into an insect and I decided to keep them alive in a bedroom of my house, I would get around to trying the blatantly obvious "Hiss one for yes, two for no" routine. In short, f--- you Gregor's family. You suck.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    The Metaphormosis - a tiny tale The field lay sparkling in the sun. The cold night had covered it with a white blanket which the grass was now reluctant to shed. The distant sun did not mind the ground’s slumber. It gazed benevolently down to the field and saw shimmers of its big bright self reflected in the small flakes that had bundled together into an untouched canvas of astonishing whiteness. Everything was still. Birds flew over in silence, forest creatures stayed under the trees and dared The Metaphormosis - a tiny tale The field lay sparkling in the sun. The cold night had covered it with a white blanket which the grass was now reluctant to shed. The distant sun did not mind the ground’s slumber. It gazed benevolently down to the field and saw shimmers of its big bright self reflected in the small flakes that had bundled together into an untouched canvas of astonishing whiteness. Everything was still. Birds flew over in silence, forest creatures stayed under the trees and dared not approach the beauty that presently lay beyond the shadowy safety offered by the canopy. The canvas would not be written upon, not today, for nature itself was too proud of what it had created overnight. The sun sent its rays down to the snow, not to make it melt, but to let it dance in sunshine. Everything was still, everything was beautiful. Evening came and the dance grew less abundant, slowly fading to a twinkling that would last through the night and form a perfect pair with the starry sky. The next morning she woke up with a startle. A coldness was touching her back and was making a sound that seemed very alien to her. In fact, the waking up itself felt very strange. She didn’t remember doing that before. All she knew was that she was magnificent. She turned around and found a man lying beside her, snoring. His breath was cold, his features blank. She didn’t recognize him, but she was unafraid. Curious in fact. Gently, she nudged him awake and when he opened his eyes she saw a bright sparkle that made her fall in love instantly. It was a strange feeling, even stranger than waking up had been. It filled her with warmth and all the questions she felt but didn’t know the words for evaporated into nothingness. She understood everything there was to understand and smiled down at the beautiful eyes gazing up at her. He didn’t know where he was. He had been dreaming, but could not remember what about exactly. He had been moving, there were melodious sounds, and a lot of light. A dream of dancing, he guessed, even though he had no idea what that was. All that dreamily moving about did make him feel sore and stiff upon waking up and he found himself unable to move. He definitely would have liked to move. There was a beautiful woman in his bed, looking with warm and loving eyes into his face. The only thing he could do however was look back in wonder and hope the stiffness would melt away. Doubts began to creep up on her. Why didn’t the man with those loving eyes do something? Why was he just lying there? Why did he feel so cold? She frowned, at least she thought that’s what she was doing, and decided to get up and get some distance from the cold presence. A resplendent flicker of light caught her eye. It came from a surface right next to the bed and as she approached it the light emanating from it became brighter. It wasn’t until she was standing right in front of this mysterious manifestation that she saw and felt how magnificent it was. A light, an energy, full of warmth and full of life. He saw her move out of bed, towards something that looked like a lake. The surface, framed in finely carved wood, was reflecting the woman in all her glory. Only, the lake stood vertically, which was rather unusual for lakes, and for some reason the fluid quality of the water had gone, making it stay completely fixed within its frame . A frozen lake then, only without the misty haze that normally came with frost. While his thoughts ran wild on the nature of what he was looking at, he remained motionless, continuously amazed. The woman felt the cold stare between her shoulder blades. As she had been basking in warmth she found herself all the more shocked when she turned around to see that the man was still just lying there, eyes cold. Why didn’t he return the warmth she was so generously giving? Why didn’t he come alive at the touch of her gentle fingers? Why was the only thing that he could do just look? Yes, there was that sparkle. That beautiful twinkle in his eyes whenever she looked at him. But surely she deserved more than that? Surely her body deserved more than to be treated with an icy touch and a cold breath? A hot fury rose from deep within her. She wouldn’t let this man vanquish her, make her doubt herself, make her lose her radiant energy! She would give him more than he deserved, showing him and herself what she is capable of. She would shake him, shake him awake, shake him into giving her what she deserved. She approached the bed, intent on loving without remorse, and made the room explode with light. The man, transfixed, lay still, saw the bright shape approach, felt anger in its warmth and grew more terrified with every step she took. He could not run, nor hide, so he did the only thing he was capable of. He closed his eyes, hoping it would all be over soon. Another day came and the blanket of white was gone. Where there was dancing only two days ago, there was now black mud. Where there was a blue sky, clouds shrouded the sun in mourning and isolation. Birds landed and picked away at the field, seeds were swallowed and worms were too slow to escape the hungry beaks. The forest animals came out and played around in the grayness of morning. They trampled little mounds of earth and scared away the gluttonous birds. Within all that movement there lay a couple of seeds in waiting. Waiting for this day’s glum spectacle to be over. Waiting to be met by the sun’s nourishing gaze. Waiting to once again be the flowery patch of colors and smells they were before the blanket came. Their time would come, and it would come soon. They knew it would, as the animals returned to their forest, the birds flew back to the sky and the clouds receded to make way for a night full of stars and promises.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Die Verwandlung und andere Erzählungen = The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Franz Kafka In the bizarre world of Franz Kafka, salesmen turn into giant bugs, apes give lectures at college academies, and nightmares probe the mysteries of modern humanity’s unhappiness. More than any other modern writer in world literature, Kafka captures the loneliness and misery that fill the lives of 20th-century humanity. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories reveals the author’s extraordinary talent in a variety Die Verwandlung und andere Erzählungen = The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Franz Kafka In the bizarre world of Franz Kafka, salesmen turn into giant bugs, apes give lectures at college academies, and nightmares probe the mysteries of modern humanity’s unhappiness. More than any other modern writer in world literature, Kafka captures the loneliness and misery that fill the lives of 20th-century humanity. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories reveals the author’s extraordinary talent in a variety of forms—prose poems, short stories, sketches, allegories, and novelettes—and showcases the straight–faced humor, startling psychological insight, and haunting imagination for which he is revered as a modern master. In this brilliant new translation, prize–winning translator Joachim Neugroschel preserves the delicate balance, rich timbre, and wondrous language of Kafka’s original works. In addition to "The Metamorphosis", this collection includes "Early Stories", "Contemplation", "The Judgement", "The Stoker", "In the Penal Colony", and "A Country Doctor". تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه سپتامبر سال 2008 میلادی عنوان: مسخ و داستان‌های دیگر؛ نویسنده: فرانتس کافکا؛ مترجم: صادق هدایت؛ مجموعه پنج داستان: «مسخ»، «در سرزمین محکومان»، «گزارشی به فرهنگستان»، «هنرمند گرسنگی» و «لانه». اما در باره ی داستان کوتاه مسخ: سه ترجمه از مسخ موجود است. نخستین ترجمه فارسی این اثر، از روی ترجمه فرانسوی، به قلم: صادق هدایت منتشر شده است. ترجمه دیگری از بانو فرزانه طاهری در سال 1368 هجری خورشیدی توسط انتشارات نیلوفر منتشر شد، که از متن انگلیسی ترجمه شده بود. ترجمه دیگر نیز از جناب علی اصغر حداد و نشر ماهی، که از متن اصلی آلمانی صورت گرفته است. ا. شربیانی

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    I first met Kafka’s haunting prose while staying in Prague. Not even a year gone by and I find myself re-reading him again, trying once more to decipher what hidden messages might be found in his daunting short stories. After having read his tales twice I have come to the conclusion that there is no use in trying to deconstruct the unrealistic situations of the imaginary worlds he created, there is no need to unveil any encrypted symbolism in order to weave out some sort of moral code from his ni I first met Kafka’s haunting prose while staying in Prague. Not even a year gone by and I find myself re-reading him again, trying once more to decipher what hidden messages might be found in his daunting short stories. After having read his tales twice I have come to the conclusion that there is no use in trying to deconstruct the unrealistic situations of the imaginary worlds he created, there is no need to unveil any encrypted symbolism in order to weave out some sort of moral code from his nightmarish worlds. Kafka defies interpretation in presenting illogical situations from an objective point of view, constantly validating contradictory perceptions to the reader who ends up not questioning the “hows” or the “whys” of his stories, but simply allows himself the luxury of being carried away with them. I have allowed myself to get lost in Kafka’s worlds and here there are some of my mementos. Metamorphosis is not about change, but about completion. Gregor Samsa has always felt in need of spiritual nourishment. His doomed attempts at building connections with others are rife with futility. That’s why he balances his unsatisfied spiritual hunger by working himself out to provide for his family. It doesn't matter if his occupation repulses him. It doesn't matter if his exertions are never appreciated. He needs to believe his own charade, he is even ready to waste his own life only in exchange for some human contact or some sort of understanding. There is no big surprise when one day he wakes up, after a feverish night, only to discover he has become what he had always known to be. A monstrous insect. He has ultimately been granted with a new body which fits with the image others had of him. No more need to pretend. As the caterpillar becomes the butterfly; Samsa becomes the giant bug he had always considered himself to be. The body alters violently, destroying its former self. A painful transformation takes place which brings fulfillment. It is through suffering that comes knowledge. Samsa's animal body is the leading conduit which releases him from his lifelong jail. Gregor has finally understood that he he can’t feed on music, he can’t feed on art. He won’t ever be able to communicate with his beloved family, he belongs to another world. So he conscientiously chooses to cease to be. Gregor’s premature death appears both as an act of undemanding love and pure understanding. Reaching fulfillment through suffering. Becoming another when one finally acknowledges that its true essence has always been the same. A tale of fulfillment. Samsa and Kafka have matching letters. They also sound alike. I wonder why. A Country Doctor is about the price we have to pay for the advance of science in a modern world. Like in the Tale of the new Prometheus, man plays God. A Doctor has the power to keep life, has a duty towards his patients, has to keep life regardless of its cost. He has to become his patient in order to save him. Such a heavy burden. What am I to do? I am only a country doctor. In the Penal Colony is about spiritual art. A judicial system which allows the convicted to reach expiation through the suffering derived from having imprinted his misdeeds on his flesh. Not a tormenting instrument but a way to cleanse one’s soul. Brutal, repulsive and disgusting. This particular tale brought reminiscences of Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Either an ominous premonition of Auschwitz and Dachau or a harsh reminder of the Old Testament values, there is a disturbing analogy between the nature of the language, the nature of the tormenting instrument and the purposes of art. In the other stories, nameless characters are introduced as mere spectators who witness the inevitable development of their lives, they are mere onlookers, slaves to their own imperfections, they all have to face surreal, demonic scenarios. But knowledge comes only through painful, personal transformation and it must be known in the flesh. We need to become “the other” in order to fully understand. Kakfa’s claustrophobic tales are “the instrument” and “the metamorphosis” takes place in the reader, who suffers its painful but necessary transformation to ease his spiritual hunger.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenn(ifer)

    It's totally kafkaesque (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpAVa6...) I would have given this collection 5 stars based on "The Metamorphosis" alone. The rest of the pages could have been filled with grocery lists, recipes, driving directions, what have you, I would still have given it 5 stars. But the thing is, there are so many other stellar stories in this collection, five stars seems like an insult. "The Judgement" astounded me; "A Hunger Artist" captivated me; "In the Penal Colony" sickened me. It's totally kafkaesque (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpAVa6...) I would have given this collection 5 stars based on "The Metamorphosis" alone. The rest of the pages could have been filled with grocery lists, recipes, driving directions, what have you, I would still have given it 5 stars. But the thing is, there are so many other stellar stories in this collection, five stars seems like an insult. "The Judgement" astounded me; "A Hunger Artist" captivated me; "In the Penal Colony" sickened me. I still find myself clenching my jaw when I think about that story. Herr Kafka had such an incredible imagination. It pains me that he was virtually unknown in his lifetime. We are so lucky that his final wishes were not granted, that his writings were not burned. What a tragedy that would have been.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lamski Kikita

    Do not, under any circumstances, believe any of the introductions to Kafka books especially if they tell you that there is no point of trying to interpret, read into, or analyze Kafka's writing, and that it just is; read it for its poetic prose and for the beauty of the stories... BULLSHIT!!! If you have any sense at all, you will read Kafka, and you will read into the stories, you will come up with hidden messages, and you will see the politics and sociology in it, and it will mess up with your Do not, under any circumstances, believe any of the introductions to Kafka books especially if they tell you that there is no point of trying to interpret, read into, or analyze Kafka's writing, and that it just is; read it for its poetic prose and for the beauty of the stories... BULLSHIT!!! If you have any sense at all, you will read Kafka, and you will read into the stories, you will come up with hidden messages, and you will see the politics and sociology in it, and it will mess up with your head... THAT is the beauty of Kafka, THAT is what makes him one of a kind. Metamorphosis I did not really know what I was feeling reading this story, so small and yet packed with the agony that is the human condition and the ugliness of the human race. The beauty of Gregor's story is that it reveales to us so simply sans any clichees the basic human nature, and how sometimes, family bonds can come to nothing overnight. Gregor wakes up one morning to find out that he has turned into a giant beatle. Kafka does not tell us whether he's been a beatle for a while and only found out that morning, or if he only became one that very day, which opens a door for interpretation. Gregor, who let his managers at work treat him like an insect, allowed his family to give him no respect, like an insect, while he just did what he was supposed to do, without standing up for himself, without demanding that he be treated like a human, because maybe he felt, yes, like an insect. Was he ever a guy, really? hasn't he always been an insect trapped in a man's body? Were his managers really human? Was his family- who only saw him as a piggy bank, a means to provide for them and pay back their debts (they sucked the juice out of him, like leeches), whose loss of ability to work and produce cash minimized him into an object of hate, disgust, and shame- human at all? Who is the insect here? Think about this when you have a spare moment to yourself... do you ever feel like a giant beetle? is the human race at all human, or are we all insects? The Great Wall of China You can really see how much our Franz used to think, about all sorts of things. Does anyone really know why the Wall of China was built? and why was it built in sections like that? Not really, and the more he thought about it, it seems, the more he could not figure it out. Investigations of a Dog This story struck me as extremely political. This dog/philosopher, wondering about where food comes from, and questioning the belief system of Dogs sounds like many a 19th-20th century political phylosopher trying to figure out how the world works. Sometimes I felt as though this story was either in praise of, in criticism of, or in frustration of one's own belief in Communism (especially the parts about the unity of dogs, the sharing of food, the power of the collective etc). It is also about being the odd one out, the sheep astray from the herd, the freethinker, the outcast. I really enjoyed analyzing this one, and trying to figuring it out. I also kindda identified with this quote "our generation is lost, it may be, but it is more blameless than those earlier ones. I can understand the hesitation of my generation, indeed it is no longer mere hesitation; it is the thousandth forgetting of a dream dreamt a thousand times and forgotten a thousand times; who can damn us merely for forgetting for the thousandth time?" The Burrow Kakfa speaks of an underground creature, living in its borrow, thinking constantly of its borrow: how to make it better, how to make it safer, where to store food, etc etc etc. Does Franz tell us that this creature is an animal? He doesn't for a reason; so it could be open to interpretation. And mine is that he is metaphorically telling us about ourselves, humans who build homes and give birth to the nationstate, which is, like a burrow, supposed to be the place in which you feel safe, but which is also the source of your worries and anxieties, and yes, the source of your problems. The creature in the burrow has his moments of doubt, whether his real enemy is a known enemy, one big enemy, or a huge number of small enemies. Is it an enemy that has been lurking in the shadows waiting for the right moment to attack? Is it a new kind of monsterous creature he does not know? Is it someone planning revenge? or worst of all, is it a creature of his own kind, that wants to kill him and take over his burrow? If this doesn't this sound a bit familiar to you at all, then you do probably live in a hole! In the Penal Settlement Reading this felt like reading Discipline and Punish by Foucault. Just a reminder how really sick and dimented people, and how more sick and dimented the ones in power are! This is just one of those things you read and you have nightmares about for weeks. The ending is very interesting though, would you do unto yourself what you do to others? The Mole I felt that this story was less about the giant mole and more about how sometimes great egos are in the way of great discoveries. There is no doubt that Kafka was/is a genious. Reading his work made me really see why he died so young; great thinkings suffer from their thoughts, and torture themselves to deal with all the ideas pushing forward to be heard first. I will agree with one thing though, there is no defining the Kafkaesque, for it, like beauty, comes in many forms.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈

    Read a book originally written in a different language. Finally writing a review of this thing that I really don't wanna write. Because I'm really being generous with two stars because I really hated reading this thing. Probably why I read it in February and only now posting a review, because I feel like an asshole slamming a piece of world literature that has been read so many times by so many people, is taught in classrooms around the world, and has a lot of things to say. Oh well, I plead the Read a book originally written in a different language. Finally writing a review of this thing that I really don't wanna write. Because I'm really being generous with two stars because I really hated reading this thing. Probably why I read it in February and only now posting a review, because I feel like an asshole slamming a piece of world literature that has been read so many times by so many people, is taught in classrooms around the world, and has a lot of things to say. Oh well, I plead the fifth. And by pleading the fifth I really just mean This collection contains the titular "Metamorphosis" as well as the lesser known works "The Judgement," "In the Penal Colony," "A Country Doctor," and "A Report to an Academy." The titular work in this collection was my personal favorite (if I could possibly have a favorite) and the only reason I decided on two stars instead of one. Because I may not have enjoyed reading this, but at least I can appreciate what is being said here. I think "The Judgement" was just awful and probably the worst of the bunch. I wanted to slit my wrists and gouge my eyes out after reading it. Bleak and boring and soooooo depressing. I cannot understand why someone would want to read about something like that. "In the Penal Colony" was completely disturbing and depressing, but I enjoyed it much more than the other stories, except perhaps "The Metamorphosis." It did have something to say, and its disturbing-ness(if that's even a word) at least was purposeful in viewing the justice system and the ones in charge vs. those who are condemned. I can understand it being taught in classrooms and brings up a lot of great ideas on the meaning and understanding of justice vs. revenge and humanity vs. power and the fine lines that tie all those ideas together. As for "A Country Doctor," I barely remember what happens so it obviously made a huge impression on me, and "A Report to an Academy" was just plain absurd and I did not find the point. Now, without further adieu, I will spend the rest of this review talking about the cockroach story. Reading Kafka made me--an adult, well-read, college educated, intelligent, and relatively communicable woman--feel like a colossal idiot. I understand what this short novella is trying to say. Or at least I think I do. We all know that Gregor wakes up one morning to find himself turned into a gigantic cockroach. Ok, ew. But still, this is really really problematic for Gregor who is the only person in his family who works, takes care of business, and has plans for the future. He works his German arse off in order to pay off his parents' debts. And really, he doesn't get many thanks in return. This story is about how his family responds to Gregor's transformation over the next several months, and it is an extremely depressing and sad story. I couldn't help but think about another book I read last year, Still Alice which is about a woman in her fifties, a brilliant Harvard psychology professor, who finds herself suddenly stricken with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. And though you may be thinking where the hell I am going with linking this book to Kafka's classic masterpiece, just bear with me. You see, in Still Alice there is a lot of talk about not only the disease and what it does to the mind, but what it does to a person, socially and emotionally. It discusses about how people with illnesses of that sort are marginalized by society, treated as less than human, and somehow tossed aside when their illness starts interfering with the plans of those closest to them. That is where Kafka's story struck a chord in me. And that is what I want to talk about. Because seriously, it is absurd to think that a hard working young man will just wake up one day to find himself turned into a large bug. But it is not all that unrealistic for a hard working young man to have woken up one day with a condition, (a stroke is what entered my mind at the time) which renders him unable to communicate, work, get out of bed, move around they way he is used to. It may make relating to people difficult, it may change the way he looks physically, make him think he is ugly or useless or disturbed. And THAT, people, is what we are dealing with in The Metamorphosis. Gregor, the main breadwinner and all-around people pleaser of the family, is suddenly no longer himself. And therefore no longer of use to his family. Although I think Kafka takes his ill treatment by his family a little too far on the dramatic side, I think he has a lot to say about how we treat those who have taken care of us when we find ourselves having to take care of them. Elderly, sick, and disabled people are every day mistreated, ignored, left to live in nursing homes, forgotten, and marginalized. Reading a story that is this absurd and in your face really made that other, less talked about reality hit home in a big way. Now with that being said, this 50 page story took me MONTHS to read. Because it is BORING. And DRY. And UBER DEPRESSING. And that is why it only gets 2 stars. Because though I appreciate what Kafka is saying, and enjoy the underlying theme of this story, it was not at all enjoyable for me to read. I felt it was a chore, something I HAD to do. And reading should never make me feel like that. Now I know what you all are thinking. Jess's favorite book of all time is The Stranger which is pretty much the epitome of depressing existentialist bullshit. But that book MOVES me like no book ever has. It doesn't make me feel like I'm having a brain hemorrhage in order to get the point. And that is what makes it so uncomfortable to write a review for a book that I hate, but respect. And I do respect this book and this author. I'm just not sure I will ever read anything of his again. Because seriously, thinking about reading this shit again makes me want to kill myself. Thanks to my favorite pantsless, non-crunchy pals for buddy reading this. Sorry I found it Crunchy, guys. On the other hand, Tadiana actually read it in its original German and liked it so much better than I did. You can read her beautiful review here because she also has a lot to say and does a much better job than I.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I didn’t want to like Kafka. When I first heard of him, I classified him as one of those writers people like so they can have some self-validation about their intelligence, like an association with college professors of something. I decided to try Kafka after a Breaking Bad episode entitled “Kafkaesque.” A humorous moment in the episode shows one of the main characters, a recovering meth addict and dealer, talking in a street-slang vernacular and saying something to his partner like, “You wouldn I didn’t want to like Kafka. When I first heard of him, I classified him as one of those writers people like so they can have some self-validation about their intelligence, like an association with college professors of something. I decided to try Kafka after a Breaking Bad episode entitled “Kafkaesque.” A humorous moment in the episode shows one of the main characters, a recovering meth addict and dealer, talking in a street-slang vernacular and saying something to his partner like, “You wouldn’t get it. It’s Kafkaesque, man!” I interpreted Kafka as a dark writer. But the dark writing didn’t capture my heart. Kafka’s style and mastery of words, his power to manipulate and control my emotions, his hypnotic wording – these captured my heart. Reading Kafka reminded me of an experience I had on the playground as a child. They had these massive tires hanging by chains. Children sat on them and someone pushed as they swung around. I finally swallowed my fear and tried it. The first time scared the hell out of me, and I walked away with trembling, wobbling legs. That night I remembered the experience, and smiled, and thought, “That was the coolest freaking thing I ever did in my life!” The next day I did it again, and again, and again, for days and weeks and months until I moved on to the next school. Kafka soaked into my mind the same way. I kept saying to myself, “Come on. You don’t really like this. You just want to like it because everybody says you should, because educators and critics and English majors say it’s what everyone should like. Don’t conform. Don’t follow the crowd. Detach. Be an individual.” I read this collection and went to Half Price Books to pick up his complete collection. The guy asked me if I needed it for school. “No. I read a few stories and find his skill amazing.” The guy smirked and nodded his head. “Yeah. He really is.” I paid five dollars and ninety-nine cents for a 1983 copy with a tattered dustcover. But I regret nothing. I left with a smile on my face, and plan to read his stories again, and again, and again. Who knows? Maybe I’ll never move on. To me, these stories come together like one big piece. They all contains shards of the pottery of Kafka’s mind. They speak out against injustice, and pierce with searing acuity. He disguises deep, philosophical feelings and thoughts beneath actors on a stage. The curtain pulls away and the words Kafka wants to say come through the sublime manifestation of story. As I read his work, I found my mind immersed and invaded with his thoughts, his words, his ideas, his emotions. I read of children oppressed in lower class societies and waves of word patterns swept me into a sea of tears and passion. It goes deeper, much deeper, and one who becomes bored with the knowledge they have may find this interesting, as Kafka walks us past locked treasure chests only a deeper consciousness and many rereads may reveal.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Maybe could be titled Metaphor. When one starts to bug one's parents, it's time to move out.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Raul Bimenyimana

    Strange, incredibly well written stories. The characters are all helpless to the events happening around and to them and thus are rendered observers to their mostly unfortunate fates, as much as they are subjects. Through them, we go step by step immersed in their own sense of helplessness and alienation. The prose is incredible and concise, filled with clear and rich descriptions so that whether it is pain, fear or even disgust, we're transported to these inescapable situations and left marvelli Strange, incredibly well written stories. The characters are all helpless to the events happening around and to them and thus are rendered observers to their mostly unfortunate fates, as much as they are subjects. Through them, we go step by step immersed in their own sense of helplessness and alienation. The prose is incredible and concise, filled with clear and rich descriptions so that whether it is pain, fear or even disgust, we're transported to these inescapable situations and left marvelling by the time the tale comes to its end. I'm still quite dazzled by these stories and hope to re-read this book soon.

  11. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This book is composed of 6 short stories by Franz Kafka. The writing is glorious and the storytelling is engaging. However, most of the messages are unclear to me. I just don't see the point of reading these except to savor Kafka's eccentrically beautiful prose and give oneself a chance to pick his/her own takeaway when he/she is finally done reading the whole book the book. Metamorphosis. 3 STARS I really felt sad for Gregor Samsa. He is the family breadwinner because he is the only one working i This book is composed of 6 short stories by Franz Kafka. The writing is glorious and the storytelling is engaging. However, most of the messages are unclear to me. I just don't see the point of reading these except to savor Kafka's eccentrically beautiful prose and give oneself a chance to pick his/her own takeaway when he/she is finally done reading the whole book the book. Metamorphosis. 3 STARS I really felt sad for Gregor Samsa. He is the family breadwinner because he is the only one working in the family. His father is fat and sluggish. His mother is asthmatic. His younger sister, Crete plays violin and Gregor is close to her and is planning to tell her that he will send her to the conservatory school on Christmas Day. However, one day, Gregor wakes up to find out that he has transformed (metamorphosed) into a giant vermin (insect or rodent that carries diseases). Kafka did not explain why Gregor became a vermin. Gregor did not ask too. This is my 3rd Kafka and so this seems like Josef K in The Trial (3 stars) being arrested by government men for an unexplained reason. This is another kafkaesque or "of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings; especially: having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality " I liked the shock value. It is very startling. It is like when you are told by your doctor that you have cancer, you can no longer walk or some news that is shocking because you have to adjust your lifestyle, etc. I do not like the attitude of Gregor's family. His parents sucked. His sister, who he really loved, also turned her back to him in the end. The Great Wall of China. 1 STAR Quite confusing. It does not seem like a short story but an essay told be an old Chinese man that I first mistaken for Kafka. Then when the man started to say "we, the chinese people" or "we in Pekin (or Peking)" then I realized that he was not Kafka. There are no other characters. The man just questioned that the wall did not form a full figure (ends did not meet) so how could it protect the emperor and his kingdom from the barbarians from the north? He also told the reader that the wall was built by piecemeal. I am rating this with 1 because it does not seem kafkaesque for me but just absurd. For me, absurdity the territory of Albert Camus. Investigations of a Dog. 2 STARS Engaging because the POV is that of a dog! Any story or novel with a dog as a character is an immediate turn on for me. However, similar to the second story, the dog narrator goes on and on and there are no other characters. It is quite fascinating though because dogs here can think the same as human beings, e.g., like when you enter in a room with people inside and you greet them and nobody returns your greeting. Is it because it's not the group's norm to return the greeting or there is something about you that they don't like? The Burrow. 3 STARS Said to be an unfinished story but this one is more enjoyable than Metamorphosis. A burrow is an animal and in the story he calls his home the Castle Keep and it serves as his sanctuary against the wrath of nature and men. The narration is by the burrow himself and while reading, it seemed to me that Kafka was the one talking. I read the Diaries of Franz Kafka (3 stars) and I remember that he was a silent reclusive young man so I thought that he wanted to explain his introversion in this story by building his home underneath the ground. In the Penal Settlement. 2 STARS The setting is in a unnamed prison where a devise for torture and execution is being used supposedly for the last time. The machine carves the sentence of the condemned criminal before letting him die. This reminded me of the experimental torture device in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange but the difference is that the torture device of Burgess is a chemical that interacts with the brain while this one is external. However, their use is really appalling and the result is that the person being tortured always admits to the crime because of the pain. Like Metamorphosis there seems to be a message that escaped me. I just found this too gory and I am giving this only for the shock and disgust that it gave me while reading. The Giant Mole. 2 STARS Said to be the second unfinished short story in this collection. This only got published after Kafka's death. Here, there is no real transformation of a person to a bug (like in Metamorphosis) or a burrow digging the soil to become his sanctuary (The Burrow). However, the narrator is a village schoolmaster who is defending the existence of a giant mole. He is like Noah defending his Ark to the people who think that he is crazy because the ark is on a mountaintop. The story ends with another researcher doing the same study and they argue about their findings. It just seemed pointless to me. My guess on what should be my takeaway: only discriminating readers can dig Kafka. At least, I can pretend that I am one of them hehe.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    Nothing demands meticulous attention more than Kafka's prose. He weaved the false thread of inner lives of his characters in a way that is as ridiculous and surreal as it possibly can be. They try to make sense, but alas, it is the world Kafka had woven and hence, absurdity reigns triumphantly. The eponymous story in this collection depicts the pain of a metamorphosis. Gregor Samsa wakes up from "uneasy dreams" and finds himself in another. His transformation into a giant insect stripped him of h Nothing demands meticulous attention more than Kafka's prose. He weaved the false thread of inner lives of his characters in a way that is as ridiculous and surreal as it possibly can be. They try to make sense, but alas, it is the world Kafka had woven and hence, absurdity reigns triumphantly. The eponymous story in this collection depicts the pain of a metamorphosis. Gregor Samsa wakes up from "uneasy dreams" and finds himself in another. His transformation into a giant insect stripped him of his ability to move forward with ease. The Great Wall of China appears to have been written stream-of-consciously. It acquired an absurdist overtone. Both these factors intermingled and made me ponder about the vantage point of my love for Kafka. Investigations of a Dog read like a parable. Narrated from the perspective of a dog, it poses various questions that others were pleased to be ignorant about. In The Burrow, a mole-like creature built Castle Keep over the course of its life and thereby, also took measures to protect it. In the Penal Settlement is a precursor to The Trial . It is a wonderful amalgamation of his absurdism and the horrors of modern bureaucracy. In The Giant Mole, the narrator discusses about the unfruitful attempt of the village schoolmaster. His effort of bringing the attention of the community towards a giant mole goes awry. Kafka's characters often find themselves in circumstances not of their own making. Throughout the course of action, there is a subtle derision for improvement. The world of horror in Kafka's prose is suffused with humour. It is like a deep ocean in which a person is flung; to find out how deep that ocean is, all that needs to be done by the person is to die and traverse the depth.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

    Okay, I guess the first thing that I should mention is that I didn't actually read the "other stories", mainly because those other stories were not attached to my nookbook version of this short novel. Of course, I selected the wrong version of this work from the 10,000,000 options that Goodreads provided and now it's just too complicated to change editions so . . . on to my review. I have this obsessive need to write a review on everything I read. Not because I think anyone really cares, but beca Okay, I guess the first thing that I should mention is that I didn't actually read the "other stories", mainly because those other stories were not attached to my nookbook version of this short novel. Of course, I selected the wrong version of this work from the 10,000,000 options that Goodreads provided and now it's just too complicated to change editions so . . . on to my review. I have this obsessive need to write a review on everything I read. Not because I think anyone really cares, but because my life is built around my obsessive, compulsive issues and I'm not sure I'd be able to sleep at night if anything I've read suffered the fate of being reviewless. However, (although I scraped together a review for Kafka's The Trial) I'm not sure why I bother writing a review for Kafka's work because 90% of me doesn't really "get" it. At first I hopefully thought "maybe if I reread it", but I'm thinking, not even then. So suffice to say that there's something really great about Kafka's works (the ones I've read anyway), and I dig his writing in a major way. It feels like there's some life revealing inner truth embedded somewhere between the adverbs and prepositional phrases, but I don't pretend to know what the heck it is.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sentimental Surrealist

    I plan to finish Kafka's complete shorts (and Amerika) eventually, but I have to read this guy slowly, no more than one or two stories a day, because he gets overwhelming otherwise. I don't know if it's possible to say anything new about these shadowy parables on human loneliness, but they're some of the most profound and powerful fiction ever set to paper. Kafka's protagonists gaze into the abyss and sometimes cower in terror but other times laugh, and for as petty and as spiteful as they often I plan to finish Kafka's complete shorts (and Amerika) eventually, but I have to read this guy slowly, no more than one or two stories a day, because he gets overwhelming otherwise. I don't know if it's possible to say anything new about these shadowy parables on human loneliness, but they're some of the most profound and powerful fiction ever set to paper. Kafka's protagonists gaze into the abyss and sometimes cower in terror but other times laugh, and for as petty and as spiteful as they often are, you feel for them because they're buried somewhere inside of you. The title story is Kafka's most famous, but "In the Penal Colony," a brutal, lacerating, and strangely funny exercise in cosmic irony, horror, and alienation, is even better.

  15. 5 out of 5

    RJ

    In addition to a short biography and timeline of the author's life, this collection contains an Introduction by Jason Baker, a translator's afterword by Donna Freed, Endnotes, notes on works inspired by Kafka, Comments/Questions, and Suggestions for Further Reading, as well as the following stories: A Message from the Emperor - 3/5 - There is an interesting piece in the Atlantic Monthly that describes how this very short parable can be used to define the term "Kafkaesque" (read it here: https:// In addition to a short biography and timeline of the author's life, this collection contains an Introduction by Jason Baker, a translator's afterword by Donna Freed, Endnotes, notes on works inspired by Kafka, Comments/Questions, and Suggestions for Further Reading, as well as the following stories: A Message from the Emperor - 3/5 - There is an interesting piece in the Atlantic Monthly that describes how this very short parable can be used to define the term "Kafkaesque" (read it here: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertain...). The parable itself is also contained within the short story The Great Wall of China which is not included in this collection. The Metamorphosis - 5/5 - the author's most famous and perhaps most highly regarded work, the story of Gregor Samsa's transformation into a giant insect is open to interpretation, awakening in the reader feelings of isolation, rejection and despair The Judgment - 5/5 - astonishingly powerful and thought-provoking exploration of father-son dynamics that was written in a single sitting The Stoker - 4/5 - in the first chapter of Kafka's unfinished "Amerika" a young man arriving in America encounters a mistreated stoker; stands alone as a fragment and we can see the author's usual themes of alienation and injustice In the Penal Colony - 4/5 - very grim and bleak story about a penal colony machine invented for carrying out final judgments A Country Doctor - 3/5 - absurdist existentialism? An Old Leaf - 3/5 - very short story about nomads taking over a town when the central government can't be bothered to get involved A Hunger Artist - 3/5 - Kafka's "alienated artist" stories are much less compelling than his earlier works Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk - 3/5 - see above Before the Law - 3/5 - stand alone fragment from Kafka's novel "The Trial" which was originally published on its own before the novel was posthumously published

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Riddle me this…… why is it that Kafka is praised for having a continuous theme of ‘alienation and anxiety in a bizarre, hostile, and dehumanized world’ (taken right from the introduction by Kafka-aficionado Jason Baker) but Art Alexaksis of Everclear is constantly derided for never giving up the theme of his parent’s divorce and family instability in his suburban American life? Really, who is more pigeonholed and obsessed with a single theme; a guy who puts a few 3-minute, 3-chord, hastily-writt Riddle me this…… why is it that Kafka is praised for having a continuous theme of ‘alienation and anxiety in a bizarre, hostile, and dehumanized world’ (taken right from the introduction by Kafka-aficionado Jason Baker) but Art Alexaksis of Everclear is constantly derided for never giving up the theme of his parent’s divorce and family instability in his suburban American life? Really, who is more pigeonholed and obsessed with a single theme; a guy who puts a few 3-minute, 3-chord, hastily-written songs with the same motif on each of his albums, or a guy who spends his entire life churning out several volumes of written work with the same underlying theme throughout? I’ll let a wiser man than myself be the judge of that. Let’s face it, pretty much anyone involved in any form of ‘art’ is pretty much always magnetically drawn to some persistent theme which they probably feel defines them and their struggles in this mortal coil. Everclear and Kafka just happen to exceed at staying as close to home without straying from their designated bounds; note to Kafka and his slavishly obedient idolaters, being the Everclear of literature doesn’t justify being considered one of the most influential wordsmiths in human history. All the stories within pretty much blow; here are some comments on the tiny tales that blow the most: •“A Message From the Emperor” – How this can claim to be ‘published’ (in 1919) is quite beyond my feeble understanding; this concise tale is basically the length of a paragraph in an HP Lovecraft story. No sh-t. Exactly one-trade-paperback-page long. How this can be called a ‘story’ is even less understood. This editioni was created by Barnes & Nobles, and for them to choose this as their readers’ first taste of Kafka is quite perplexing. •The Metamorphosis – For all of the acclaim surrounding this story, it’s far-flung appeal is lost on me. Let’s cut to the chase; the protagonist, a lame-ass named Gregor, can’t go to work one fine morning due to his transmogrification into some form of insect (what exact classification of insect is shrouded in mystery, the literary quandary equivalent to the smirk on the Mona Lisa). His family detains him into his room and then treats him like shit. I wouldn’t so much consider this treatment 'alienation’ as I would common sense; I personally won’t dine at the dinner table with a giant cicada, relative or not. Boring story with intermittent vestiges of near-human/insect-incest. I don’t have any idea what the statement behind this fabled work is; Gregor apparently supports this lazy ass family of his until his turn of fate, and when left to fend for themselves they get real lives and jobs and move on happily. •“The Judgment” – Regrettable. One of the most pointless pieces of smegma I’ve perused in my days. Too much build-up for too little of interest. •“Josephine The Singer, Or The Mouse People” – While the story sucks, let me quote some stupidity from within: “It is truly no feat to crack a nut, and therefore no one would think to gather an audience for the purpose of entertaining them with nutcracking.” Obviously, this poor fool had no conception of what a thriving industry porn would become. Reading this story is akin to reading the same damn sentence over and over; a society of shitass rats is beset by the troubles of a social unit, Josephine, who believes she is a star, a unique mouse as opposed to some random and commonplace rodent. Sixteen pages concerning a varmint’s debated ability to sing (contrary to the rat’s universal ‘piping’), which considers both sides of the argument to confirm or deny her public appeal and whether this unclassifiable talent warrants privilege. Trust me, the tale of any human superstar’s life bores the tits off me, much less their rotten and pussified attitude, and reading the equivalent in the world of vermin is pretty piss poor.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    There is a particular reason why Franz Kafka's works have come to be defined by the style of 'Kafkaesque'. Like Mervyn Peake in his Gormenghast works, Kafka defines his own style and ways of writing - working in a genre that is not quite pure fiction and not quite non-fiction. That is to say that Kafka mixes reality and imagination in a way that few writers can. His style is his own in a haunting way that does not quite fit into any genre. Is he a realist? Is he Gothic? Is he a romance author? I There is a particular reason why Franz Kafka's works have come to be defined by the style of 'Kafkaesque'. Like Mervyn Peake in his Gormenghast works, Kafka defines his own style and ways of writing - working in a genre that is not quite pure fiction and not quite non-fiction. That is to say that Kafka mixes reality and imagination in a way that few writers can. His style is his own in a haunting way that does not quite fit into any genre. Is he a realist? Is he Gothic? Is he a romance author? It can be difficult to tell at times, yet definition of Kafka as an artist is all that is really required to enjoy his fictional works because he was one of a type. Let me first discuss the aspect of Kafka that I found in this volume that I had not read elsewhere. This is his brief writing studies or experiments which range from one paragraph to several pages in length. Each one could discuss something as mundane as a man riding past on a bicycle and yet Kafka highlights in each brief - sketches, I suppose you could call them - sketch that the keen writer should be aware of the magic hidden within the most ordinary moments. This is the magic of questions: where is the man on the bicycle riding? To whom is the man on the bicycle riding? Why ride a bicycle at all? There are millions of questions which stem from the ordinary sight of a man riding a bicycle and hence a million variations on the one same story. Aside from such sketches however, in this volume were included some longer fictional stories. Among these was Kafka's most famous short story The Metamorphosis. I had read this story before, two years ago in fact, however reading it again I noted new details about the story. It's one of the more unusual stories by Kafka in that it features a magical sort of transformation of a man into a giant bug. Yet, like most Kafka stories, how that event occurred is not important to the plot. The plot itself is more like a metaphor for alienation from one's own family and people and how this leads to people considering you as something less than human. Such alienation can be caused by deformities, changing religion, differences of sexuality or even something else - it does not matter - because Kafka's story stands in for how the metamorphosis of the soul affects all people around you even if you are comfortable in your change. In particular, I noticed in my re-reading, and from the different translation, how the daughter (Gregor's sister) also transforms. In fact the very end of the story notes how she has blossomed and has a young and nubile body. In other words at the start she was timid, powerless individual but becomes the beautiful powerful individual by the end. The point of all this is to recommend that you read, in some shape or form, the work of Kafka. He was and remains through his works a genius. A genius who is routinely quoted by literature scholars and lovers because he has a great ability to touch all types of readers. So yes, read Kafka and transform your view of literature, allowing transformation to stem into transformation into transformation. My full review of The Metamorphosis alone can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    The philosopher Adorno wrote of Kafka, "Each sentence says "Interpret me", and none will permit it." Kafka's words are unsettling, torturous and crisp with details. They are devoid of metaphors, yet while trying to read between the lines, meanings can be seen lying surreptitiously. 1. Meditation Meditation is a series of short sketches, with isolation as its recurrent theme. It begins with the happiness of a child and ends with an adult's unhappiness. 2. The Judgement Georg Bendemann is a successf The philosopher Adorno wrote of Kafka, "Each sentence says "Interpret me", and none will permit it." Kafka's words are unsettling, torturous and crisp with details. They are devoid of metaphors, yet while trying to read between the lines, meanings can be seen lying surreptitiously. 1. Meditation Meditation is a series of short sketches, with isolation as its recurrent theme. It begins with the happiness of a child and ends with an adult's unhappiness. 2. The Judgement Georg Bendemann is a successful businessman. He is everything his friend in St Petersburg is not. He is engaged to Frieda Brandenfeld, about whom he chooses not to tell his friend. When his fiancée tells him, however, that "If you have friends like that, Georg, you shouldn't have become engaged at all" , he started having second thoughts about it. While it was a realistic description in the first half, as soon as Georg enters his father's bedroom, the scene becomes surreal. The conflict between the two is apparent and we are left hanging in mid-air. 3. The Metamorphosis While there was a separate presence of the real and the surreal in The Judgement, they were superimposed in The Metamorphosis. Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning and finds that he is transformed into a "monstrous vermin" , but his primary concern is not his physical transformation. He is more worried about the disruption in his work routine. Trapped in the capitalist system, there is no way out but death. The motif of a "giant" father continues here. Dependent on Gregor Samsa for their financial needs, the family, finally, seem to be doing well without him. 4. In the Penal Colony In a reply to his publisher, Kafka said, "To explain this last story I only add that not only it is painful; rather, the time in which all of us live, and myself in particular, is painful." Set in a French-speaking colony, in In the Penal Colony, an officer acquaints a European visitor with an "apparatus" . The new commandant, although not in favour of torturous machine, however, doesn't stop its usage. There is corruption at every level. The only transparency in the system is in the glass harrows and the only freedom the "condemned man" (not a novel way of taking away someone's identity) seems to have is that of straps, instead of chains. Although there is an allegorical death of old commandant, the hope for an allegorical rebirth succour. The apparatus gets fouled because so is the system - filthy and foul as the murk. 5. Letter to his Father From Letter to his Father emanates the authoritarian figure of Franz Kafka's father, Hermann Kafka and the rather subdued personality of the former. It was Kafka's attempt to reconcilation, however, because of his mother's discouragement, the letter never materialized for his father.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Here's Kafka with the best thing anyone's ever said about literature:We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be like the axe for the frozen sea inside us.This collection is what you should start with if you haven't read him before, or if it's been a while. (I like the Penguin Deluxe Classics edition translated by Michael Hofman.) Here's Kafka with the best thing anyone's ever said about literature:We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be like the axe for the frozen sea inside us.This collection is what you should start with if you haven't read him before, or if it's been a while. (I like the Penguin Deluxe Classics edition translated by Michael Hofman.) My favorite of his novels is The Trial; I like The Castle somewhat less although that review represents my best & final thoughts on Kafka in general. Kafka always writes about the same thing - the fact that you don't get it. "His writing is the description of the failure of writing," says Michael Schmidt: "Were his writing to succeed, he would have failed; failing, he perhaps succeeded." You could replace "writing" with "living." Salman Rushdie, asked to name his favorite novelist of all time, hedges but throws out Kafka, "In whose world we all live." Good luck.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Simon Clark

    This made me feel uncomfortable in a number of ways, not least because I seriously identified with a man-sized insect. Kafka's prose here is very spartan and descriptive, devoid of metaphor, and the effect is to show the horrifying events of the novella in unflinchingly crisp detail. I would rate the book higher but to be honest it just didn't affect me in that many ways, nor do I anticipate that it will stay with me for a significant length of time. The only story I can think to compare it to i This made me feel uncomfortable in a number of ways, not least because I seriously identified with a man-sized insect. Kafka's prose here is very spartan and descriptive, devoid of metaphor, and the effect is to show the horrifying events of the novella in unflinchingly crisp detail. I would rate the book higher but to be honest it just didn't affect me in that many ways, nor do I anticipate that it will stay with me for a significant length of time. The only story I can think to compare it to is Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men, which I read ten years ago and stays with me to this day. I doubt in ten years I'll be recalling how the characters or events of The Metamorphosis resonated with me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Orient

    My first date with F. Kafka and his gothic tales was in my school years. The impression, it gave me, is the same - a negative and pessimistic picture of the world: black color gives the tone for almost everything and if there is a ray of hope, it is short-lived, because it is swallowed by the dark night. Despair rules the stories, because everything seems pointless. The thing that surprised me at first is that it is really simple to read Kafka’s stories. There aren’t any long and boring descript My first date with F. Kafka and his gothic tales was in my school years. The impression, it gave me, is the same - a negative and pessimistic picture of the world: black color gives the tone for almost everything and if there is a ray of hope, it is short-lived, because it is swallowed by the dark night. Despair rules the stories, because everything seems pointless. The thing that surprised me at first is that it is really simple to read Kafka’s stories. There aren’t any long and boring descriptions, reasoning and morals. The first sentence clearly shows the main idea of the stories. "The Metamorphosis": 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. The problem or the interest (it depends on what you are looking for) arose when I started analyzing the text and I found a lot. It seems that F. Kafka is meant to be read a lot and every time I can find something new or not the same as it was earlier. Still the gloomy atmosphere is heavy and I definitely need something bright and joyful to get rid of the clutches of the dark atmosphere. I think Mr. Kafka can be a great gloomy-apocalyptic-horror fantasy writer, because I just can’t name his stories magical realism.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Puma

    An amazing collection of shorter works by Kafka. For my money, “In the Penal Colony” is the entry that will, likely, prove the most memorable—perhaps, it’s due to my recently reading Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great or it might be owing to my being midway in Sam Harris’ The End of Faith, but I kept picturing an Inquisitor in the role of the ‘officer’ and wishing that the story had been true. I’m likely to have appreciated the entire collection more had I taken more time to read it—spread t An amazing collection of shorter works by Kafka. For my money, “In the Penal Colony” is the entry that will, likely, prove the most memorable—perhaps, it’s due to my recently reading Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great or it might be owing to my being midway in Sam Harris’ The End of Faith, but I kept picturing an Inquisitor in the role of the ‘officer’ and wishing that the story had been true. I’m likely to have appreciated the entire collection more had I taken more time to read it—spread the entries out over time; if you can devout the time to a more leisurely reading, it will serve you well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    whilst other german authors delve in complex syntax and elongated words, Kafka has chosen the simplicity of his purest language. the hardest work would be to translate him, as it's not his words that differentiate him, but the meaning he coats them with. it has been a pleasure to pick on his simplest structures, because he seems to be generating depth out of nowhere. i enjoyed both his writing and his stories, where he combines imaginative situations with the dirty, mundane world. plus, i'm real whilst other german authors delve in complex syntax and elongated words, Kafka has chosen the simplicity of his purest language. the hardest work would be to translate him, as it's not his words that differentiate him, but the meaning he coats them with. it has been a pleasure to pick on his simplest structures, because he seems to be generating depth out of nowhere. i enjoyed both his writing and his stories, where he combines imaginative situations with the dirty, mundane world. plus, i'm really curious to read his other major works.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I read The Metamorphosis for the third of fourth time while reading this collection and it still blows me miles away. The absolute horror and poignancy and multiple angles of interpretation are just brilliant. It’s possible this is the best short story every written. The other stories also drip with agony and imagination. Kafka's pain over his strained relationship with his father gave us these beautiful and important pieces and oh, how lucky we are.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emanuel

    Os que me faltavam ler : A Hybrid - 2⭐ A Message from the Emperor - 2⭐ On Metaphors - 3⭐ A Commentary - 3⭐ A Little Fable - 3⭐

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

    Aside from the introduction by Anne Rice, which should be skipped, this is a good collection and great introduction to Kafka. "The Metamorphosis," "In the Penal Colony," and "The Judgment" are worth it alone. But Schocken includes three collections of short stories in this volume, all of them filled with amazing moments. "A Hunger Artist" might be my favorite, but there are many others that left me a little in awe of Kafka's abilities. Reading Franz isn't particularly difficult, at least not most Aside from the introduction by Anne Rice, which should be skipped, this is a good collection and great introduction to Kafka. "The Metamorphosis," "In the Penal Colony," and "The Judgment" are worth it alone. But Schocken includes three collections of short stories in this volume, all of them filled with amazing moments. "A Hunger Artist" might be my favorite, but there are many others that left me a little in awe of Kafka's abilities. Reading Franz isn't particularly difficult, at least not most of the time, but it is mind-bending. Enjoying this book requires a reader who wants to ask questions and think out loud. Like when reading "The Metamorphosis" you might wonder, "Why would anyone react to this situation the way Gregor does?" Just asking that question opens the story up in a lot of ways and I think Kafka expected people to have strong reactions. Passive reading won't get you very far, especially in some of the shorter stories where layer upon layer of ideas are operating all at once. Kafka has an awesome way of writing off the page, meaning that what you don't read can be as important as what you do read. If Kafka fails to tell you something, or if the way he writes seems to ignore something obvious, that's probably a clue to dig deeper and think about why he'd do that. The only reason I gave this four stars is because I'm a little uncertain of the translation by the Muirs. It yields some beautiful and exciting prose, but it is also clumsy and a little too tightly packed in places. See "Josephine the Singer" for an example of what I mean. Considering Kafka's prose is at least clearer in other stories, I'm assuming that this muddled effect is the result of a muddled translation. All in all, definitely recommended. Be prepared to work for the reward though. You can't just fly through these in an afternoon, and repeat readings definitely help.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Well, let's just say I much prefer Kafka's short fiction - I connected with this a lot more than with The Trial. Now that I've read a bit more of his writing, I really feel that people over-analyse Kafka: they read meaning and metaphor and parable in everything. To me, The Metamorphosis reads like a straightforward account of a fantastical situation. This is simply a writer who gets pleasure out of imagination and exploration. He asks the question, "I wonder what would happen if one day I woke u Well, let's just say I much prefer Kafka's short fiction - I connected with this a lot more than with The Trial. Now that I've read a bit more of his writing, I really feel that people over-analyse Kafka: they read meaning and metaphor and parable in everything. To me, The Metamorphosis reads like a straightforward account of a fantastical situation. This is simply a writer who gets pleasure out of imagination and exploration. He asks the question, "I wonder what would happen if one day I woke up as an insect?", and he allows his pen to elaborate the answer. Of course the question itself (not to mention the nature of the characters' reactions) undeniably reveals something about Kafka's nature - his anxieties and fears, his feelings of alienation and inadequacy which were motivated by his relationship with his father - these all come through in the writing. But I just don't think Kafka intended for these stories to be deep parables or explorations of these themes: the guy just enjoyed writing about weird shit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alok Mishra

    Weird... to say the least. Kafka certainly is an enigma! His short stories are sometimes short and sometimes almost a novella! However, one thing remains constant irrespective of the length and that is the indifference - the storyteller does not care whether a reader would 'mind that' or not; he just goes on exploring the inner layers of human personalities and that's what helps Kafka stand out!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sean Blake

    Wow, what an incredible selection of satirical, philosophical and existential stories by Franz Kafka. Unbelievable insight into the human condition, with great humour and philosophical depth. This is certainly due a re-read, each year. Genius writing and even more genius imagination. Quite possibly the greatest short story collection you'll ever read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    rahul

    Changing the rating to five stars. Because this book had an excellent introduction. And it is no easy job to introduce Kafka. And how do you make an introduction to Kafka excellent, by including his short stories in there. ( Point in case. Before the law and the Emperor's message ) All hail Kafka.

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