Book Review: Metamorphosis

Title: Metamorphosis

Author: Franz Kafka

Publisher: Fingerprint Classics (An Imprint of Prakash Books India Pvt. Ltd.)

…  cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the twentieth century. A story of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, who wakes up one day to discover that he has metamorphosed into a bug. The Metamorphosis is a book that concerns itself with the themes of alienation, disillusionment, and existentialism. …

Metamorphosis is a Novella by Franz Kafka. Based on a very stunning and unbelievable incidence of transformation  of a man into an insect, Metamorphosis is an insight into Kafka’s own life.

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About the Author

Franz Kafka- an icon of the 20th century, is one of the most important writers of the modern times. Known for his works on the themes of alienation, existentialism and absurdity, Kafka was a German– language Novelist and short story writer. Kafka presents his protagonists in surrealistic situations and then proceeds in a very realistic way. His works have influenced a number of people associated with literature.

Source of Picture: Internet

Ready to witness the process called metamorphosis?

Metamorphosis, literally means-

  1. Transformation of a larva into an adult
  2. A striking change in appearance, character or circumstances
  3. A complete change of physical form or substance especially as by magic or witchcraft

In this Novella, all three definitions are applicable. The story starts with our protagonist Gregor Samsa waking up in his bed to find himself metamorphosed into a bug. And it is no dream but all real.

You guys might be wondering how did that happen, the way I was. But we do not find any reason mentioned in the story. We don’t even have the details of the process of Metamorphosis, as one may expect from the title.

As I mentioned earlier, Kafka begins from a fantastical situation and moves towards realism from there. In this story, we see Gregor trying to cope up with his life as an insect. He has to live as an insect, the life which he had led as a travelling salesman. Though the story opens with an incomprehensible event, we still move forward with the story. We are curious to know how Gregor manages with his daily activities and if he is transformed again into a human.

We keep turning the pages with so many expectations. But those expectations, at least in my case, were left behind. We do see Gregor trying to adjust with his new life, but his family is seen making more adjustments than him. The plot, I feel, gets more focussed the way his family reacts to Gregor’s transformation,  while Gregor is presented simply as an onlooker. However, we do have moments when Gregor is shown creeping on the ceiling and doing the other insect things.

We also get to know about the troubles involved in the life of travelling salesman. Apart from that, we also view life from the perspective of a son trying to fulfill his duties. 

It is a sheer delight to read about all the changes that come into the lives of all the family members. The writing style is simple and lucid. The whole text lacks beautiful and decorative language. It seems to be written for a beginner in reading. However, I would like to read more works of Kafka. (Suggestions are welcome.)

I don’t think most readers will like this novella. One of the reasons for this may be the use of alienation effect, as the readers cannot relate with the main character. However, the author has written with deeper meanings, which the editor of the book has mentioned in the preface.

I would recommend this book to all those who are looking for something different. Also if someone wants to read the books with the use of literary devices like symbolism, existentialism, absurdity and alienation, then this one is for you. One out of every three readers will enjoy this.

My Rating: ****(3.5/5)

What do you think about this book? Have you read this or any other work by Kafka? Does this book remind you of any other book? Do share your views. Thanks.


Available for purchase on Amazon.in and Infibeam.

 

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One thought on “Book Review: Metamorphosis

  1. Pingback: Wrap Up: Jan- June โ€˜17 | Books N Me

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