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The Metamorphosis Edition: First Paperback – 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 194 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2010
£13.14 £15.81

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453638989
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453638989
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was a surprise for me. I had never read Kafka even though it was recommended to me a lot of times, so I didn't know what to expect. Now I'm looking forward to reading his other works. This book is a little gem of insight into human behaviour, presented in a metaphor of alienation, like a darker version of one of Aesop's Fables.

One man wakes up one day and discovers he has turned into an insect. At first he can't quite come to terms with his new condition, and tries to ignore it and live his life the way he always has. Inevitably, the circumstances force him to change the way he acts, and unsure of how to react towards himself and his condition, he turns to his family, to whom he dedicates his life, for a reaction.

And this is where it becomes interesting. Their reactions seem, at the surface, understandable, even justified, but later reveal themselves to be selfish, self-centered and extremely cruel and unfair. It's easy to create a parallel between Gregor Samsa and anyone who has found him or herself alienated from society - be it a homeless person, or an old person confined to the bed by an illness... All the little actions, like talking without bothering to see if the "alien" understands it or not, the ill-disguised disgust, the forgetting of everything that person might have done for others, the wallowing in self-pity because they have to put up with that person, are perceived in all their cruelty.

It was also interesting to see how it was Gregor's transformation that turned his family, previously completely dependent upon him and unable to think of themselves as capable of providing for their own survival, into pro-active beings full of plans for the future. An ironic, and utterly sad metamorphosis indeed.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is more difficult to review than Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis' as it is fragmented and incomplete, though, strangely, Kafka gave it an ending. In fact, everything is strange about the book, which is Kafka's intention - it's clear that he wants the reader to feel as disoriented as the 'hero' Josef K, a successful senior bank official who wakes up one morning to find his lodgings invaded by secretive policeman, come to inform him he is being arraigned for trial for some nameless crime.

We never get to a trial as such, only a sort of preliminary hearing. The court and all its officials are housed in a tenement block in a poor part of town, where living quarters and offices of court are merged into one another or linked by mysterious corridors, some of which seem to open up unexpectedly, like a darker version of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. At K's office, too, bizarre scenes and exchanges take place at the opening of a door. It all contributes to a sense that nothing is quite what it seems, and everything is menace. We can't even be sure of K; all we know about him is by his own reckoning, and although he is, in the early stages of the book, very pleased with himself there are hints of character traits which are very unpleasant, not least his lecherous and vaguely misogynistic attitude to women.

The power of the novel comes from K's growing obsession and sense of foreboding about the trial. We see him gradually disintegrate before us. The more he seeks to know the less he knows. The characters around him seem at once to know everything and nothing. The threat is claustrophobic and, like his supposed crime, nameless. The ending that Kafka gives us is ritualised and solemn - perhaps in the way that executions are universally, whether they be labelled 'legitimate' or 'illegitimate'. The symbolism is political, but the shiver is deeply and unforgettably personal.

Reviewer David Wiliams writes a regular blog Writer in the North.
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Format: Paperback
The Trial is probably Kafka is his purest form. The one book that finds each of his principal concerns in full tilt, as he layers his story of horrified paranoia and personal confusion alongside elements of personal metaphor, aspects of social and political allegory, and some of the most atmospheric use of writing I’ve ever experienced. The plot is labyrinthine to say the least, with Kafka creating a mood from the outset that will leave the reader as confused and afraid as our protagonist Josef K, before sending him (and, through the writer’s use of a subject narrative, ourselves) down into a free-falling spiral, as conflicting clues and evidence build up against us to further incriminate both the central character (and the reader) in a crime we cannot comprehend.
If this sounds confusing... (well) it is. Kafka keeps large chunks of the plot a secret for as long as he can, making the reader work all the more to decipher the clues that he weaves between the arcane descriptions and densely layered symbolism that is injected into every sentence that we read. Never at any point in time does Kafka allow us to gain more information than K. instead making us work just as hard to find out what is going on in this diabolical world of autocracy and mistrust. Anyone who has seen Orson Welles’ adaptation of the book (or for that matter, Terry Gilliam’s cult classic Brazil) will have a visual template for the kind of world that the writer suggest through his use of words and the imagery they create.
The narrative is purposely multi-layered and features moments of both horror and tension, but also has a strong streak of darkly comic absurdity and the kind of social surrealism that people like Buñuel and Greenaway do so well...
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