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Franz Kafka it has to be admitted has become a much read author, much more so since his death than in his own lifetime, and has been highly influential on a number of other authors. This particular novella although published in 1915 was actually written in 1912 and is nowadays widely regarded as a masterpiece and a seminal piece of work, and quite rightly so.

We meet here Gregor Samsa, a normal male who has to work to keep his parents and sister in their home and with enough provisions to live. But for Gregor his life is about to change in a dramatic way. As he awakes one morning Gregor feels that something is slightly wrong, as he tries to get out of bed, and he soon realises that this isn’t a hallucination or a half dream, but all too real, for he has transformed into a bug. To all intents and purposes Gregor has become what can only be described as some type of beetle. And so this story begins, with a surreal idea that it has to be admitted is quite absurd, but in Kafka’s hands this becomes much more.

As we read of Gregor’s misfortune (to put it kindly) Kafka digs into the human psyche showing us how Gregor was and felt compared to his new self. We see the effect that this change in him affects his family, and how they have to both adapt and come to terms with the new Gregor. Kafka makes us dwell and think upon intolerance, the ideas of bigotry and coming to terms with illness and unforeseen circumstances, and shows us how a family adapts to problems. Ironically and very sadly Kafka unknowingly saw the future, where fellow Jews had to act like Gregor if they were lucky enough to be hidden from the Nazis.

So, what starts off as a fantasy as such takes us into a very deep and dark place, where Gregor and his family have to cope with new circumstances, and how this can lead to resentment and neglect. I will admit that I have never tired of reading this story, as it is just so thought provoking and you can find so many subtexts to the plot. Although perhaps a bit short for reading groups it has to be admitted that there is a lot to discuss here if you were to decide to pick it.
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on 2 November 2016
This was one of those books that I always meant to read, and now I finally have I understand the importance of Kafka's canonical piece of fiction.

The protagonist, Gregor awakes as a huge cockroach like creature, and he is shamed and disgusted by his 'awakening' and although there is no explanation as to why he is transformed. I'm going out on a tangent, but as he spends his isolation contemplating his previous existence I took the story in a similar vein to palahniuk's fight club, in that although he has completely lost his previous existence, slowly he adapts and begins to amuse himself in his new state. And like any bad change in circumstances, you find out who really cares.

I loved the use of language, and would recommend you don't wait as long as I did to read about Gregor ;)
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on 12 November 2016
An easy yet insightful read, it'll take you less than a day to get through! Gregor wakes up one day and finds that he's a giant beetle. At first, although shocked by the transformation, his family (especially his sister) tries to be acommodating. However, Gregor's inability to communicate with them creates clear barriers between them, and as the family becomes less and less convinced Gregor still has his human mind, their once understanding feelings towards this unwanted surprise undergo their own metamorphosis...

A frank and often uncomfortable look into the psychology behind appearances, Kafka has undeniably hit a gold-mine of discussion points for the reader to ponder over once they close the book. "Were the family in the right?" "Was Gregor a lost cause?" "Can a sudden change in circumstances ruin family harmony?" "How would I survive if I woke up as an insect??" are just a few. Although translated from German, it's not distracting, and having taken an afternoon to read this mini-novella, you can be sure you'll never look at people (or beetles!) in the same way again. ;)
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on 18 April 2017
I received- as promised- the infamous novel by Kafka.Would definitely recommend to read, since it's at a price you really can't beat (free). The fact that it is only 45 pages made it really convenient as I usually can't finish very long books due to a lack of free time and attention span. It's also a great addition to any philosophical discussions you may want to have!
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on 21 September 2017
Read this in my early years, because it was deemed a classic. read it again last week and now, approaching my 70s, cannot see what the fuss is about. there is no development of the situation in truth. The family are not happy with the transformation and in that respect little changes. It may well be an allegory but it certainly is an overextended one.
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on 15 March 2017
A weird and wonderful account of a man who changed into a beetle. I can see now what Kafkaesque means.
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on 12 March 2017
I've been reading and digesting Franz Kafka for 20 plus years. This edition Wisehouse Classics, although Free I rate as good transition that brings the story to life.
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on 3 June 2016
Not one for those screamish of creep crawlies, but a very good analogy of how sudden disability can put a strain on even close family relationships and bonds. One to read with the lights on and rolled up newspaper at the ready though...
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on 3 March 2016
Very interesting and easy read. Gives an insight to metamorphosis and how humans react to it, also it is a good book to read for Modernism.
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on 14 July 2017
A great story, bringing to light a lot of difficult questions, but not without the lightest touch of humour - and humanity.
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