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The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  25,578 ratings  ·  926 reviews
This collection of new translations brings together the small proportion of Kafka’s works that he thought worthy of publication. It includes Metamorphosis, his most famous work, an exploration of horrific transformation and alienation; Meditation, a collection of his earlier studies; The Judgement, written in a single night of frenzied creativity; The Stoker, the first cha ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 14th 2009 by Schocken Books (first published 1915)
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Dolors
Jun 26, 2013 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you are no vermin
Recommended to Dolors by: dear Professor Weinstein
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
...more
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
...more
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.
...more
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
...more
Greg
Maybe could be titled Metaphor. When one starts to bug one's parents, it's time to move out.

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
...more
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
...more
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 ...more
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
...more
Jonathan

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
...more
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
...more
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 ...more
Mary
Nov 11, 2012 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: Mark
Shelves: fiction, 2012
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.
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
...more
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.
Chris
For no particular reason, Kafka is one of the reknowned writers that I have managed to not only not read (although I had vague memories of having read "In the Penal Colony" in high school), but also have learned little about. Of course, I have heard a number of writers, novels and films described as Kafkaesque.

What I found remarkable about reading his work is how un-Kafkaesque it is. I suppose it is much like Orwell not always being "Orwellian." I couldn't think of anything else that seemed to h
...more
Rose
A difficult book to rate because some stories I loved, a couple I didn't care for & one bored me stupid. The Metamorphosis was by far my favorite in this collection of stories. I give that one 5 stars. I haven't read anything so humorous & sad in such equal measures in a long time. I read it in just a few minutes because I just had to find out what happened in the end & when I finished the book I went back & read The Metamorphosis again. I'd never read Kafka before though I'd cer ...more
Emir Never
*Thank you Doc Ranee for lending me this book!*

This copy is composed of two separate stories: Metamorphosis and The Judgement .

First, The Judgement. A tale of a man who is set to marry, and asks his father, who appears to be senile, about telling his friend, from whom he have kept the news of his marriage and much of his life status, about the matrimonial news. There follows verbal exchanges from father and son, with the father dominating, and ending with the father pronouncing The Judgement
...more
Poet Gentleness
Jul 22, 2013 Poet Gentleness rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Poet Gentleness by: EF in Reims, France, 1989
Gregor is a bug because he’s abused, so transforms into his real form. He’s the perfect employee but does so to provide for his lazy family and sister’s dream. He doesn’t have time for love, only work.
His family’s relationship is all a fiction that shatters as he metamorphoses.
The bug isn’t behaving as human anymore. He needs rotten food and crawling, however his human spirit craves contact, hope, love.
The infirm begs to die because he’s a fine wound. For the doctor, he’s healthy because he hasn
...more
Simon
In reading this I have strayed quite far outside of my usual comfort zone. But what attracted me to Kafka is that he apparently wrote about the horror of the human condition and that his stories were are often quite surreal and weird. I found all this to be quite true.

It would seem that his stories are often metaphorically alluding to something else but I haven't felt compelled to dwell on that aspect too deeply, enjoying the stories for their strangeness and humour, their full meaning often all
...more
Pooya Kiani
کاری به سایر داستانها ندارم، مسخ بینظیره. بینظیر و باز هم بینظیر.

بار سوم بود میخوندمش و هر بار میبینم چهقدر بزرگتر از سواد منه.
...more
Velvetink
Just got the Barnes & Noble 2003 edition for my daughter.Wonder why I cannot add that edition to my shelves as well. Annoying.




Ok well apart from Metamorphosis (which is brilliant), I'm not that impressed. Several of the stories are basically just a paragraph or two...mere observations...well done, but ho hum. The Stoker was interesting and leaves you hanging wanting more. I actually really preferred reading the Introduction by Michael Hofmann who translated this edition.
Joseph D'Lacey
Kafka is mindblowing. I wish I could have met him. In this collection is a story titled 'In the Penal Colony' - one of the most horrific tales I've ever read. I salute your spirit, Mr. Kafka!
Sarah
4.5/5

Finally I read "The Metamorphosis, The Judgment, The Penal Colony". They're the reason why I bought this collection.

Before I got this I did my best to avoid anything written about Kafka and his works; cause I wanted to enjoy reading them and have my mind blown away, which have been achieved Wonderfully. I just enjoyed reading those 3 stories like I never thought I would. They just drill themselves in your mind and under your skin in a very peculiar way. which is AMAZING !

The best this abo
...more
Doreen
I'd never read any Kafka before, but the concept that his writing lends his name to is impossible to avoid in modern culture. I did find the title story to be one of the best in the bunch (and I found the ending satisfying,) though I thought his breakthrough story, The Judgment, to be incredibly silly. The stories I enjoyed otherwise were In The Penal Colony, A Hunger Artist and Josephine. The very short pieces I found delightfully (if that word can be used to describe Kafka) atmospheric. Overal ...more
Nathan
Goodreads asks, "What did you think?"

Well, I thought a lot. Mostly they were not happy thoughts and a bunch of them were about how I've failed (despite trying so hard!) to get my health insurance company to send my bill to the right address. This book is brilliant though, especially The Metamorphosis.
Antonomasia
Vintage edition, translated by Willa & Edwin Muir, introduction by Adam Thirlwell
Or Kafka's Animal Stories plus a couple of others.

[3.5]
A pedant writes...

In most of these stories there were small continuity errors, some of which could conceivably have been due to word choices in translation. (I read this old translation – which in the twentieth century was the one used in Penguin Twentieth Century Classics - for sentimental reasons and didn't compare it with others as I usually do.) There we
...more
Nina Rapsodia
May 10, 2015 Nina Rapsodia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Los que les gusta la buena literatura
Recommended to Nina by: El mundo
Shelves: 2014, favoritos
4.5

Ediciones de libros como este no traen sinopsis. Son ediciones que se hacen especialmente para la edición impresa de algún periódico o revista (supongo que como regalo). O al menos eso parece. Este por ejemplo estaba envuelto en plástico nuevo y en tapa dura. Lo compré baratísimo junto a otros clásicos de la literatura universal en la feria del libro el año pasado. Mi historia con este libro es algo larga, ya que lo tenía que leer el año pasado para clase de literatura pero no lo conseguí a
...more
Ami
Mar 20, 2012 Ami rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Interesting set of psychological thrillers. Anne Rice's foreword proclaims them "the first horror stories", but if that's true, they're certainly not the blood & gore type of horror stories. The premises are dark twists on reality, but the (re)actions of the characters are real enough to be the scary part.

From reading some of the other stories in the book (namely "In the Penal Colony", "Conversations with the Supplicant", "The Hunger Artist", and some pieces from the collection of "Meditati
...more
Virginia
My mentor always referenced this story in the Intro course I TA'd in, using it as an example of the necessary confidence any fiction must exude. He'd say that first sentence, "When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous insect."

As a reader, you don't take the time to question the validity of this observation. It's stated in such a way that you buy it, and you go on. Gregor Samsa is a monstrous insect. Fine. Now, what?

You wan
...more
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Franz Kafka (German pronunciation: [ˈfʀants ˈkafka]) was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (presently the Czech Republic), Austria–Hungary. His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered to be among the most influential in Western lite ...more
More about Franz Kafka...
The Metamorphosis The Trial The Castle The Complete Stories The Metamorphosis, in the Penal Colony and Other Stories: The Great Short Works of Franz Kafka

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“What am I doing here in this endless winter?” 152 likes
“And so gentlemen, I learned. Oh, if you have to learn, you learn; if you’re desperate for a way out, you learn; you learn pitilessly. You stand over yourself with a whip in your hand; if there’s the least resistance, you lash yourself.” 28 likes
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