Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Collected Stories” as Want to Read:
Collected Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Collected Stories

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  19,278 Ratings  ·  440 Reviews
Kafka was an obsessive writer who produced a huge volume of stories, novels, diaries and letters in his brief lifetime. The present volume includes all his available shorter fiction in a new collection edited and introduced by Gabriel Josipovici. The stories, which range from tiny fragments to substantial narratives, have been arranged both to illuminate one another and to ...more
Hardcover, Everyman's Library, #145
Published September 16th 1993 by Everyman (first published 1946)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Collected Stories, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Collected Stories

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ben Winch
The idea that there exists such thing as a 'must read' book is one of the great fallacies diluting literature. To judge a reader unfavourably because a certain book is not on his or her shelf, rather than to praise and learn from the idiosyncratic choices to be found there instead, is to wish for a literature of bland homogenity. To label a book 'must read' is to condemn it to being misunderstood. And when that book is by the strange, reclusive, haunted black-humourist Franz Kafka, and is given ...more
Franco  Santos
Mar 12, 2016 Franco Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Algo que me encanta de las obras de Kafka es que obligan a sus lectores a crear sus propios pensamientos, no llenan como carcasas vacías sus cráneos con ideas del autor. El entendimiento no llega de manera explícita, sino que debe pasar por una espinosa actividad cerebral y, merced a eso, forma pensadores en vez de conocedores. Con esto quiero decir que el lector comprende la obra hasta donde su nivel de razonamiento le permite, y no solo eso, sino que asimismo el lector puede tener una interpre ...more
Aug 19, 2007 Seth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, at least a little
Buy a good collection of Kafka's stories and put it in the bathroom.


If you've been led to believe that Kafka wrote drab stories about alienation and angst (and that The Metamorphosis is a tradgedy), then take a magic marker, cross out the name on the spine, and pretend it's a weird book by Dave Sedaris or something. Kafka's stories are smart, often funny, quick to read, and as modern and relevant as ever.

In the bathroom you'll probably bypass the larger works (including The Metamorphosis
Feb 23, 2014 Florencia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it's a little mistake to judge Kafka considering only "The Metamorphosis". There's a whole different view on things in some of his stories. You're not going to find a nice, warm, fuzzy, Care Bear kind of book (that line made sense in my mind). But some of his stories do show another side of him. I personally like the psychological twisted, complicated, claustrophobic and absurd ones with a weird sense of humor (yes, he can be funny) and infinite interpretations. But that's just me.

I like
Probably most readable, rhythmic and rounded among these tales, so much so that I forced my brother to listen to me reading it aloud to him, is The Great Wall of China, which contains the immortal parable of the messenger.

Kafka's tales are oblique, frequently, I think, resisting reading in terms of established philosophical or ideological positions. Their psychological resonance is immense, even when it's difficult to pin a definitive meaning to the action, to divine the motivations of the chara
Aug 19, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who want to know the world in its noisy entirety
Recommended to John by: first, probably a teacher
The recent so-called scandalous revelations about Kafka's personal library (as if -- turns out he read a slightly edgy quarterly of arts & literature) prompt me to say something about his work. For my Goodreads list, I suppose it must be this book, an inevitable choice but nonetheless indispensable (I should add, too, that I can't really specify when I read the COLLECTED STORIES; I began doing so in the 1960's & never stopped). To read Kafka is to be carried away by the imagination of th ...more
Kafka placed his own stories in a specific canon, included in the previous book I reviewed, called “The Metamorphosis and Other Stories.” I agree with Kafka. Those stories stand out among the rest. However, reading all of his shorts gave me no less pleasure. I liked his shorter stories most, as they packed meaning and depth into a small speck, like the small matter scientists say blew up into the Universe. I love the way Kafka describes settings. I love the way he makes me feel. Two stories I c ...more
Hussein Dehghani
Jul 14, 2016 Hussein Dehghani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: داستان
این کتاب همه داستان ها و دستنوشته های کافکا به جز 3 رمان او را شامل می شود .
کلا خیلی اضطراب اور و مشوش کننده است داستانهاش . بعد از خوندنشون ادم هنوز ذهنش درگیر و مشوش هست .
راستش من از خیلی از داستانهاش سر در نمی اوردم و بعضی هاش هم که نصفه بود ....... ظاهرا اکثر کارهای کافکا نیمه کاره بوده و وصیت کرده بوده بعد از مرگش نابود بشوند که دوستش به این وصیت عمل نمی کنه .
اما بعضی از داستان ها هم خیلی قشنگ بود . من خودم از داستان های کیفرگاه ، گزارشی به فرهنگستان ، گراکوس شکارگر و هنرمند گرسنگی خیلی خوش
Feb 02, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something about Kafka's writing that just pulls you in, ties you to the chair and makes you experience it - in all of its frustration, humor and sadness. When observed objectively, it is almost insane that we still read an author that only published a few completed short stories. Kafka ordered all of his work to be burned upon his early death at 41 - his executor and friend, Max Brod, sensed the unfulfilled genius in Kafka's work, and refused his friend's dying wish.

So I asked myself w
Sonia M
Aug 27, 2016 Sonia M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I can so relate to Kafka's heroes and their feelings while lost in a labyrinth of beaurocrats, illusions, false promises and people who despise, misunderstand or try to patronise them.
"Metamorphosis" is really heartbreaking, Gregor Samsa's family (view spoiler) Be normal or get lost. "In the Penal Colony" is rather a political study on law, order and their servants. They are so attached to the letter of the law (just or not)
Sep 27, 2007 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone born after 1880
Shelves: classic-fiction
Most people's exposure to Kafka consists entirely of "The Metamorphosis", which is a shame, for while that story is indeed a classic, it has led to a somewhat unfair pigeonholing of Kafka as a lonely, disillusioned Oedipal case with a penchant for bleak imagery (hence the adjective Kafkaesque). But while Kafka certainly is all of those things, he is also much more, and this collection is a brilliant portrait of that.

Some of the best moments in the collection come from Kafka letting out his playf
Jan 16, 2009 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: infinite-books
I can't believe I haven't rated this one yet. This is where you go to find Kafka, even more so than his unfinished novels. Though the Trial is magnificent, the short stories are where his genius is most evident. Depths and depths to plumb here. Leagues beyond most other writers.
May 07, 2014 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book months ago, but took a while to get back in the short-story groove :) Since I read these stories at various points, I'm only going to highlight my two personal favorites in this collection: METAMORPHOSIS, and THE PENAL COLONY. The first was one of those stories where you find yourself looking for an outcome that even YOU can't predict. As far as "staying power", this is one story that I don't think I'll ever forget. The second one, THE PENAL COLONY was a completely differen ...more
Jan 26, 2009 Cecily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every story is different, but each one takes you to a different world, or an alternative view of one we are in (and perhaps wish we weren't). Some are funny, some sad and many are both. Some are so short they are more like prose poems. Great for dipping into and getting a taste of Kafka before (and during and after) tackling his larger works.

See my Kafka-related bookshelf for other works by and about Kafka (
Jan 09, 2016 J.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Do you like Radiohead? This is the literary equivalent
A couple things:

I can't think of any other writer who had as much antipathy toward his own work as Kafka. As he was dying, he repeatedly and emphatically asked his friend Max Brod to destroy all of his stories. The knowledge of this naturally creates a kind of tragic grandeur to the work, the thought that he was never really satisfied or proud of what he'd produced, and that they all could have been lost. I wouldn't say that this destructive impulse was due to an excess of perfectionism, but rat
Ahmad Sharabiani
آلبرکامو مینویسد: «آثار فرانتس کافکا بایستی بارها خوانده شود»، کتابهای کافکا را میشود همه جور تفسیر کرد. آنچه بیشتر به دل مینشیند، این که این آثار ماهیت سمبولیک دارند. همه جا ترس و وحشت خود را مینمایاند، نویسنده ای مدرن، و امروزه دیگر به جمع کلاسیک ها پیوسته است
Jun 16, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Desde su primer libro de relatos, "Contemplación", pasando por "La Metamorfosis" y todos los relatos póstumos que legó el genio incomparable de Franz Kafka a la literatura universal, pueden leerse en este libro imprescindible que nos lleva a perdernos en los dilemas y laberintos, en las maravillosas paradojas kafkianas que disparan múltiples interpretaciones como si fueran rizomas. Imperdible
Shaimaa Ali
Nov 12, 2014 Shaimaa Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've entered Kafka's world & got lost in time & space .. Never wanted to get back to real life!
That's my true feeling after finishing this magnificent book. Started by two introductory parables & followed by his famous longer stories. It was my 3rd time reading "The Metamorphosis", admired: ( In the Penal Colony, a Country Doctor, A Report to an Academy, A Hunger Artist, Investigations of a Dog & The Burrow).

From the shorter stories: "The knock at the Manor Gate" reminded me of
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
Kafka's Complete Stories is the rare book to which I could give two stars or five. Beyond his writing, I love him for his humanity, his authenticity, and his painful incompatibility with the modern world. His attempts, however, to put all this in writing are unfortunately inconsistent, ranging from mesmerizing to incomplete "scribbling" as he referred to his own writing. As a reader I am repeatedly wishing beyond wishing that he had expanded, developed, and completed more of the stories and frag ...more

I read as much of it as I could comprehend/ connect with in high school and it mattered a great deal to me.

Years pass, and I still go back to it in difficult times for wisdom, perspective, and nourishment.

May 12, 2012 Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: made-ups
I have been overwhelmed with dread once or twice in my day, so for me this book works great.
Oct 07, 2008 Mr. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most authoritative collection of Kafka's immortal short fiction; it includes the most respected translations of each story (mostly by Willa and Edwin Muir), and a fair introduction from John Updike.

Kafka was the greatest writer of short fiction of the modern era. Such stories as 'The Metamorphosis,' 'In the Penal Colony,' 'The Hunger Artist,' and 'The Great Wall of China' encapsulate the tyrannical, dehumanizing regimentation of the modern world. Kafka may be difficult to read, and
Apr 08, 2013 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it possible that the complete works of anybody ever are going to be amazing? That every product they have assembled - finished or not - when compiled, will be wall-to-wall (and without exaggeration) amazing? It's improbable enough to write one item of good material, but the entirety of one's life work to be impeccable and flawless and great? That's a notion of which I am highly skeptical, and it takes a lot of retroactive glorification, and a lot of assuming it is great beforehand, or somethi ...more
Complete incomplete stories--

Most of Kafka's stories are incomplete. That's not to say his works are bad or unsatisfactory--though there are many that simply tease and baffle--but just that: incomplete.

One thing I do need to own up is that most of his stories are not much fun to read. "Metamorphosis" is definitely really good; "In the Penal Colony" is fascinating; "A Hunger Artist" is poignant and superbly told; "The Judgment," though this was Kafka's personal favorite, is "all right" at best; a
Winter Sophia Rose
Complex, Deep & Insightful! An Inspiring Read! I Loved It!
Jul 06, 2015 Bbrown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the worlds that Kafka creates, cause and effect tend to have been tossed out the window. Actions and reactions don’t link together as neatly as we think they should, and when a connection does become apparent it’s often only in retrospect. In many of Kafka’s works the rules aren’t clear, and often are made even more opaque by the end of the story. By furthermore keeping references to the real world to a minimum in his work, Kafka severs our tether to reality and sets us adrift in what is some ...more
UPDATE 2/13/14: I have been thinking about Kafka and the way I reviewed this book a lot- his works definitely make you think- and have decided to change my rating. I want to say that Albert Camus' quote that the thing about Kafka is that he causes you to reread him is extremely true. As disappointed as I was by the writing of many of the stories, others, such as Metamorphosis, I really enjoyed, and even those I did not caused me to really think. I believe I have been bitten by the Kafka bug (Gr ...more
Stewart Mitchell
Sep 10, 2015 Stewart Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a day! What a lovely day!

Finally, it's over. It's done. I've read it. This book took me one YEAR to slog through. I've never taken that much time to read anything before (except Hemingway's short stories, but I'm savoring those). I hope I never take that long to read another book ever again.

Why did it take me so long? I'm usually such a fast reader. I blow through books, no matter how horrible they are (I'm looking at you, 1,000 page Stephen King novels). So what made this one different?

Foreword, by John Updike

Two Introductory Parables

--Before the Law
--An Imperial Message

The Longer Stories

--Description of a Struggle
--Wedding Preparations in the Country
--The Judgment
--The Metamorphosis
--In the Penal Colony
--The Village Schoolmaster [The Giant Mole]
--Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor
--The Warden of the Tomb
--A Country Doctor
--The Hunter Gracchus
--The Hunter Gracchus: A Fragment
--The Great Wall of China
--The News of the Building of the Wall: A Fragment
--A Report to an Academy
--A R
Anastasja Kostic
"Iskrckati orah to zaista nije umetnost, pa se stoga niko neće usuditi da sazove publiku i da pred njome krcka orahe da bi je zabavljao . Ali ako on to uprkos svemu učini, i ako mu namera pođe za rukom , onda posredi ne može biti samo obično krckanje oraha . Ili je, pak, posredi krckanje oraha, ali se primećuje da smo mi previđali tu veštinu, zato što smo njome vladali kao od šale, pa nam tek ovaj krcač oraha pokazuje njenu pravu suštinu, pri čemu bi onda za efekat čak moglo i biti korisno ako j ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Collected Fictions
  • The Complete Short Prose, 1929-1989
  • Selected Stories
  • Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
  • بوستان سعدی
  • Sixty Stories
  • Poems of Paul Celan
  • The Recognition of 'Sakuntala: A Play in Seven Acts
  • Tales of Hoffmann
  • The Marquise of O— and Other Stories
  • Collected Stories
  • Cosmicomics
  • The Collected Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov
  • In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and Other Stories
  • Romancero gitano
  • The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
  • The Street of Crocodiles
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...

Share This Book

“Just think how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.” 203 likes
“I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shop windows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant.” 39 likes
More quotes…