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The Transformation and Other Stories: Works Published During Kafka's Lifetime

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  32,401 Ratings  ·  1,120 Reviews
One of the few great and perfect works of poetic imagination written during this century - Elias Canetti on The Transformation

A companion volume to The Great Wall of China and Other Short Works, these new translations bring together the small number of Kafka's stories that he thought worthy of publication.

This volume contains his most famous story. The Transformation, more
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Paperback, 236 pages
Published March 1st 1992 by Penguin Books Limited (first published 1915)
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Dolors
Jun 26, 2013 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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Dave Maddock
Jul 17, 2009 Dave Maddock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-story
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
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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.
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Matthias


The Metaphormosis - a tiny tale


The field lay sparkling in the sun. The cold night had covered it with a white blanket which the grass was now reluctant to shed. The distant sun did not mind the ground’s slumber. It gazed benevolently down to the field and saw shimmers of its big bright self reflected in the small flakes that had bundled together into an untouched canvas of astonishing whiteness. Everything was still. Birds flew over in silence, forest creatures stayed under the trees and dared
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Gypsy
Dec 08, 2015 Gypsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

واقعاً مسخکننده بود. تو هر پنجداستان، قدم بهقدم وارد لایههای زیر داستان میشیم. کلماتـو بذارین کنار و از ورای پردهشون، هنرنمایی نویسنده رو ببینین. اینمجموعه پُر از نماده. بهتر بگم، نشانه؛ چون بخش اعظمی رو نویسنده برای خوانندهش تشریح میکنه و ما فقط باید اینا رو کنار هم قرار بدیم تا زیر پوستهی ظاهری داستان، جوهره و هستهی قدرتمند و تأمل برانگیزشو ببینیم، لمس و درک کنیم. واقعاً خوندنش برام خوب بود. یهجورایی افسوس خوردم که چرا اینقد دیر سراغ کافکا رفتم.
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Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈

Read a book originally written in a different language.

Finally writing a review of this thing that I really don't wanna write. Because I'm really being generous with two stars because I really hated reading this thing. Probably why I read it in February and only now posting a review, because I feel like an asshole slamming a piece of world literature that has been read so many times by so many people, is taught in classrooms around the world, and has a lot of things to say. Oh well, I plead the
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Lamski Kikita
Jan 02, 2010 Lamski Kikita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Greg
Aug 14, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe could be titled Metaphor. When one starts to bug one's parents, it's time to move out.

Brian
I didn’t want to like Kafka. When I first heard of him, I classified him as one of those writers people like so they can have some self-validation about their intelligence, like an association with college professors of something. I decided to try Kafka after a Breaking Bad episode entitled “Kafkaesque.” A humorous moment in the episode shows one of the main characters, a recovering meth addict and dealer, talking in a street-slang vernacular and saying something to his partner like, “You would ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 02, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Shiela
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
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El Marcapaginas
Jun 17, 2016 El Marcapaginas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mi-biblioteca
La metamorfosis es una novela corta inquietante, seductora. Me ha sorprendido el estilo de Kafka, es muy dinámico y te mantiene en tensión de una manera magistral. Como novela perfecta, a pesar del drama que sufre Gregor me he reído bastante y el mensaje es desesperanzador sin embargo los cuentos que le acompañan ya son otra cosa. Podemos leer un montón de cuentos sobre bichos en los que se encuentran joyitas como El Buitre y otros que pasan desapercibidos. De lectura obligada, además se leen ra ...more
Chris
Jan 04, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sonia
Jun 09, 2011 Sonia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have, e-book
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
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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
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
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Nina Rapsodia
Jan 17, 2016 Nina Rapsodia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Los que les gusta la buena literatura
Recommended to Nina by: El mundo
Shelves: favorites, best-2014
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
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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
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
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Mary
Nov 11, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Orient
Jul 07, 2016 Orient rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: little creepy monsters in your head
My first date with F. Kafka and his gothic tales was in my school years. The impression, it gave me, is the same - a negative and pessimistic picture of the world: black color gives the tone for almost everything and if there is a ray of hope, it is short-lived, because it is swallowed by the dark night.

Despair rules the stories, because everything seems pointless. The thing that surprised me at first is that it is really simple to read Kafka’s stories. There aren’t any long and boring descript
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Lucas
Dec 23, 2012 Lucas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sean Wilson
Wow, what a selection of satirical, philosophical and existential stories by Kafka. Unbelievable insight into the human condition, with great humour and philosophical depth. Franz Kafka is such a unique writer, following the existential path that Dostoyevsky laid out, but only much more surreal and haunting. The Metamorphosis is the ultimate piece of alienation literature, and Investigations of a Dog is a fantastic satire on philosophical thought, whilst being very truthful in its words.

Genius w
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rahul
Sep 14, 2013 rahul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Joseph D'Lacey
Dec 04, 2009 Joseph D'Lacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Rose
Feb 25, 2012 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah
Jul 10, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 thing ab
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Poet Gentleness
Jul 22, 2013 Poet Gentleness rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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Simon
Mar 24, 2012 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
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Pooya Kiani
Jun 15, 2015 Pooya Kiani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Velvetink
Feb 09, 2012 Velvetink rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2009
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.
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Goodreads Librari...: Add cover photo 5 20 Jul 13, 2016 01:24PM  
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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
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“What am I doing here in this endless winter?” 171 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.” 32 likes
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