The Metamorphosis (1915)

The Metamorphosis Book Review………………………………………………………………..

The Metamorphosis Book Review

The Metamorphosis is a 1915 German novella written by Franz Kafka. It is a famous story that truly is such a magnificent, very sophisticated work.

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I cannot make you understand.

I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me.

I cannot even explain it to myself.

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The Metamorphosis Book Review………………………………………………………………..

It is about Gregor Samsa who wakes up to find himself transformed into a large insect-like creature. It follows his attempts to adjust to his new condition as well as the reactions of his family. Now the story here is fascinating in its naively simplistic premise that, as it unfolds, reveals its deep themes and ideas. In fact, when you think about, it is actually such a clever book that is both realistic and absurd as well as entertaining and thematically rich.

I love the fact that we never really learn the cause of Gregor’s transformation as the reactions, both his and of his family, are more important. That part of the book, supernatural, is really well handled and more vague and mysterious than revealing which was a good choice in this case.

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The Metamorphosis Book Review………………………………………………………………..

Now the characters are pretty memorable and very well developed for its short length. And I just love how they interacted. To me, The Metamorphosis is very realistic as it showcases the man’s fear of the unknown and prejudices beautifully while, in a heartbreaking fashion, showing us how the family, especially in that time, only thought about their duties and image and that came first. The ending is so heartbreaking and yet thoughtful that it really had a deep impact on me. They basically killed him and showed no real remorse, but rather relief. And the fact that he cared for them and worked for the entire family and was apparently such a great man only further elongates the impact of this tragedy.

The Metamorphosis isn’t perfect as honestly some of those middle passages felt like a detour and possibly even filler as they moved away from the story and certainly did not add any new important layers. But apart from that, it is an almost perfect novella which is not only immaculately constructed and mostly phenomenally paced, but it is also beautifully written by Kafka who managed to write even those incredibly long sentences in an involving and concise manner. I really liked his style and he really knew how to accentuate the more important lines for dramatic effect.

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The Metamorphosis Book Review………………………………………………………………..

So it is about the duties of family, but it is also very absurdist and it should be regarded as a literary treasure as it is such a weird, pleasantly so, story that seemed out of place in the time that it was written. Groundbreaking in a way. I loved its attention to detail as it stayed pretty vague in the description of the creature that Gregor has become, but it still manages to wonderfully convey his feelings of alienation as well as him adapting to the new condition. His climbing on the wall as well as the food he ate was all fascinating to read. But the reactions of his sister and of course mother and father were all so grounded in reality, all different, yet essentially the same. It is such an emotional book that you can just feel the protagonist’s pain. It was almost palpable and it had a profound effect on me. It is a story that is fantastical, yet very applicable to a number of real-life situations and is especially true in the depiction of family and its interactions and duties.

The Metamorphosis is not only such a well written story with a great structure, but it is incredibly emotional and sometimes even genuinely heartbreaking with a thematically rich storyline, realistic characters and a fantastical, yet very relatable situation. It perfectly conveyed the protagonist’s feelings while consistently delivering from the other characters as well. A masterpiece.

My Rating – 4.7

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