Book Club 23: Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka)

Posted on April 13, 2013


Next time you say ‘FML’, remember Gregor Samsa.

Metamorphosis (Franza Kafka, pb.1915)

As far as novellas go, this one has got a pretty darn good reputation. Kafka himself is pretty lauded, but this is the one that gets school courses based on it. And for good reason. It follows the story of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman living with his family. Somehow, it is never explained how, he is transformed into some form of disgusting vermin. The type of vermin is never officially disclosed, although towards the end of the book the cleaning lady does make reference to a dung beetle, so it is this shape that has been assumed by most since. The book follows Gregor and his family dealing with the transformation and Gregors slow march to death.

For me, the book deals is mostly about appreciation, or lack there of. Gregor alludes many times through the book to not really making the most of things or loving them whilst in his original form. The most famous of these is of course his sister playing the violin towards the end. You could definitely think that the book is about the human fear of change, or more of wanting to change and then feeling nostalgia for the past. All of this could be relevant.

It’s a fantastic read, above all. Although it becomes quickly obvious that Gregors situation as a bug is untenable, you still want things to be okay throughout, and of course you feel for his family. Top work Franz.

I give this book an austerity thwarting eight point six out of a potential ten.