As a preface to my review I would like to mention that I have been quite intrigued by Franz Kafka for many years, as he is a renowned and respected author, but I have not managed to get around to reading any of his writings until now. True story, I stumbled upon The Metamorphosis and Other Stories randomly when I was in Prague during my summer holidays this year. In fact, I bought this book at the Franz Kafka Bookstore (Knihkupectví Franze Kafky) in the heart of Prague. So I must confess that I had quite high expectations going into reading this anthology.
Although I was not disappointed by The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, I cannot say that I was overly impressed either. Kafka’s writing is not particularly sublime, nor does it ooze with literary finesse (at least the English translation I read doesn’t in my opinion). What left the deepest impression upon me was his creativity in conceptualizing imaginative stories (e.g., The Penal Colony and the eponymous Metamorphosis) and his distinct flare for anticlimactically ending stories without a happy ending or a profound denouement. His stories feel as if he talking to you casually in a cafe or restaurant, about random thoughts and inspirations that stream through his mind. Although, I would admit there are some thought-provoking insights which are embedded in several stories, which are worth further reflection. Case in point, the title story Metamorphosis. For me this is a story not so much about the physical metamorphosis of the protagonist, Gregor, from a man into an insect, but rather about how people around us change over time due to changes in circumstance. Gregor goes from being the main breadwinner of the family, doted on by his sister, mother and father, to a worthless non-grata dependent after his transformation. It is a tragic story cum social commentary on how Western Civilization treats people who are no longer useful to its’ ends. They are simply discarded, forgotten, hidden away, left to rot into oblivion. In summary, I think The Metamorphosis and Other Stories is worth reading if you are interested in exploring Franz Kafka’s writings. After reading this book, I remain curious to read more of Kafka’s work in the future!
Have you read The Metamorphosis and Other Stories? or any of Franz Kafka’s other works? What are your thougts after reading his writing? What do you find most intriguing about his literary work? Thanks as always for stopping by! Please feel free to share your thoughts or reactions in a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive more updates about my writing please consider joining my newsletter mailing list by subscribing below.