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The Meowmorphosis (Quirk Classics) Paperback – May 10, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Highly recommended for connoisseurs of the bizarre.”—Publishers Weekly

“Takes meta-fiction to dizzying new heights.”—The Huffington Post

About the Author

 
Franz Kafka is one of the 20th century's most influential authors. His novella "The Metamorphosis" and his novels The Trial and The Castle are regarded among the most original works of modern Western literature. Coleridge Cook, writing under a different name, is a beloved fantasy novelist and blogger as well as the winner of several prestigious literary awards.

 

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Product Details

  • Series: Quirk Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159474503X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594745034
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Anastasia Beaverhausen on March 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten."

In less capable hands, such a prompt would have resulted in a book that simply replaced the word "insect" with "kitten." But Quirk Books wisely commissioned an extremely capable fantasy writer to re-imagine Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis as a work of gonzo literature. I'm happy to report that "The Meowmorphosis" (published by "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies publisher" Quirk Books) is more than the one-note parody its early detractors feared.

While the initial chapters stick close to Kafka's well-known novella, the book spirals out of control (in a good way) when Samsa leaves his parents' home to relieve them of the burden of caring and feeding for such a large, adorable kitten. Samsa's adventure is both hilarious and horrifying to witness, and takes meta-fiction to dizzying new heights. The new co-writer absolutely nails Kafka's voice; the new passages integrate so well with the story that it's hard to believe the book isn't entirely written by one author.

Co-author Coleridge Cook (a pseudonym for an award-winning fantasy novelist) describes Samsa's feline behavior in detail, and not a page goes by in which a piece of furniture is not scratched or perched on. Bowls of milk are lapped at, and humans are snuggled with.

Will cat-lovers enjoy "The Meowmorphosis"? Yes -- there's no doubt in my mind that cat-lovers will find Samsa just as cute and cuddly as his sister does in the story. I'm a dog person, and even I was LOL-ing by the book's end.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Roberts VINE VOICE on March 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love these homages/ripoffs of classic literature. I started with Pride Prejudice and Zombies and have been keeping up with Quirk Classics' output ever since. I think Meowmorphosis would have to rank near the top of that genre.

First of all, it's pretty gutsy. Many of the books they've lampooned previously are classics with a long, classical pedigree, that've had film adaptations, miniseries, modernizations and bowlderizations aplenty. Taking something like Kafka's Metamorphosis, a book that's so much the province of deep thinkers, intellectuals and grad students, and putting in lolcat jokes is a move that's more than a little shocking.

And it works, on almost all levels. The book maintains the unsteady paranoia, that creepy feeling that what you're reading might just as well be a long hallucination as a description of actual events. The overall themes remain as well - the futility of modern work, man's disconnection from himself, being a stranger in your own family's house - but it is this very faithfulness to the source material that betrays the book from time to time.

The original Gregor was turned into a bug - this Gregor was turned into a kitten. At times, the book wants us to believe that kittens and bugs behave in almost exactly the same way, which just isn't so. This is most striking in the early part of his transformation, where Gregor is having difficulty getting to his feet. The scene plays out well in the original - "like a beetle on its back" is a common enough phrase for being greatly inconvenienced and unable to act - but with a kitten, it just doesn't make sense. And it's not as though the scene couldn't be rewritten to indicate that the problem wasn't one of anatomy, but rather one of a kittenish sleepiness.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Cromwell on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Meowmorphosis" starts with a potentially amusing idea, and then completely fails to develop it in any of the ways that would actually make it amusing. Coleridge Cook's modifications end up flat and boring in some places from too closely copying the original, and in other places they deviate so far from the spirit of Kafka that the entire work loses coherence. Cook makes it evident that he despises Kafka, and this disdain for his co-author inevitably ruins the book. What could have been exquisite in the hands of a skilled satirist ends up as a pathetic wreck after being mangled by Cook.

I borrowed this book from a friend after taking a glance at a few random passages. It seemed promising. I've read "The Metamorphosis" and generally like Kafka, but don't take him so seriously that I see him as above parody, or satirizing his works as sacrilege. So I went into "The Meowmorphosis" with a generally optimistic feeling that I might read something witty, something that would both lampoon Kafka as well as pay tribute to him. The experience was completely contrary to my expectations. About a third of the way into the book, I was disappointed with how boring and flat the parody was. Midway through it, I was frustrated and baffled by Cook's extensive deviations from the story, and put off by his insulting attitude towards Kafka. I only finished it by force of will.

Cook fails his task in different ways in different parts of the book. For the early and later parts of the book, the text closely follows a public domain translation of "The Metamorphosis" by Ian Johnston, with little more than the selective replacement of insect-related concepts with those appropriate to felines..
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