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The Metamorphosis: A New Translation by Susan Bernofsky Paperback – January 20, 2014
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From Publishers Weekly
Kuper has adapted short works by Kafka into comics before, but here he tackles the most famous one of all: the jet-black comedy that ensues after the luckless Gregor Samsa turns into a gigantic bug. The story loses a bit in translation (and the typeset text looks awkward in the context of Kuper's distinctly handmade drawings). A lot of the humor in the original comes from the way Kafka plays the story's absurdities absolutely deadpan, and the visuals oversell the joke, especially since Kuper draws all the human characters as broad caricatures. Even so, he works up a suitably creepy frisson, mostly thanks to his drawing style. Executed on scratchboard, it's a jittery, woodcut-inspired mass of sharp angles that owes a debt to both Frans Masereel (a Belgian woodcut artist who worked around Kafka's time) and MAD magazine's Will Elder. The knotty walls and floors of the Samsas' house look like they're about to dissolve into dust. In the book's best moments, Kuper lets his unerring design sense and command of visual shorthand carry the story. The jagged forms on the huge insect's belly are mirrored by folds in business clothes; thinking about the debt his parents owe his employer, Gregor imagines his insectoid body turning into money slipping through an hourglass. Every thing and person in this Metamorphosis seems silhouetted and carved, an effect that meshes neatly with Kafka's sense of nightmarish unreality.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Gregor Samsa wakes up and discovers he has been changed into a giant cockroach. Thus begins "The Metamorphosis," and Kuper translates this story masterfully with his scratchboard illustrations. The text is more spare, but the visuals are so strongly rendered that little of the original is changed or omitted. Though the story remains set in Kafka's time, Kuper has added some present-day touches, such as fast-food restaurants, that do not detract from the tale. He has used the medium creatively, employing unusual perspectives and panel shapes, and text that even crawls on the walls and ceilings, as Gregor does. The roach has an insect body but human facial expressions. Once he is pelted with the apple, readers can watch his rapid decline, as his body becomes more wizened and his face more gaunt. This is a faithful rendition rather than an illustrated abridgment.
Jamie Watson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
This book- and Kafka's whole catalog- are highly recommended.
The ending seemed a bit abrupt. It was too quick for my tastes.
The glimpses of chatacters were nice, but I think I would have liked a little more depth.
It was an interesting and short little story.
This book also include a short description of the book and biography of the author (from Wikipedia).
I'm really glad I finally did.
Pragmatically: it's a very short book, a very accessible story, with very clear prose.
Personally: I found this story to be both moving and uncomfortable in equal parts. It made me excited about shorter stories again, and I would be interested in reading more surrealism and/or Kafka due to the completely left-field premise of Metamorphosis.
Don't give this to your children to read -- it could induce quite severe nightmares! Do read this, even if you're an arachnophobe -- it's a completely alternative perspective of life as a creepy crawly (and there are no actual spiders in the story).
A wonderful metaphor about identity and family politics. A fantastic read.
You might have heard it’s a story of a salesman waking up one morning as a monstrous vermin. But it’s much more than that. It has dark humor to it. It’s a story of turning mute, being unable to communicate with the world, your own family first and foremost, it’s a grotesque depiction of what it’s like to be alien. I don’t mean some green alien creature with antennae sticking out of its head, I mean alien as in not fitting in. We’ve all gone through this toil, either in our teens or later, when we decided to change our lives or careers and have been met with mute stares of those who simply didn’t get what we were doing, why, labeled us as alien creatures and cut off contact. It’s why I think The Metamorphosis is so poignant today as it was when it was first published.
Now, go read it, hope you still have two legs and not eight tomorrow when you find yourself in bed, awake, staring at the ceiling.