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Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) Paperback – July 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Franz Kafka was born to Jewish parents in Bohemia in 1883. Kafka s father was a luxury goods retailer who worked long hours and as a result never became close with his son. Kafka s relationship with his father greatly influenced his later writing and directly informed his Brief an den Vater (Letter to His Father). Kafka had a thorough education and was fluent in both German and Czech. As a young man, he was hired to work at an insurance company where he was quickly promoted despite his desire to devote his time to writing rather than insurance. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote a great number of stories, letters, and essays, but burned the majority of his work before his death and requested that his friend Max Brod burn the rest. Brod, however, did not fulfill this request and published many of the works in the years following Kafka s death of tuberculosis in 1924. Thus, most of Kafka s works were published posthumously, and he did not live to see them recognized as some of the most important examples of literature of the twentieth century. Kafka s works are considered among the most significant pieces of existentialist writing, and he is remembered for his poignant depictions of internal conflicts with alienation and oppression. Some of Kafka s most famous works include The Metamorphosis, The Trial and The Castle.
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Product Details

  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics; Trade Paperback Edition edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593080298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593080297
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Park on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
As the content of the book seems not published: this collection contains the stories "A Message from the Emperor," "The Metamorphosis," "The Judgment," "The Stoker: a Fragment," "In the Penal Colony," "A Country Doctor," "An Old Leaf," "A Hunger Artist," "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse People," in this sequence.
I found the book opening with "A Message from the Emperor" very befitting, as it seemed to me that this story, in fact just a single page, nicely condensed the tone of the entire collection. In my opinion the stories explore the common theme of irreconcilable discrepancies (among human beings). "A Message from the Emperor" in particular depicts a person, a "contemptible subject" of the Emperor, waiting for a message from the Emperor that will never arrive. He knows for certain that the message won't arrive; yet he still waits.
In the well-known Metamorphosis, the discrepancies take on a physical form -- the protagonist, Gregor Samsa, finds himself turned into a bug one morning. While Samsa attempts his best to convey what he thinks to his family, the members of family, understandably, are incapable of even conceiving that this bug, Samsa, may have any intellect. Communication between these two parties is broken beyond repair; the present discrepancies are irreconcilable.
Likewise in "In the Penal Colony," and in "A Hunger Artist." In the former a foreigner is made to judge whether it is right to ban a particular execution machine of the past. The last remaining advocate of the machine, an army officer, tries his best to highlight the merits of it. He goes through great pain explaining how each and every piece of the machine works with great affection. No, the foreigner wont be deterred. The foreigner is as foreign as one could be from the idea of cruel execution.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was interested to read some of Kafka's work. This book contains a good collection of his shorter works and allows you to get a feel for the author's style. I recommend reading the Introduction after reading some of the stories, because it contains some spoilers.
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Format: Paperback
This particular edition of Franz Kafka's stories includes some lesser known works with more popular ones. The standout stories for me are "The Metamorphosis" and "The Hunger Artist". The translations were great and did not use too many esoteric words. Some of the stories were just a little boring for my tastes, like In The Penal Colony. Kafka's stories are all strange, but they all have profound messages.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kafka is certainly not for everyone, that being said if you like Kafka or are new to his writing this is certainly a good volume to pick up. It includes some of his shorter pieces that are less well known (they weigh in at a little over or right at a paragraph in length) such as A Country Doctor and longer classics like The Metamorphosis.

The hardback with the thick weight of the paper makes this a volume you can keep for many years without fear of damage and overwear from rereading that can occur with paperback copies. The translation is wonderful and better than many that are available for purchase, the low price also makes this a fine addition to your home library without the worry that taking it off the shelf every now and then won't cover the cost. This collection of Kafka is worth every penny, if not a few more than Amazon is asking.

For those who have never read Kafka it is best not to spoil the authors work which is surreal in some cases, poignant in all, and entertaining in every light. If you have read Albert Camus or the sometimes acerbic but witty style of Louis Ferdinand Celine then this author is right up your alley.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who doesn't love a cochroach? Okay, nobody I know loves them but this is a classic and is certainly about far more than a man turning into a bug.
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