The time-travelling bookworm: ‘Metamorphosis and Other Stories’ by Franz Kafka

I read this book when I was fourteen, which I think is quite impressive, given the challenging style and content of Kafka’s work. I haven’t been inclined to revisit these stories since, partly because I know he wrote giant paragraphs, and partly because of how depressing his themes are. I’m not doubting his genius and his posthumous influence. I do appreciate his work. His short story ‘The Hunger Artist’, which was included in this collection of short stories by various authors, was written on his deathbed. The story is very grim but I will always remember it. I’ve also read his novel The Trial, which was difficult to read and very scary.

The most memorable in the Kafka collection would certainly be the title story, about a man named Gregor who wakes one morning to find that he’s an insect. I thought it was a cockroach but as I found out when writing my blog post about insects in literature, it’s not specified. And anyway, it’s not important what kind of insect. I suppose it was all symbolic but I wouldn’t have ‘got it’ at the time.

It’s possible I will re-read some of Kafka in the future – this would come under the ‘older and wiser’ category in my list of reasons to re-read books!

This post is the last in my ‘time-travelling bookworm’ series.

10 thoughts on “The time-travelling bookworm: ‘Metamorphosis and Other Stories’ by Franz Kafka”

    1. I’m not really qualified to give you a good answer as I have only read a small amount of his work (which, if his wishes had been followed, wouldn’t even be around today – he asked for his work to be burnt after his death!) – but you could try the short story Metamorphosis.

  1. I’ve just finished The Trial. I did notice the long paragraphs but felt so involved in the story they didn’t bother me. I can’t imagine reading Kafka as a 14 year-old!

    1. I really find long paragraphs difficult so that gets in the way of my enjoying a book! I think the concept of Metamorphosis probably sounded more child-friendly than it is – man changing into a bug πŸ˜€

    1. Hi Jee! πŸ™‚ It’s very depressing but probably the first you would try if you wanted to read a Kafka.

  2. I’m impressed you read this at 14 years old. I’ve only read the Metamorphosis, which I enjoyed, but doubt that had been the case if I’ve read it at 14.

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