Gregor, a traveling salesman, wakes up one day to find that he’s been transformed into a giant bug.
Why this book?: I had to choose a book to read this quarter for AP Literature, and I forgot until I only had a few days to read it. I chose the first short one that came to mind, and that a few friends had said was interestingly weird.
Okay, so my thoughts on this book can be summarized in three words: what the fuck?
All throughout my reading of this novel(la?), I was searching and searching for a meaning or reason as to why Gregor was turned into a giant bug. I never got an answer, and I still don’t freaking understand what happened with this story. The plot was interesting, and I kept reading and reading because I wanted to know, and that certainly made this one go really fast. I read all of it within on night. But, my feelings on this book barely affected how I feel about it now, because I just feel unsatisfied.
My questions were never answered, instead the story decided to focus on how Gregor would support his family and why the son was supporting them in the first place. I found this really difficult to read, as it was like the story was dangling the information right above my head, just out of reach. No matter how much I read or how much I read into each word or interaction, it was never clear.
I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the characters. All of them were extremely one-dimensional, including the protagonist and his family. They were each defined by a single characteristic, and, as the reader, you never got to understand them as a family. A lot of events ended up contradicting words that were said earlier in the novel (my favorite being Gregor pointing out that his father was too weak to work, when later the father is the first of the family to get a job). I found that all of these added together made it impossible to enjoy this story as a whole.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
While I read this novel fast because I was interested and wanted to have answers to my questions, there’s no doubt that I never got answers. I consider everything else to be minimal, but added together just made the story “meh”, and nothing more.
Would I Recommend?
As a short AP literature read? Sure. As an enjoyable novel that will make you want to read more of Kafka’s work? Nope.
Publisher: Kurt Wolff Verlag
Page Count: 57
Genre: Short Story/Classic
Synopsis: via Goodreads
The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a “monstrous vermin”.