~ Happy reading ~



Day 29 - A book everyone hated but you liked

The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka

Most of the time it's the other way round - everyone liked a book and I hated it. To answer this question honestly I have to pick a book from my long passed days at school.


The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Although he was a poor guy with some serious problems I adore Kafka. I love his short stories, his novels and his ultra short parables. He wrote some disturbing stories and created some really miserable characters all based on parts of his real life but he had a genius mind and an absolute brillant writing style. The Metamorphosis is such a sad story and every time I read it my heart is bleeding for poor Gregor Samsa.


It's a pleasure beeing able to read the original because just form reading the first sentence in English I can tell you it's not the same. Maybe I should explain this:


"One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discoverd that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug."

(English version)


"Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheuren Ungeziefer verwandelt."

(German version)


The original starts with a subordinate clause not with the main clause. Imo that's an important change. The storyline begins with the MC waking up from anxious dreams and than he recognize he changed into a monstrous vermin - not a monstrous verminous bug. Yes, he is a bug now, but the reader learns that later. Most important he doesn't become verminous during the story but mouldy because an apple will be thrown at him and stuck in his carapace.

These are only little changes but the impact is enormous, isn't it?


Kafka wrote the story in 1912 but his German is really distinguished thus his language creates a welcome distance between storyteller and reader - but that distance is deceptive because the story connects with the readers own angst and therefore let one feel really uncomfortable.

While reading you ask yourself: Would I've reacted like his really bad family? Would I have been so depressed by their reactions that choosing death would be the only option?  Would I have tried to get away from them with much more force than Gregor had? All questions are virtual but there are enough situations in real life where one could ask themselves similar ones. I like such mind-games.

Nearly everyone during my literature course at school hated Kafka. What a pity!