Metamorphosis is a novella at 51 pages, but still packs more punch than books three times its length. It is creepy, it is startling, it is sad. It makes you feel, makes your heart ache for them all, and makes you mad at them all. Oh and is a fully developed, novel like work in 51 pages. In short, amazing and well worth the read! Be warned, Kafka is not for the faint of heart or squeamish.
The whole work is told from the point of view of the main character/creature Gregor. It almost reads like his personal journal. We do not see what is beyond his eyes, hear what he cannot, nor experience anything his new body cannot. Without a mirror, he cannot see himself. So we are left to fill in the image ourselves. I filled in my greatest nightmare creation, a giant hairy spider a la Tolkien. I really am not good with spiders. I am to spiders as Indiana Jones is to snakes. Why is it always spiders??
With each progressing page, you get the sense of the end closing in. I could not pinpoint exactly what gave me that impression, but rather it snuck up on me like a sudden storm you didn’t see till it was too late. I just knew how this was going to end, there was nothing I could do to stop it, and I did not like it.
After reading this book, I looked up Kafka. I knew of him, but not about him. I was curious at what sort of man could think up such a dark commentary on how culture adapts to change and hides the misfits in the linen closet of life. Turns out, he was either a very strange man or a horrible misunderstood man with mental health issues. Either way, the crazy twists and turns of his brain churned out deeply personal works reflecting turmoil in his own life that went on to influence many other writers of his time.
Warning to the wise, read with caution. Do not pick this story up when you already feeling blue, when you are having a bad day, or really any time your emotions will be easily swayed. Read it all in one go, like ripping a band aid off it is better to do it quickly!