The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

Title: The Metamorphosis and Other Stories
Author: Franz Kafka
Date Added: June 12, 2017
Date Started: September 14, 2017
Date Finished: December 1, 2017
Reading Duration: 78 days
Genre: Fiction, Classical Literature, Satire, Short Story

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories coverPages: 224
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics
Publication Date: July 1, 2003 (first published 1915)
Media: Paperback


Virtually unknown during his lifetime, Franz Kafka is now one of the world’s most widely read and discussed authors. His nightmarish novels and short stories have come to symbolize modern man’s anxiety and alienation in a bizarre, hostile, and dehumanized world. This vision is most fully realized in Kafka’s masterpiece, “The Metamorphosis,” a story that is both harrowing and amusing, and a landmark of modern literature. 

Bringing together some of Kafka’s finest work, this collection demonstrates the richness and variety of the author’s artistry. “The Judgment,” which Kafka considered to be his decisive breakthrough, and “The Stoker,” which became the first chapter of his novel Amerika, are here included. These two, along with “The Metamorphosis,” form a suite of stories Kafka referred to as “The Sons,” and they collectively present a devastating portrait of the modern family.

Also included are “In the Penal Colony,” a story of a torture machine and its operators and victims, and “A Hunger Artist,” about the absurdity of an artist trying to communicate with a misunderstanding public. Kafka’s lucid, succinct writing chronicles the labyrinthine complexities, the futility-laden horror, and the stifling oppressiveness that permeate his vision of modern life.


This is going to be more of an analysis than a review due to the classic nature of the work.  Spoilers will not be marked.

Most writers write about themselves.  It is both an inherently selfish and selfless act.  To speak too much of oneself is narcissistic, but to share that self with the world in the hopes someone might understand upon reflection requires a vulnerability most narcissists cannot bear.

Franz Kafka’s works were greatly influenced by his relationship with his father, Hermann Kafka, who is described as “authoritative and demanding.”  We’re introduced to this paradigm in “The Metamorphosis,” and it manifests even more in “The Judgment.”

Kafka’s writing is brilliant in its absurdity.  While ridiculous and surreal things happen to his characters, the author’s message is far from it.  He uses the absurd to speak of the profound beginning with “The Metamorphosis,” where the main character Gregor awakens one morning to discover he’s been transformed into a gigantic bug.  It’s interesting to note that Kafka never wanted any depictions of the creature, because its appearance didn’t matter.  It was a “gigantic vermin” that poor Gregor had the ill luck to now be.  He’s confined to his room and often fed by pushing sustenance beneath the door.  The sister or the mother would sometimes and warily venture in to clean, and Gregor usually hid himself to not terrify them.  He is unable to speak, no longer possessing a human mouth, though his mental faculties remained the same.

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The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

Title: The Winter’s Tale
Author: William Shakespeare
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: August 14, 2017
Date Finished: September 11, 2017
Reading Duration: 28 days
Genre: Drama, Tragedy, Comedy/Romance Classic

The Winter's Tale by William ShakespearePages: 171
Publication Date: May 15, 1611
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Media: eBook/Kindle


One of Shakespeare’s later plays, best described as a tragic-comedy, the play falls into two distinct parts. In the first Leontes is thrown into a jealous rage by his suspicions of his wife Hermione and his best-friend, and imprisons her and orders that her new born daughter be left to perish. The second half is a pastoral comedy with the “lost” daughter Perdita having been rescued by shepherds and now in love with a young prince. The play ends with former lovers and friends reunited after the apparently miraculous resurrection of Hermione.


The cover I used above is not the cover of the version I read, but since that one is boring (it’s just the play’s title and the Bard’s name on white a green.  Oh hell…

The Winter's Tale (boring cover)See.  Boring), I decided to use a festive piece.

The Winter’s Tale has a tragic/dramatic beginning and a comedic end, comedy, in cases like this, meaning there’s a happily resolved romance, as opposed to his more famous Romeo and Juliet, which while possessing a romantic element (if you want to call it that…), is generally classified a tragedy.  I’m unsure how comedy and romance became conflated, but in examining The Seven Basic Plots, that is how it’s described.

Hero and Heroine are destined to get together, but a dark force is preventing them from doing so; the story conspires to make the dark force repent, and suddenly the Hero and Heroine are free to get together. This is part of a cascade of effects that shows everyone for who they really are, and allows two or more other relationships to correctly form.

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What Remains of Edith Finch

More video game reviews can be found here.

Genre: Walking Simulation, Puzzle – Drama
Developer: Giant Sparrow, SCE Studio Santa Monica
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

What Remains of Edith FinchLet’s Player: Cryaotic


There will be another to these shores to remember me. I will rise from the ocean like an island without bottom, come together like a stone, become an aerial, a beacon that they will not forget you. We have always been drawn here: one day the gulls will return and nest in our bones and our history.

-Dear Esther

Part walking simulation, part puzzle, all bittersweet, What Remains of Edith Finch is a deep plunge into the tragic history of the Finch family by Edith, the last daughter of the clan.  Equal parts history and mystery, the the game follows Edith as she wanders through the halls of her family’s lopsided home, recording the lost stories discovered behind sealed doors.  Named for her great-grandmother, Edith chronicles the lives and deaths of her family members who all succumbed to a mysterious “curse” her great-grandfather Odin brought with him across the sea.  Every member of the Finch family found an early quietus save for one child of each generation who survived long enough to make the next.

There’s an eeriness about the game that doesn’t quite border on scary with many of the deaths occurring under potentially supernatural circumstances (e.g. Molly and Milton), and the beauty of it is that the true or false of such is left for the player to divine.  Since I watched the game, I can’t speak for the details of gameplay, but had I the time, I would’ve been able to play through it (and I may possibly do so for a future Let’s Play or stream).  There are no enemies to vanquish nor points to score, and the puzzles are not only intuitive, but intricately connect to each relative’s story.

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