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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook

Following on the heels of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and other Quirk Classics, comes The Meowmorphosis.

In Franz Kafka’s original version, Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, wakes up in his bed to find himself transformed into a large insect. In Coleridge Cook’s version, Samsa is a giant cat.

The Quirk Classics typically follow the plot summary to fairly closely, but introduce the absurd twist introduced in the title.

Gregor wakes up as a giant cat. He looks around his room, which appears normal, and decides to go back to sleep to forget about what has happened. He attempts to roll over, only to discover that he cannot due to his new body. He gets distracted and plays kitten-like with some dust particles and reflects on the dreary life he’s led as a traveling salesman. He turns to the clock and sees that he has overslept and missed his train to work.

Gregor’s mother knocks on the door, and suspects that he may be ill, since he never misses the train. The family is dependent on Gergor’s income so they are keen for him to open the door, which is locked as usual. The situation is more intense when Gregor’s manager comes to the family’s home to inquire of Gregor’s whereabouts and to let him know that the office is not satisfied with his work of late.

Gregor, with his large yet kitten-like paws, does manage to unlock the door. Horrified by Gregor’s appearance, the office manager runs from the apartment and Gregor’s father aggressively shoos Gregor back into his room.

Gregor wakes and sees that someone has put milk and bread in his room. It’s his sister who has taken to caring for him. She also changes his litter.

As Gregor grows, he begins scratching the furniture and climbing on things, which leads his sister to remove the furniture. As these transformations have been taking place, Gregor’s aged father has gotten a job and the family has taken in boarders. One evening as the boarders are listening to the sister play violin, Gregor creeps out of his bedroom (the door has been left ajar) and unwittingly startles the boarders. He subsequently runs away from the family home. In Kafka’s original, Gregor dies. In Cook’s version, he suffers a judgement day of sorts.

Yes, it’s absurd. But so was Kafka’s original.

Buy the Book:
The Meowmorphosis on Amazon
eBook from Random House



We’ve just posted a new translation of ‘An Imperial Message’ on our site, http://www.kafkaforourtime.com, and we’re encouraging people to leave their interpretations of how they perceive the stories meaning. Would be great to hear your thoughts smile

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