Let me introduce you one of the weirdest books I have ever read: “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. With the weirdest opening line:
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was laying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.”
No explanation of how did he turn to this horrible creature; actually, almost no explanation to anything haha. As I have later read in Wikipedia, this is Franz Kafka’s style – not explaining much.
When I just finished reading this book two weeks ago, I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not – I had so many questions left unanswered! However, after thinking rethinking overthinking about the plot I understood that I liked it. The beauty of this short story lies in all those questions you first start asking the writer, – and when you understand that he is not going to answer, – yourself. Like, why did his sister do that? Why had not she at least tried to talk to him, to understand him, TO GATHER UP HER STRENGTHS AND LOOK AT HIM? And his mother? His father, who almost killed him? Why why did they all do this? All his life Gregor Samsa has been working hard to help and to satisfy the needs of his parents and sister, BUT as soon as he turned to an insect-like horrible creature they just pretended he did not exist. HEEEY gruesome Samsa family, even if he couldn’t work anymore, or had lost his human appearance, he was still Gregor, their loving son and brother.
“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
Nevertheless, do not get me wrong, this book didn’t leave me that angry, no. “Metamorphosis” left me astounded because while this book had several fantastic elements, it was also real and true. To be honest, I expected this book would be shocking and unusual, because just before I started to read it, I came across one of Franz Kafka quotes, which says:
“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”
“Metamorphosis” is just the kind of book that wounds and stabs.
Now I see that I’m going to change my goodreads rating of “Metamorphosis” from 4 stars to 5. Because the more I think about it, the more truths I uncover for myself and the more I like it.
Thank you, Franz Kafka.