The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

330px-metamorphosisLet 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.

Sincerely,

Fatima Djalalova.

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The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

233858“What a sad story, I thought for so long. Not that I now think it was happy. But I think it is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever.”

It’s been 17 days since I’ve finished reading the book and 15 days since I’ve watched the movie and my thoughts still keep returning to this story, analyzing it over and over again and discovering new truths for myself.

First, I thought I would start this review by retelling you the plot, but when I started writing this short plot summary I felt like I was revealing so much about the story already, and it’s just one of those stories, which are the best to read without knowing a thing about them. Okay, may be just to know whether you want to read it you must know that it’s about a 15-year old Michael Berg falling in love with 36-year-old Hanna Schmitz, their romance, how she suddenly disappears without letting him know, Michael meeting Hanna 9 years later in the court, Frankfurt process, concentration camps, Germany after World War II. And the most important, the mystery behind Hanna’s requests to 15-year-old Michael to read out loud to her. This book also states several interesting (almost philosophical) questions, which I’m still thinking about.

I must add that the novel consists of three parts. The first one focuses on their unusual romance. The second part concentrates on the trial. And the last one tells us about after-the-trial events.

Speaking of The Reader movie, – great actors, good music and, most of all, almost no changes of the original plot. I loved it. If you want to ‘feel’ this book, just listen to one of the movie soundtracks – Ludovico Einaudi’s “Primavera”.

This story is very unusual, very beautiful and touching! And the ending..it just surprised me! I’ve got so many scenarios of how it would end in my mind, but not one like this.

There is so much I want to tell about the book, but at the same time, I don’t want to spoil it for you. If you’ve read it, please write me in comments and we will talk about it!

Thank you so much, Bernhard Schlink for writing this great book! I love it!

Several quotes from The Reader, I’d like to share with you:

“Through the long hours of the night you have the Church clock for company and the rumble of the occasional passing car that throws it’s headlights across the walls and ceilings. These are hours without sleep, which is not to say they’re sleepless, because on the contrary, they’re not about lack of anything, they are rich and full. Desires, memories, fears, passions form labyrinths in which we lose and find then lose ourselves again. They are hours where anything is possible, good or bad.”

 

“Now escape involves not just running away, but arriving somewhere.”

 

 “I wanted simultaneously to understand Hanna’s crime and to condemn it. But it was too terrible for that. When I tried to understand it, I had the feeling I was failing to condemn it as it must be condemned. When I condemned it as it must be condemned, there was no room for understanding. But even as I wanted to understand Hanna, failing to understand her meant betraying her all over again. I could not resolve this. I wanted to pose myself both tasks-understanding and condemnation. But it was impossible to do both.”

 

“The tectonic layers of our lives rest so tightly one on top of the other that we always come up against earlier events in later ones, not as matter that has been fully formed and pushed aside, but absolutely present and alive.”

 

 

 

 

Breakfast At Tifanny’s by Truman Capote

 Breakfast At Tifanny’s by Truman Capote

5/5 

Light, funny and thought provoking at the same time. That is how I’d have described it in one sentence. Even though I’ve finished reading it two weeks ago my thoughts still keep wandering to it, may be because there was an open end and I can make up different scenarios of Holly’s life myself.

Our main character – Holliday Golightly – is a grown up version of Pippi Longstocking, she gets the most of the moment, is  absolutely careless, ties herself to nobody and doesn’t pretend to be someone else, she is always herself, always honest with herself.

“It may be normal, darling; but I’d rather be natural.”

or

“The answer is good things only happen to you if you’re good. Good? Honest is more what I mean… Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore.”

She lives in the moment, doesn’t care about her past or her future – just like Holden from The Catcher In The Rye.

But it is not only the Holliday Golightly I liked so much, it is also the narrator, our young writer Fred (the story is told from his point of view), who had a pleasure of being Holly’s dear friend for a little bit over the year (Actually, I think that Truman Capote saw himself in Fred, otherwise the story wouldn’t have been so raw and emotional). You know, the prose – it’s just so very very beautiful, this book has this thing people often call ‘atmosphere’ and the words, the words just penetrated deep into my soul and everything Fred felt – I started feeling myself, just like I was living in this story.

Can’t wait to see its movie adaption with Audrey Hepburn!

I’ll definitely be reading more of Truman Capote’s.