Skip to Main Content

Summer Reading 2017: Metamorphosis

Find the book you want to read this summer!

Greg wants you to read this book because...

1.  Who can resist this opening line?  "Gregor Samsa awoke from troubled dreams to find he had turned into a large insect."   
2.  Just how dehumanized can we become?  Can we so neglect our humanity that we turn into an insect?   Can we be so dehumanized that we don't know we've become an insect?   Can we regain our humanity?   Can we, even as an insect, be more human than members of our own family?

About the book


by Franz Kafka

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."

With this startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first opening, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing -- though absurdly comic -- meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction. As W.H. Auden wrote, "Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man."

For Fans Of

  • Allegories
  • Philosophy
  • Albert Camus
  • Paul Auster
  • J.M. Coetzee
  • Jose Saramago

About the reader

Greg Monfils, History

Greg has recommended the following books in previous years:

  • The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
  • The Tree by John Fowles
  • Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas
  • Directed by Desire by June Jordan
  • A Book of Luminous Things: an International Anthology of Poetry edited by Czeslaw Milosz​