Day 19. Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that bit and stung. But I’ve read Franz Kafka’s book Metamorphosis. Well, not actually a book but a short story of 68 pages (which is the amount in the book that I have). For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s about a man named Gregor Samsa, the opening line…
One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had changed into a monstrous verminous bug…
Okay, you’re more than likely thinking What? I too thought the same thing when I first looked at it. But I persevered to the end. To my surprise, I actually found the story both insightful and moving, as you follow the painful isolated demise of Gregor. To me, I never looked at him as a beetle, but as a somewhat unwarranted burden on his family, who for some reason couldn’t come to terms with his disability and illness. However, that is only my interpretation.
During the Nazi occupation of the 1930’s, Franz Kafka’s works had the unjustified misfortune of being confined to Jewish bookstores and then consequently burned. Sadly, but also fortunately, he died before witnessing such atrocities. What struck me the most though, was up until the late 1980’s in his home town of Prague, his works were still banned.
I for one am glad to have read some of his work. If you can find the time and inclination, give it a try, it may surprise you.