The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook. Book review

The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook. Quirk Classics $12.95

Reviewed by Mike Chinn

The original Metamorphosis had Gregor Samsa wake up one morning as a cockroach (or some kind of giant nasty insect ‘ opinions differ); in this mash-up from Quirk Books, Gregor becomes ‘ a giant fluffy kitten. And ‘ well, that’s it, really.

From the opening idea, Cook has nowhere to go but trot out Kafka’s tale of alienation and isolation with a cute kitty instead of a huge bug. Bit of a one-joke book, really; worse, it’s not actually funny.

That Gregor’s parents are repulsed by an adorable cat should be absurdist ‘ and I’m sure that was the intent ‘ but instead it’s just absurd. The author has left in too much of the original Kafka without thinking it through. (Such as Gregor finding he has trouble walking because he has too many limbs. True if he’s suddenly an insect with six, not if he’s a cat with four: same number as humans. Or can’t we walk on all fours?).

Worse, halfway through Gregor escapes into the outside world and meets up with another cat that used to be human: Josef K. Suddenly the book’s become The Trial. Maybe Cook realised there just wasn’t enough original material to make a modern-sized novel; but whatever the reason, it’s more cul-de-sac than detour. Gregor goes back home, gets covered in muck and dust and frightens the lodgers. The appendix is a cod biography of Kafka which isn’t half as funny as it thinks it is, along with some irritatingly dumb discussion questions. A depressing book ‘ for all the wrong reasons.

The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook. Quirk Classics $12.95

Reviewed by Mike Chinn

The original Metamorphosis had Gregor Samsa wake up one morning as a cockroach (or some kind of giant nasty insect ‘ opinions differ); in this mash-up from Quirk Books, Gregor becomes ‘ a giant fluffy kitten. And ‘ well, that’s it, really.

From the opening idea, Cook has nowhere to go but trot out Kafka’s tale of alienation and isolation with a cute kitty instead of a huge bug. Bit of a one-joke book, really; worse, it’s not actually funny.

That Gregor’s parents are repulsed by an adorable cat should be absurdist ‘ and I’m sure that was the intent ‘ but instead it’s just absurd. The author has left in too much of the original Kafka without thinking it through. (Such as Gregor finding he has trouble walking because he has too many limbs. True if he’s suddenly an insect with six, not if he’s a cat with four: same number as humans. Or can’t we walk on all fours?).

Worse, halfway through Gregor escapes into the outside world and meets up with another cat that used to be human: Josef K. Suddenly the book’s become The Trial. Maybe Cook realised there just wasn’t enough original material to make a modern-sized novel; but whatever the reason, it’s more cul-de-sac than detour. Gregor goes back home, gets covered in muck and dust and frightens the lodgers. The appendix is a cod biography of Kafka which isn’t half as funny as it thinks it is, along with some irritatingly dumb discussion questions. A depressing book ‘ for all the wrong reasons.