The Metamorphosis: A New Translation by Susan Bernofsky (Paperback)
Gregor wakes up one morning to find he has been transformed into a giant insect. How do those around him react? His boss demands he return to work, his father looks upon him with disgust, and his mother evinces concern. Fantastical? Yes. Far from reality? No. For while no human alive has ever turned into an insect, this novella serves as an apt metaphor for anyone who has undergone spiritual or bodily transformations, particularly through the lens of societal regard.
- Clarisse— From Clarisse
“This fine version, with David Cronenberg’s inspired introduction and the new translator’s beguiling afterword, is, I suspect, the most disturbing though the most comforting of all so far; others will follow, but don’t hesitate: this is the transforming text for you.”—Richard Howard
Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella of unexplained horror and nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. It is the story of traveling salesman Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. This hugely influential work inspired George Orwell, Albert Camus, Jorge Louis Borges, and Ray Bradbury, while continuing to unsettle millions of readers.
In her new translation of Kafka’s masterpiece, Susan Bernofsky strives to capture both the humor and the humanity in this macabre tale, underscoring the ways in which Gregor Samsa’s grotesque metamorphosis is just the physical manifestation of his longstanding spiritual impoverishment.
Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.
David Cronenberg is an acclaimed Canadian director, best known for his work in the body horror and noir genres, such as The Fly and Eastern Promises.