5.24.2011

Review: Meowmorphosis, by Franz Kafka and Coleridge Cook

The Meowmorphosis
by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook
Quirk Classics
May 10, 2011
208 pgs
Anyone familiar with Kafka's original tale of a man who one day wakes up and finds himself transformed into an insect-like creature will see the irony of that same man being transformed into an adorable kitten instead. But for an imprint like Quirk Classics that has given us stories of robots, zombies, and sea monsters (as toppings to the classics), that irony seems somewhat out of place. 

In The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa is locked up and shunned by his family because he's been transformed into an ugly, multi-legged, black shiny beetle-looking thing. For Coleridge Cook to change it in The Meowmorphosis to an (albeit large) kitten and still retain the familial reactions of the original makes this less of a mash-up novel and more of a what-if novel that happens to yield the same results. I mean let's be honest - kittens are adorable. The reaction of his family should have been the opposite of that which they had to the bug. It should be their love and affection for him that kills him rather than their disinterest and/or hatred. The suffocation of love would make for an interesting quirk. Not changing the story really does not. 

Really the most interesting thing Mr. Cook does is insert 72 pages that weren't there before which tell the story of Kafka's The Trial, changing Josef K. from being the accused to being the accuser, and then making Gregor the accused. Without this addition, The Meowmorphosis would be a slim volume of little interest. With the addition, it's the story of a man-turned-cat who suffers at the hands of both his family in the human world, and the overly bureaucratic cat world. Neither version is particularly enticing. If Quirk wants to keep selling books I recommend they stay away from depressing writers like Kafka and stick with the horror mash-ups. Is there maybe a Vanity Fair & Vampires.... maybe Vampire Fair in the future? Hmm? I would read it. 

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