by Franz Kafka
According to biographer Max Brod, Franz Kafka would sometimes share his short stories with pals before publication. At these informal gatherings, Brod wrote, “humor became particularly clear. [Kafka] himself laughed so much that there were moments when he couldn’t read any further.” This anecdote amazes me, because if there is one adjective I would never employ to describe the short stories of Franz Kafka, it would be “humorous.” I would opt instead for “bleak,” “absurd,” or “depressing.”
I might make an exception for “The Metamorphosis,” because unlike the other tales in this collection, with their recurrent themes of misery and oppression, “Metamorphosis” is quite funny; there’s no denying the comic aspects of a story in which a man wakes up in bed to discover that he’s transformed overnight into an enormous bug.
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