Wow. That was a doozy of a book. Well, 55 pages.
Gregor wakes up to find himself transformed into a hideous bug. This causes a lot of a problems since Gregor is the sole breadwinner in his family and now cannot leave the house for work.
His family's reaction varies. At some points they are disgusted with what he has become. At others, I saw that they felt sympathy. And anger.
As the only individual in a family with a large and heavy weight on his shoulders, Gregor has long taken care of the people in his house. Now, with him locked in his bedroom, he must watch to see how they will survive.
Imagine how it must feel to work hard every day to survive and support your family, but suddenly become incapacitated, unable to help any longer. Now imagine how it must feel to watch that same struggling family, unable to work before, thrive without you there.
That is what Gregor faces as he wastes his life away in his bedroom and watches. His family, not under his care and devotion any longer, seem to do better without him. What kind of life is that?
This story, while downright weird at points, is incredibly touching. From Gregor's point of view we see him go from the cherished hero of the household, to a disturbance and embarrassment, to a being who wastes space. You feel for him and he realizes the hurt and anger he is causing his family. But there is nothing that can be done for him.
You have to wonder though, why the family never helped him before. If they were struggling so much under Gregor's care, why didn't they go back to work sooner? I am sure that is the one question that will always be debated and it offers a lot to think about.
In all, I was surprised at how much I truly enjoyed this little novella. It was weird, quirky, but emotionally powerful. I cannot wait to tackle more Kafka.