Friday, July 13, 2012

Sorry Quirk Books, but you really quirked up this time.

2 out of 5 stars

Kafka is not an author I'd immediately associate with literary mash-ups, seeing as he's neither a fun nor, quite honestly, entertaining read. In fact, he's quite depressing and it's hard to imagine how his works could be spiced up enough to be made palatable to a more general audience. Enter Quirk Books with The Meowmorphosis. Okay, I thought, if anyone could make Kafka likeable, it's Quirk; add a cute, fluffy kitty into the mix and you've probably got a hit on your hands. Um, no.

Basically substituting the word "kitten" for "cockroach", Coleridge's writing still leaves us with the body of Kafka's story, which, despite the kitten influence, remains depressing and obfuscating. I'll be quite honest: I haven't the foggiest idea what the moral behind the tale (tail? Ha ha) is. Something to do with Socialism vs. Capitalism I'm guessing? Plus, by using the kitten/cockroach substitution, it actually made the story even more bewildering. We're talking about a cute, fuzzy kitty, right? So why are people running away in disgust? Why are they trying to step on it and kill it just like a cockroach? Then again, it's supposedly a man-sized kitty, but, if it is, when he wanders the streets, why does no one respond to his size? If there's a tiger-sized tabby cat wandering around my neighborhood, I'm certainly going to sit up and take notice. Yet no one does. And while I agree a tight collar on a cat is devastating, an affliction borne by Gregor thanks to his schizophrenic sister (read the book, if you dare, you'll see what I mean), why does it weaken his back legs? Did the collar cause a stroke? And why is Gregor occasionally weak, so weak he has to drag himself around, and then healthy enough to spring up onto the furniture? Quite frankly, by the time I finished this book, I was shaking my head in despair and mind-numbing confusion.

Maybe I'm just not smart enough to appreciate this story. If that's the case, fine. I'll stick with my Terry Pratchett and Ann Aguirre, and leave this to the intelligentsia. So why two stars and not one? Because at the end of the book, Coleridge has provided us with a short, humorous "biography" of Kafka. Let's just say it features more kitties. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's enough to provide a chuckle or two, which I felt deserved a star.

Read April 10-12, 2011
Originally reviewed on Goodreads April 17, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment