The Meowmorphosis - Coleridge Cook, Franz Kafka I really enjoyed the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies trilogy from Quirk Classics, so I was super excited that I won this one. I had never read Kafka before but I had been meaning to, so this was the perfect kick in the butt to finally get to it. I read "The Metamorphosis" right before reading this one, so it was pretty repetitive at the beginning. Essentially, Coleridge Cook replaces the word "insect" with "kitten" and leaves the rest of the story the same (except for some descriptions of how cute and cuddly Gregor has become) until about the middle of the book, when he escapes from the apartment and has an adventure with some other cats in an alley. After reading some other reviews and looking around online, I found out that this middle section is a retelling or twist on Kafka's other short story "The Trial" (which I have not read yet). I really didn't like this part. Josef K (the leader of the businessmen-turned-alley-cats) goes on and on with rambling, pointless, nonsensical speeches that last up to six freaking pages. I almost gave up on the book around that point, but since I had had such high hopes for it I pushed on and finished it.

I had several problems with this retelling of "The Metamorphosis." (1) Why does Cook glorify cats so much in this version? Kafka never glamorized insects (in fact he rarely even mentioned the fact that Gregor was a bug, except when it posed problems and Gregor was forced to look at himself and figure out how to move around in his new body). The whole cat society thing just seemed like a monumental waste of time and space, a filler to flesh out Kafka's original novella so that Cook could market this as a novel. (2) Cook somehow manages to butcher Kafka's story and make it boring and meaningless. The words are minced and made fluffy to accommodate kittendom and Cook seems to get lost in the hierarchy of the crazy cat society and the pointlessness of their trial. I think Cook tried to put too much Kafka and kitten history into one story and ended up with a hot mess. Whereas the P&P&Z trilogy added fun, wit, and adventure to the Austen original, this version just falls flat.

Gregor Samsa does indeed make for a precious, cuddly kitten, but this novel failed miserably to entertain me or do the original any justice at all. My recommendation is to just read the original and stay away from this one. (2 stars because it includes cute pictures of kittens in human clothes)