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Summary

Benedict Cumberbatch reads Franz Kafka's famous story of man-turned-insect, Metamorphosis.

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile

After a night of troubled dreams, Gregor Samsa wakes to discover that he has turned into a huge, monstrous, cockroach-like creature, with an armour-plated back and multiple limbs. 

Gradually, he comes to terms with his new state - but his parents and sister are horrified and increasingly revolted. To them, Gregor is unclean, verminous and entirely repellent, and as he becomes more and more of a burden, their horror turns to a terrible indifference.... 

First published in 1915, Kafka's surreal existential novella explores concepts such as the absurdity of life, alienation and the disconnect between mind and body. Read by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek, The Imitation Game), this tale - often described as one of the greatest in the history of fiction - is chilling, captivating and darkly comic. 

©2018 BBC Digital Audio (P)2018 BBC Digital Audio

What listeners say about Metamorphosis

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Enjoyable with great narration

Great metaphor of young male anxiety about work, sense of belonging, intimacy, parental approval, sibling love.

Balcony Columnshaft has a really fitting pronunciation and accent for this novella.

7 people found this helpful

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Franz by Benedict Cumberbatch

BC reads the story in a way that makes it easily deciphered and able to follow, a problem I had when reading the book solo.

5 people found this helpful

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Beautifully read, strange and sad

For such a short story, Metamorphosis packs a powerful emotional punch, which is made all the greater by Benedict Cumberbatch's beautiful narration. He draws every ounce of feeling from the words, without ever crossing the line into melodrama.

3 people found this helpful

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A remarkable reading.

An icon of European literature. Read brilliantly!
A really effective way of engaging with a classic text.

2 people found this helpful

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Starts strong, then not much else

Chapter 1 was great. After that the initial shock of the plot is gone and it just, keeps going. The premise is great and what makes this a classic, but after chapter 1, it's all just....fine.

1 person found this helpful

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Unavoidable change

I have to listen to this a few times in order to apply the meaning to myself. Our outcomes can be extremely different to our intentions. One state is able to become sublimated and unintentional.

1 person found this helpful

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A fantastic listen

BC reads and characterises the protagonists extremely well and creates a highly believable ad immersive setting for one of my favourite books.

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Brilliant classic, the MUST

In my humble opinion everyone had to read or to listen to it... I had finished the book yesterday evening and this morning I still feel haunted by it. It's a fairy tale of being different, of not belonging, of being excluded... The thing we humans fear the most.

1 person found this helpful

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A bug's life

A superbly bizarre little tale. Enjoyed it very much. Benedict Cumberbatch did a fine job.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story

A great story from a great writer and a great performer. I enjoyed it and hope that you also like it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ilene
  • 05-02-18

Very Sad

Emotional story of humanity and much more. With a narrator like this you want it to go on forever just to hear his voice. Beautiful job.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Jonas Jones
  • 05-03-19

Disappointed

I love BC and this book but why is soooooo much edited out? It really ruins the translation and makes it utterly useless to use in a classroom. For a casual listen, it's good. For anything scholarly look elsewhere.

16 people found this helpful

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  • drwatson
  • 21-02-18

One of the best, with amazing narration

This was already one of my favorite books. Add Benedict Cumberbatch? =magic. Get this now.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Diana
  • 19-01-21

Trash

I got the audio book because i have a hard time reading but i have the book and i can't follow along to many pieces are cut out do not buy

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-04-20

BEST performance

Can Benedict Cumberbatch read every audio book, please? This is a classic made even more amazing by the wonderful reading. Loved it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • YS
  • 24-05-21

Sorry, not for me

As a classic one, I was expecting more. While the concept must have been new and provocative, the story is melancholic and becomes more depressing as story progresses. Sorry, not for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aaron
  • 12-05-21

it's a story where the moral is to be yourself

and I don't think many could really disagree with that assessment too much. poppinjay, poppinjay

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gary C. Booker
  • 01-07-20

Classic.

I personally identify with many of Kafka's characters, especially with Gregor in "The Metamorphosis." Kafka's writings will make you think deeply about sacrifices made in vain.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MS
  • 26-04-19

As lovely as I remember

I read this story many years ago when in the 9th grade, and listening to it now with this delightful narration my view of the story is as good as it was if not better presently.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Erin B Ore
  • 13-10-21

Fear and the Salesman

I loved it itcwas yet another mesage of the American dream of working fir your family being squashed by the fear of changes and growth. even tho Gregor grew into somthing grotesque that did not change the fact that he wanted and could help and should have been given the chance instead of feared and shuned. Byeee