Beginning with one of the most shocking first sentences in all of literature, Franz Kafka details the horrific tale of an absurd life. Virtually imprisoned in his room, Gregor Samsa discovers that every aspect of his existence has amounted to nothing. Even the struggling, dysfunctional family he has sacrificed to support is thriving without his financial assistance. Slowly stripped of every bit of his humanity, Gregor realizes that no man’s life, especially his, actually matters.
First published in 1915, Kafka’s surreal novel about living in an indifferent universe has long been considered a seminal work of Existentialist literature.
Franz Kafka (1883–1924) was a culturally influential German-language novelist. Contemporary critics and academics regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century. The term "Kafkaesque" has become part of the English vernacular.
Kafka was born to middle class German-speaking Jewish parents in Prague, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The house in which he was born, on the Old Town Square next to Prague's Church of St Nicholas, now contains a permanent exhibition devoted to the author.
Most of Kafka's writing, much of it unfinished at the time of his death, was published posthumously.