I Can Has Kafka? "The Meowmorphosis" Reviewed

"One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten."

In less capable hands, such a prompt would have resulted in a book that simply replaced the word "insect" with "kitten." But Quirk Books wisely commissioned an extremely capable fantasy writer to re-imagine Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis as a work of gonzo literature. I'm happy to report that The Meowmorphosis (out this May from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies publisher Quirk Books) is more than the one-note parody its early detractors feared.

While the initial chapters stick close to Kafka's well-known novella, the book spirals out of control (in a good way) when Samsa leaves his parents' home to relieve them of the burden of caring and feeding for such a large, adorable kitten. Samsa's adventure is both hilarious and horrifying to witness, and takes meta-fiction to dizzying new heights. The new co-writer absolutely nails Kafka's voice; the new passages integrate so well with the story that it's hard to believe the book isn't entirely written by one author.

2011-03-23-meowthumb.jpgCo-author Coleridge Cook (a pseudonym for an award-winning fantasy novelist) describes Samsa's feline behavior in detail, and not a page goes by in which a piece of furniture is not scratched or perched on. Bowls of milk are lapped at, and humans are snuggled with.

Will cat-lovers enjoy The Meowmorphosis? Yes -- there's no doubt in my mind that cat-lovers will find Samsa just as cute and cuddly as his sister does in the story. I'm a dog person, and even I was LOL-ing by the book's end.

Image Credit: Quirk Books.