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The metamorphosis
Kuper, Peter
Adult Fiction KUPER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Kuper has adapted short works by Kafka into comics before, but here he tackles the most famous one of all: the jet-black comedy that ensues after the luckless Gregor Samsa turns into a gigantic bug. The story loses a bit in translation (and the typeset text looks awkward in the context of Kuper's distinctly handmade drawings). A lot of the humor in the original comes from the way Kafka plays the story's absurdities absolutely deadpan, and the visuals oversell the joke, especially since Kuper draws all the human characters as broad caricatures. Even so, he works up a suitably creepy frisson, mostly thanks to his drawing style. Executed on scratchboard, it's a jittery, woodcut-inspired mass of sharp angles that owes a debt to both Frans Masereel (a Belgian woodcut artist who worked around Kafka's time) and MAD magazine's Will Elder. The knotty walls and floors of the Samsas' house look like they're about to dissolve into dust. In the book's best moments, Kuper lets his unerring design sense and command of visual shorthand carry the story. The jagged forms on the huge insect's belly are mirrored by folds in business clothes; thinking about the debt his parents owe his employer, Gregor imagines his insectoid body turning into money slipping through an hourglass. Every thing and person in this Metamorphosis seems silhouetted and carved, an effect that meshes neatly with Kafka's sense of nightmarish unreality. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Kafka's novella "The Metamorphosis," in which an ordinary man is inexplicably transformed into a giant insect, is among his most acclaimed works, and here Kuper presents a faithful and compelling adaptation of it. The plight of protagonist Gregor Samsa is terrible and chilling but also absurd, and in his introduction Kuper states that he was drawn to the work because of its humor, unlikely as this may sound. (Besides creating a previous book of Kafka adaptations, Give It Up, Kuper is also the current artist for Mad magazine's "Spy vs. Spy" strip.) He ably draws out both the horrific and the humorous elements of the story in his black-and-white scratchboard illustrations, which are cartoonish and expressionistic, with heavily detailed backgrounds. This book can act as an excellent introduction to the original for those who balk at Kafka's fearsome reputation. Fans of Eric Drooker's Flood or Rick Geary's "Treasury of Victorian Murder" series will likely also find this work of interest. Recommended for adult collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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