Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Meowmorphosis - Coleridge Cook & Frank Kafka

Book details:
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (10 May 2011)
Language English
ISBN-10: 159474503X
ISBN-13: 978-1594745034

'One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.' Thus begins The Meowmorphosis--a bold, startling, and fuzzy-wuzzy new edition of Kafka's classic nightmare tale, from the publishers of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! Meet Gregor Samsa, a humble young man who works as a fabric salesman to support his parents and sister. His life goes strangely awry when he wakes up late for work and discovers that, inexplicably, he is now a man-sized baby kitten. His family freaks out: Yes, their son is OMG so cute, but what good is cute when there are bills to pay? And how can Gregor be so selfish as to devote all his attention to a scrap of ribbon? As his new feline identity threatens to eat away at his personality, Gregor desperately tries to survive this bizarre, bewhiskered ordeal by accomplishing the one thing he never could as a man: He must flee his parents' house.’

Links to buy:

My review:
This was such an odd book when I read the blurb to it after Quirk books sent it to me for review (thanks guys!) The cover intrigued me though and the idea was one that I had never read before so I was curious when I dived into reading it. It was oddly compelling and rather weird at the same time, no doubt thanks to the curious tale of our main character Gregor who turns into a cat. Yes, a cat. Purrr-fect right?

The book is written by two authors yet their writing fits in well with the other and there is a generally good flow to the novel that allows you to read in ease. It’s told in the perspective of Gregor (well really from the point of view of a cat) after he finds himself waking up in bed as a cat. While some may wonder why Gregor seemed so calm after he realised he was a cat, I found it to be quite refreshing not to plunge into a panic driven narrative and enjoyed as Gregor explored what being a cat was and even more so as even as an animal he still continued to worry about his work and how he was going to cope. Gregor’s family seem to accept his transformation but their main concern seeming to be the loss of his earning potential because his job as a fabric salesman had enabled him to support his parents and sister.

Despite all the cat-like interjections dispersed in the book (ear scratching, licking themselves, purring away, all that stuff that cats do on their day to day basis) there were run ins with other characters-turned-cats such as Josef and Franz which made me smile, knowing he wasn’t alone.

A little research told me that this was a re-make of an older book and they’ve given it a fresh new lease of life (which Quirk books has been awesome in doing with many other books) yet this version is geared more towards a younger age group, and teens I’d assume thanks to the tongue-in-cheek humour where a man suffers a mid life (well cat-life) crisis and his eventful run in with the Cat Academy (yes, the Academy of Cats).

A pitfall of this refreshing novel however were a few sections in the book where the author spends a while rambling on about cat-related philosophy yet despite this, the rest of the novel will have you smiling. Praise for Cook's ability to get into the minds of an adorable kitty in such an amusing manner and relay to us normal 2 legged people in such a new and revitalising way.

The writing can’t be faulted and it was entertaining to see the city life through the eyes of Gregor’s cat like form, yet despite how good the novel was, I’m giving it 2* rating simply because it’s not something I’d read again. Despite it being different and enjoyable on some level, it’s not the usual book I’d pick up, and therefore not something I’d recommend to others knowing their preferences in YA novels. However, for those who are looking for a twist in a traditional story be sure to give this a lick. 

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