Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book #19: The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook

"The Meowmorphosis" is a mash-up by Quirk Classics based on "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka. Coleridge Cook (a pseudonym used by a fantasy author) puts his twist on the classic dark novella. Instead of Gregor Samsa, salesman, waking up as a cockroach as in the original, he wakes up as a kitten. The book is essentially the same as the Kafka story, but with a section in the middle that seems to include a twist on another Kafka work (unfinished at the time of his death), "The Trial".
As much as I enjoyed the original work, I had hoped that this new mash-up would have a bit more of a change to it. Instead, it was pretty much the same story with "kitten" replacing "cockroach". I must say, though, the "biography" and Discussion Questions at the end are quite humorous and certainly worth reading!

This is a dark, rambling work that not all readers will appreciate. I'm not sure that I would recommend it if you aren't already familiar with Kafka. Then again, if you're familiar with Kafka, I don't know that it needs to be read.

Book #18: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

Okay, I'm way behind on my reviews, so this is my attempt to get caught back up.

Abigail Thomas wrote her memoir "A Three Dog Life" focusing on her life after her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury. The title is a play on the phrase "A three dog night" used by Australian Aborigines to describe the coldest of nights since they slept with dogs to keep warm. Her three dogs help to keep her going and normalize her life after it is turned upside down following her husband's accident.

Although the book is written because of a tragedy, I don't think it is dark or depressing. In fact I find it inspirational that this woman, who has had her normal life ripped away, keeps going and starts a new "normal" life. In this new life, her husband lives in a care facility, sometimes speaks in riddles and has lost his short term memory. Still, she loves him just as she always had.

The timeline of Ms. Thomas' life is not set out chronologically in the book. Some people may find this to be disjointed, but I was not bothered by the fact that it jumps back and forth. I found it to be reflective of how her husband's life must have been after the accident; no real consciousness of the passing of time, just now.

As a dog lover, I think this book subtly states how much some of us rely on our pets for normalcy. In order to be able to keep going, the simple act of napping with a dog can be refreshing.