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Metamorphosis

A BBC Radio 4 Reading
Written by: Franz Kafka
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
Length: 1 hr and 38 mins
Categories: Classics
4 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Benedict Cumberbatch reads Franz Kafka's famous story of man-turned-insect, Metamorphosis.

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile

After a night of troubled dreams, Gregor Samsa wakes to discover that he has turned into a huge, monstrous, cockroach-like creature, with an armour-plated back and multiple limbs. 

Gradually, he comes to terms with his new state - but his parents and sister are horrified and increasingly revolted. To them, Gregor is unclean, verminous and entirely repellent, and as he becomes more and more of a burden, their horror turns to a terrible indifference.... 

First published in 1915, Kafka's surreal existential novella explores concepts such as the absurdity of life, alienation and the disconnect between mind and body. Read by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek, The Imitation Game), this tale - often described as one of the greatest in the history of fiction - is chilling, captivating and darkly comic. 

©2018 BBC Digital Audio (P)2018 BBC Digital Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A story of change literally and metaphorically

The story has a certain complexity along with the tone that remains unmatched by most other authors.
Truly a fascinating tale, depressing and deep in it's roots to the authors personal life.
I couldn't have imagined a better narrator that Dr. Sherlock Strange from Star trek (references!!!!!).

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Loved the story.

It relates so much to real life of terminally ill patients. How they get treated and how families feel glad they meet their end.
Sad but true ending.

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Great narration, sad story

Benedict's narration made the story captive.. I'd hoped something happy for Gregor in the end.

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  • ilene
  • 05-02-18

Very Sad

Emotional story of humanity and much more. With a narrator like this you want it to go on forever just to hear his voice. Beautiful job.

16 people found this helpful

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  • drwatson
  • 21-02-18

One of the best, with amazing narration

This was already one of my favorite books. Add Benedict Cumberbatch? =magic. Get this now.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-03-19

Disappointed

I love BC and this book but why is soooooo much edited out? It really ruins the translation and makes it utterly useless to use in a classroom. For a casual listen, it's good. For anything scholarly look elsewhere.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-04-19

As lovely as I remember

I read this story many years ago when in the 9th grade, and listening to it now with this delightful narration my view of the story is as good as it was if not better presently.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • donna
  • 26-01-20

Good story

I actually never read this story in High School as my daughter did. At first I really didn't get it. I am not used to this style of writing. I listened to it several times and realized how extraordinary this work is. This is my second copy of the book. I just couldn't resist Benedict Cumberbatch as the reader. Any book he reads gives the book a difficult style. And I like that. I have several books read by Benedict Cumberbatch.

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  • edith oto
  • 23-01-20

Easy Listening

The story is written with just enough detail to allow the reader to formulate a mental image, which allows the mind to listen and absorb more fluidly while doing other things (like driving). Plus, I could listen to Benedict Cumberbatch's voice all day.

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  • Patrick Toth
  • 20-01-20

'metamorphosis ' review

easy to listen to. quite sad, however. no background about why the change took place.

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  • Vania
  • 09-01-20

Perfect

I consider this ti be a modern classic, and Benedict Cumberbatch makes everything exponentially better.

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  • Joao Taborda
  • 08-01-20

Weak Kafkian story with a good performance!

After listening in 2018 to the beautifully crafted story that is "The Trial", I had high hopes for Metamorphosis, and I was very disappointed. This book is very weak compared to "The Trial". It's a great delusional Kafkian style book, but it's also very weak in the story.

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  • Wade Lancaster
  • 11-11-19

Kafka’s Masterpiece About The Human Condition

A very original metaphor brought to life by a great production. However, much was cut and some dialogue seems like it was added. Worth the credit for the excellent production, but if you want to read the unabridged version then you will need to look elsewhere.

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  • TheNameless
  • 25-09-18

Beautifully read, strange and sad

For such a short story, Metamorphosis packs a powerful emotional punch, which is made all the greater by Benedict Cumberbatch's beautiful narration. He draws every ounce of feeling from the words, without ever crossing the line into melodrama.

2 people found this helpful

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  • luke
  • 03-02-18

Franz by Benedict Cumberbatch

BC reads the story in a way that makes it easily deciphered and able to follow, a problem I had when reading the book solo.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mirzhan Irkegulov
  • 13-12-19

Enjoyable with great narration

Great metaphor of young male anxiety about work, sense of belonging, intimacy, parental approval, sibling love.

Balcony Columnshaft has a really fitting pronunciation and accent for this novella.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Parker
  • 23-08-19

A remarkable reading.

An icon of European literature. Read brilliantly!
A really effective way of engaging with a classic text.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carla Ribeiro Oleiro
  • 14-04-19

Great story

A great story from a great writer and a great performer. I enjoyed it and hope that you also like it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bronny Jones
  • 10-01-18

Enjoyed the narration more than the story.

I found this a strange but interesting story, not something I would usually listen to but got because I am a big fan of Benedict. His narration is amazing, such a rich voice and i like how he gives the characters their own voices too. I dont think I completely understood the meaning of the story but enjoyed it nonetheless. Would definitely recommend to other Benedict fans, and would listen again just for the narration.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-01-20

Brilliant classic, the MUST

In my humble opinion everyone had to read or to listen to it... I had finished the book yesterday evening and this morning I still feel haunted by it. It's a fairy tale of being different, of not belonging, of being excluded... The thing we humans fear the most.

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  • Willie Daniels
  • 10-12-19

A bug's life

A superbly bizarre little tale. Enjoyed it very much. Benedict Cumberbatch did a fine job.

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  • Christian Newlove
  • 02-03-19

Best narration ever!

Benedict Cumberbatch is a true star. This strange and often difficult story is made simple and fun by his top class performance! Bravo Ben!

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  • Charles King-Tenison
  • 05-01-19

Bit odd

The reading of the book is fantastic and the book itself it’s also quite great. But you need to have a strong understanding of literature to appreciate the critiques in it. I unfortunately don’t so found it a bit difficult.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-04-19

The voice makes the book!

Was a great book for an easy afternoon listen. Benedict Cumberbatch's voice did Kafka true justice.