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  • Metamorphosis

  • A BBC Radio 4 Reading
  • Written by: Franz Kafka
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Length: 1 hr and 38 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (240 ratings)

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Metamorphosis

Written by: Franz Kafka
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
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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 Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2018 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about Metamorphosis

Average Customer Ratings
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Incomplete audio

This is not a complete audible Book. So expensive snd just gives you summary of the book. It was so annoying:

4 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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Dark and Symbolic

The book means to say that everything is ok as long as life is ok. once there is some change, the whole world changes.

1 person found this helpful

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irritating music alert

I enjoyed the story and narration, but irritating musing before and end of every chapter, spoils the experience.

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Uncomfortable, as it's supposed to be

A great listen. Absolutely loved the narration by Benedict Cumberbatch. The story is unusual and uncomfortable, providing bitter answers to the controversial questions you never ask.

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Exceptional Reading

It's a Kafka story... I don't think I can say much by commenting on the story. As far as the reading is concerned, I've always considered Benedict Cumberbatch's voice to be one of the most soothing voices in English Cinema and he did the do the book a lot of justice by lending his voice for the same.

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Kafka's Best

Almost a century apart, Franz Kafka's classic ( and controversial ) finds its narration by B Cumberbatch . The Metamorphosis (1915) raises questions on human existence and social moorings , specially when you wake up transformed into an enormous bug 🐞
A story that still holds its relevance or perhaps more than ever before. Do listen !

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The fragility of relationships.

Deeply disturbing. And very realistic. The closest of relationships undergo a metamorphosis when one loses respectability.

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Intriguing and engaging!!

Benedict's voice is really alluring and intriguing to me , he narrated splendidly ! The novel was just fine , it does teach a very important lesson though but needs to figure out on our own!

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What an overrated waste of time.

Benedict Cumberbatch is a delight to listen to, but this story was so pointless and I fail to understand what made this a classic in the first place.

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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.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Jonas Jones
  • 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.

21 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.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Diana
  • 19-01-21

Trash

I got the audio book because i have a hard time reading but i have the book and i can't follow along to many pieces are cut out do not buy

6 people found this helpful

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  • YS
  • 24-05-21

Sorry, not for me

As a classic one, I was expecting more. While the concept must have been new and provocative, the story is melancholic and becomes more depressing as story progresses. Sorry, not for me.

4 people found this helpful

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  • petra
  • 08-01-22

Not stated that it is not the full text

It should be clearly stated that the reading is of a summarized version. I discovered this after listening to most of the book. The narrator is great - but we should be allowed to make an informed decision. I wanted to retrieve my credit and I couldn't especially knowing there is another version (Metamorphosis&other stories) that has the full translation and other short stories with the same credit needed.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-04-20

BEST performance

Can Benedict Cumberbatch read every audio book, please? This is a classic made even more amazing by the wonderful reading. Loved it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Gary C. Booker
  • 01-07-20

Classic.

I personally identify with many of Kafka's characters, especially with Gregor in "The Metamorphosis." Kafka's writings will make you think deeply about sacrifices made in vain.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Aaron
  • 12-05-21

it's a story where the moral is to be yourself

and I don't think many could really disagree with that assessment too much. poppinjay, poppinjay

1 person found this helpful

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  • MS
  • 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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  • 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.

7 people 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.

7 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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

3 people 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.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-09-20

Starts strong, then not much else

Chapter 1 was great. After that the initial shock of the plot is gone and it just, keeps going. The premise is great and what makes this a classic, but after chapter 1, it's all just....fine.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David Pugh
  • 22-08-20

Unavoidable change

I have to listen to this a few times in order to apply the meaning to myself. Our outcomes can be extremely different to our intentions. One state is able to become sublimated and unintentional.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DAVID CLAYTON
  • 05-08-20

A fantastic listen

BC reads and characterises the protagonists extremely well and creates a highly believable ad immersive setting for one of my favourite books.

1 person 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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-03-21

Utter dross read perfectly

Brilliant reading by Mr Cumberbatch but as the old saying goes, you can't polish a turd. Spentd your hard earned elsewhere I say.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 11-10-20

bizarre classic

I knew of this story for ages and being a huge fan of horror knew i would get to it eventually. its a bizarre story of a victorian workaholic man turning inti a giant insect.. he and family are for the most part nonplussed and adjust to the situation with resentment. i think its a poltical allegory though not sure. its well written and its survival as an important story could be a fluke. its a good story and sticks with you but im not sure its a classic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 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.

1 person found this helpful