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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
4.3 out of 5 stars (104 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 listeners say about Metamorphosis

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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Not sure what it was

Story plot is unique, but rest of it doesn't make much sense. Good though that it was a short story. Did Kafka want to make us reflect on our treatment of our loved ones when they get old or sick? Not sure. Anything kind of doesn't make sense

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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.

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Marvellous

Benedict Cumberbatch did an amazing job. He was the cherry to this already wonderful story. Loved his perfomance and how well he did the impressions for each character.

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Moving

Graphic, spellbinding and cold. Thoroughly enjoyed it till the end. The narration by Cumberbatch is impeccable, as well.

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Lovely!

Loved the story. Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice and voice modulations are so amazing that its a delight to listen to this book.

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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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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.

17 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.

10 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.

7 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.

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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  • 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.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-06-20

excellent

Love Kafka's writing, and it pairs well with his voice more Benedict Cumberbatch please and thank you.

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  • Joanne Chua
  • 06-06-20

Loved it

Loved it. The story is fascinating and Benedict Cumberbatch’s narration was impeccable. Provides food for thought in terms of the facades we carry and what love truly means. Highly recommend.

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  • Kenneth Buxton
  • 30-05-20

Super dark

I will more than likely have to listen to this one several times. It's pretty deep but also morbid.

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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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  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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  • 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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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jessie Bustillos
  • 10-07-20

finished too quickly!

Such an interesting novel. I have just finished it and I'm already overwhelmed by all the possible interpretations...Benedict's voice is very interesting and makes the whole narrative very alive. Great novel.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 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.

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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.