"Metamorphosis" could be the title of many Kafka stories—not just the famous one about a man who goes to bed as a traveling salesman and wakes up as a gigantic bug. Kafka's characters, even if they don't undergo such radical change, are looking for answers or epiphanies, hoping their lives will be transformed. There's the ape in "A Report to an Academy" who strives to become human, or the pathetic Hunger Artist who slowly starves to death, not out of principle, but because he's never found the food that would satisfy him—the crucial manna that would make life worth living. Stories themselves, Kafka once wrote, should "act upon us like a misfortune" and "serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us." Only then can they lift us "into the pure, the true, and... More >>>