The Metamorphosis, By Franz Kafka

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To translate Kafka's gnomic German means to interpret him, as a shrewd preface to this collection of stories by Joyce Crick shows.

Along with Anthea Bell's version of The Castle and Mike Mitchell's of The Trial, it makes up a trilogy of new translations (all introduced by Kafka guru Ritchie Robertson) that offer bracing surprises for buffs as well as an easy passage into the labyrinth for newcomers.

In the title tale, poor Gregor Samsa wakes up as "some kind of monstrous vermin". We might miss the beetle or cockroach, but Ungeziefer's a generic pest.