Want to meet the granddaddy of all bugs? Then check out a copy of the creepy novella, The Metamorphosis.
The Metamorphosis was written by Franz Kafka, who was born in 1883 in Prague. Kafka's characters often find themselves alienated and trapped in unpleasant situations in a modern, bewildering world. This theme of alienation stemmed from his being Jewish at a time and place when Jews were expected to live in a ghetto, separated from non-Jews.
The Metamorphosis is about a traveling salesman named Gregor Samsa who wakes one morning to find that he has turned into a giant insect overnight. (There has been much debate about what kind of insect Gregor transforms into. Is he a cockroach? A beetle? Kafka himself never answered this question, and insisted that Gregor not be illustrated or even seen from a distance on the cover of the book's first edition. But over time this suggestion was ignored for clarity's sake.)
Gregor has trouble adjusting to his new body. His first attempt to flip himself off his back to the floor is the first of many physical trials he must endure as he gets used to his new body. He's not even sure what kind of food to eat. Eventually he discovers that he has a hankering for rotten fruit.
Gregor's family is horrified when the door to his room opens and they see Gregor's hideous bug form filling the doorway. Over the weeks Gregor must struggle with more than just his physical being: he must deal with a pushy boss; his frightened and disgusted family; a thoughless housekeeper; and a life full of people and things that he once loved becoming as alien to Gregor as Gregor has become to the world.
For the full effect of Gregor's struggles, check out The Metamorphosis graphic novel.
Kafka's other works:
Amerika: The Man Who Disappeared
I Am a Memory Come Alive
The Diaries of Franz Kafka
A Franz Kafka Miscellany: Pre-fascist Exile
Franz Kafka: A Critical Study of His Writings