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Kafka meets kittens? 2011 will bring ‘The Meowmorphosis’

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What if Gregor Samsa woke up to find he was not a cockroach -- not ‘horrible vermin,’ as Franz Kafka wrote in ‘The Metamorphosis,’ but a super-cute kitten?

He will, in ‘The Meowmorphosis,’ coming in May 2011 from Quirk Books.

Quirk is, of course, the publisher that sparked literary mash-up madness with ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’ Back in April 2009, the idea was wholly unique, a surprising recycling of classic literary works available in the public domain.

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Since the original hit the bestseller list, Quirk has published a steady stream of literary mash-ups: ‘Android Karenina,’ ‘Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls.’ In March, it will release part three of the Pride-Prejudice-Zombies series, ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After,’ with a zombifying Mr. Darcy on the cover (horrors! not Darcy!)

Other publishers, including Grand Central Publishing, have gotten in on the mash-up action. Seth Grahame-Smith, who penned the zombie part of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,’ wrote ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’ for Grand Central, giving American history a supernatural twist. Both it and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ are said to be headed to the big screen.

But -- Kafka? ‘Gregor Samsa is a humble young man who supports his unemployed parents and teenage sister by working as a traveling fabric salesman,’ the publisher’s catalog promises. It continues:

But his life goes strangely wrong in the very first sentence of ‘The Meowmorphosis’, when he wakes up late for work and discovers that he has inexplicably became an adorable kitten. His family must admit that yes, their son is now OMG so cute -- but what good is cute when there are bills to pay? How can Gregor be so selfish as to devote his attention to a ball of yarn? And how dare he jump out the bedroom window to wander through Kafka’s literary landscape? Never before has a cat’s tale been so poignant, strange and horrifyingly funny.

Will his father throw apples at Gregor the kitten? Will cute kitten Gregor meet as tragic an end as Gregor the creepy cockroach did in Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’? ‘The Meowmorphosis’ promises the answers.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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