The Pequod Review:
The Complete Stories is a comprehensive collection of virtually all of Franz Kafka’s short stories. His pieces are maddingly inconsistent, many of them fragmentary or otherwise incomplete, but about ten or twelve of them are absolutely first-rate. The best are “The Metamorphosis” (a novella about a traveling salesman who wakes up to find himself transformed into a beetle), “The Judgment” (about a conflict between a dying father and his son) and “In the Penal Colony” (one of his best stories period, involving themes of punishment and cultural relativism). Even though he is somewhat better known for his novels, Kafka’s essential form is the short story – and at their best these are short, direct and purposeful stories.