Google Doodle celebrates Franz Kafka with a cockroach

The search giant's new Doodle honors the 130th birthday of the famous writer.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Google's latest Doodle is a bit buggy, but not in the usual way.

Displaying a giant hard-working cockroach walking through the door, the Doodle pays tribute to famed German-language author Franz Kafka, who was born on July 3, 1883. The bug refers to one of Kafka's most unusual works, namely "The Metamorphosis," the tale of a traveling salesman who was one day turned into a big bug, typically thought to be a cockroach.

As an English translation of the book puts it: "One morning, when Gregor Samsa awoke from his troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin."

Available online through Project Gutenberg and other sources, "The Metamorphosis" then proceeds to describe how Samsa's family and boss react to his new appearance and how he tries to cope with his buggy existence. Google's Doogle even depicts a small apple, a reference to the apples that Samsa's father hurled at his son. I'll leave the ending a surprise for those of you who've never read the book or don't remember how it ends from your encounter with it in high school or college.

"The Metamorphosis" may be the title most associated with Kafka, but he penned other renowned works, including "The Trial" and "The Castle."

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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