Metamorphosis: A surreal situation (Gregor wakes to find himself transformed into an unspecified insect, for an unknown reason) & realistic detail. Convincingly shows how his thoughts, principles, preferences, attitudes to family, mood etc gradually change as a result. The least real aspect is how pragmatic Gregor is, and how neither he nor his family ever question how he came to be that way. Sad, but somehow pointless - except as personal catharsis re his own family. He thinks he is the provider, but is really a parasite, and the family blossom after his death.
Many of the other items are short, poignant vignettes, rather than stories, though some have a surreal/magical angle. A definite voyeuristic slant to several (two are explicitly titled about looking through a window). Penal Colony
is particularly gruesome (yet somehow elicits sympathy for the obsessed officer), with scope for Christian/crucifixion interpretation.Eleven Sons
especially sad but pertinently perceptive of 11 different ways he disappointed his father.Report to the Academy
is an amusingly surreal (reminiscent of Gerald the gorilla in Not the Nine O'clock News) slant on Jewish integration. The Fasting Artist
may be where David Blaine got his idea from.Before the Law
is chillingly allegorical.
The Dream and Before the Law are actually from his novel The Trial, which is on my Kafka-related bookshelf (http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/1199525-cecily?format=html&order=a&shelf=kafka), along with lots of others, including biographies.