‘The Burrow’ by Franz Kafka, translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

The audacity of writing a story from the point of view of an unidentified rodent struck me as a young reader. The madness of the narrative voice and its utter relatability as it spirals into insanity and paranoia and then blooms with a kind of transcendent joy, seems to me an ideal structure for any piece of art. This story has shaped my understanding of reading and writing and I continue to appreciate it. I read it in Metamorphosis and other stories as a teenager and the volume also included ‘In the Penal Colony’, which I made the mistake of reading before bed. It continues to haunt me. 

First published in German in 1931. Widely available, including in The Complete Short Stories, Vintage 2005. Available online here

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