‘Gregor’ by Quim Monzo, translated by Peter Bush

It is always tempting to include Franz Kafka in any short story anthology, so what better way to avoid this than by including a Kafka tribute instead? Quim Monzo is a Catalan writer who delights in the absurd, and so is naturally attracted to riffing on Kafka’s work in a story where an insect finds itself transformed into a person. His family are surprisingly forgiving but, of course, small and remote, and, once he has gained control of his body and can walk to the bathroom, he is surprised to find himself upset by his nakedness. Monzo’s story is much shorter than Kafka’s but, despite making an entirely different point, it does confirm that it’s always the insects who suffer.

First published in the Catalan in Guadalajara, Quadems Crema, 1996, and in English in Guadalajara, Open Letter, 2011

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