Investigations of a Dog & Other Creatures
Fiction by Franz Kafka
Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
Animals, strange beasts, bureaucrats, bouncing balls, businessmen, and nightmares populate this collection of stories by Franz Kafka. These matchless short works, all unpublished during Kafka’s lifetime, range from the snappy dialogue between a cat and a mouse in “Little Fable” to the absurd humor of “Investigations of a Dog,” from the elaborate waking nightmare of “Building the Great Wall of China” to the creeping unease of “The Burrow,” where a nameless creature’s labyrinthine hiding place turns into a trap of fear and paranoia.
“Oh,” said the mouse, “the world gets narrower with each passing day. It used to be so wide that I was terri ed, and I ran on and felt happy when at last I could see walls in the distance to either side of me—but these long walls are converging so quickly that already I’m in the last room and there in the corner is the trap I’m running into.” “You only have to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.
—Franz Kafka (“LITTLE FABLE”)
“I think of a Kafka story as a perfect work of literary art, as approachable as it is strange, and as strange as it is approachable.” —Michael Hofmann