Marc Estrin is a writer, cellist, and activist living in Burlington, Vermont.
His works include Insect Dreams, The Half Life of Gregor Samsa, The Education of Arnold Hitler, Golem Song, The Lamentations of Julius Marantz, Skulk, The Good Doctor Guillotin, and The Prison Notebooks of Alan Krieger (Terrorist).
Marc Estrin's website
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An Essay by Marc Estrin, author of Insect Dreams
Most people don't like cockroaches; others are equally wary of Kafka. I love
both. The bugs were my playmates, growing up in the Bronx, and it was Kafka who
snatched away my reading virginity when I was sixteen: The Trial was the
first "real" book I ever read.
It was out of these idiosyncracies that I wrote Insect Dreams: The Half Life of Gregor Samsa.
Kafka's Gregor is quite different from mine a man turned inexplicably into vermin, alienated from all others. His tale is briefly told in "The Metamorphosis", a short story which challenged the world in 1915, and continues to do so. But it seemed to me a shame to "waste" this remarkable being, to let him shrivel and die so quickly. So I just nabbed him --- stole the character out from under his couch via some shady dealings on the part of his housekeeper, and threw him into the world to see what he might pull off. We know from Kafka that Gregor-the-human was a sweet man, supporting his family, looking after his sister, intelligent, hard-working, dutiful. I imagined he'd have the same qualities as a large, talking cockroach.
(I must inject here that Kafka does not explicitly call Gregor a cockroach. ...
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