suppose you were appointed the role of frodo on a dangerous canoe trip through an unfamiliar land. after several weeks of rowing, your fellow traveler develops tendonitis and is unable to continue the expedition. together, you paddle to a quiet fishing village somewhere on the edge of the world and part ways. she climbs from the canoe, hoists her pack, and you never see her again.
beyond the dock, you spot two or three shacks and the beached hull of an ancient tug. everything smells of fish and decay. the big city, you smirk. the fate of the world rests on this forgotten population of ten. indeed, without another set of hands your mission is doomed. rising from the canoe, you muzzle your doubt and approach the town.
there's no sign of the men and women who created this awful stench (i.e., fisherfolk), but you still manage to drag up three candidates to help complete your quest: a novelist, a fiction editor, and a literary translator. one of these three adventurers will have to do, but who should you choose?
[stay tuned for my answer and how it relates to franz kafka’s the trial in the next post or so.]
[[okay, here's my unofficial back page review (andi's comments made a follow-up post unnecessary). i was going to use this riddle to reveal that either (1) the translator of my edition of the trial was pathetic (and unworthy of quests) or (2) kafka was an idea guy, not a writer. there is NO reason to read this; the cliff notes are probably better written and infinitely more concise. still, i like the concept of the novel; kafka just needs a creative translator with a keen sense of poetry and pacing. (and perhaps kafka would be a good quest candidate if he was only needed to think and not do.)]]