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Of Anders & Kreuzwendedich
Sander Pleij
19 December 2022
published in Issue Two
The Last White Man
Mohsin Hamid

(Hamish Hamilton, 2022)

The opening scene of Mohsin Hamid’s The Last White Man riffs on Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis). Kafka’s first sentence: « Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt. »

So Gregor Samsa awakes in the morning, from troubled dreams, and finds himself transformed into a gigantic vermin. Hamid’s first sentence: « One morning Anders, a white man, woke up to find he had turned a deep and undeniable brown. »

Hamid’s fairylike tale of a lover whose skin suddenly turns brown reminded me of another transformed lover, from a satire, written by an author who called himself Mynona. Der operierte Goy (The Operated Goy) was published exactly one hundred years before The Last White Man. The God of numbers is with us.

Mynona and I have had a fling for over two decades.

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The Operated Jew: Two Tales of Anti-Semitism, translated with commentary by Jack Zipes (New York: Routledge, 1991).