by Máirtín Ó Cadhain
Translated by Louis de Paor and Lochlainn O'tuairisg
Publication Date: 05/19/2015
In An Eochair (The Key), one of Máirtín Ó Cadhain's most Kafkaesque short stories (and one of his longest), J., a 'paper-keeper,' one of the more junior civil servant positions, accidentally locks himself in his office when the key breaks in the lock. The story -- a mixture of satire, farce, black comedy and, ultimately, tragedy -- relates the efforts of J. and various other characters, his wife, civil service colleagues and superiors and others, to extricate himself from his predicament. However, all efforts to free J. must be in accordance with civil service protocols, and no such protocol exists for J.'s unique dilemma.