Edward the Hamster ponders the ethics of the maze, the purpose of the wheel, and the psychology of his brutal overlords in this chilling account from inside the cage.
Translated from the original Hamster by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia
Excavated from a garage sale in a leafy north London suburb, The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990 (Blue Rider Press, 2013), by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia, is a remarkable historical document. Translated from the original Hamster by the aforementioned brother-sister duo, it soon transpired that the document would transform contemporary literature in both the human and rodent worlds. It is an extraordinary work: profound meditations on the nature of captivity and the soul, interlaced with stark reflections on the grinding banalities of everyday living, illuminate its tiny pages. If you take the time to read this diary, you may come to realize that Edward is not just a hamster; he is a state of mind.
Two of them came today, dragged me out of my cage and put me in some kind of improvised maze made out of books an old toilet paper rolls. A labyrinth with no escape. They were treating it like a game, laughing and squealing as I desperately scrabbled from blind alley to blind alley—but I knew it was no game. They’re trying to crush my will, to grind me down. They can take my freedom, but they will never take my soul.
My name is Edward, and I am a hamster.
The vet came today. He touched me. Apparently,
I’m a woman.
Not a woman. I have checked.
Here I have everything I need. There is no reason to be unhappy.
Reflections on a wheel:
It goes around.
It has no purpose.
I shall use it no longer.
Used the wheel.
Ate seeds. Drank water.
Today I drank my water first, and then ate the seeds.
IS THERE NOTHING ELSE?!
Now I take a stand. For my own rights, and for all those who suffer under the yoke of tyranny; a strike against the cruel hands of my brutal overlords.
Know that from now on I shall take no food or water till freedom … or death.
Two minutes into hunger strike. I am strong and determined.
Five minutes now. Beginning to feel weak.
The seeds. They are taunting me!
I have lost a gram. Maybe more.
That is enough sacrifice for one day. What use is a dead hamster to the Resistance? So I have eaten fifty seeds and drunk my fill of water.
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990 by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia, published by Blue Rider Press, 2013.