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Bo lives in the Netherlands. She’s a professional counselor and an avid writer and knitter. She has published in an anthology, in several Dutch publications and on line.
“The Hump” is set in an apocalyptic drought not quite as bad as in J. G. Ballard’s The Burning World. The story is centered on the narrator’s husband, David, who is increasingly repelled by the hump growing on his wife’s back. Their children consider it more of a curiosity.
David remarks unkindly that a camel’s hump is mostly fat. He is right, but he misses the point: his wife is supporting the family with an evolutionary adaptation to drought. David ought to be grateful rather than resentful at being replaced as the most important means of the family’s support.
The story resembles somewhat Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” by having a character undergo a physical change. However, Kafka’s Gregor Samsa is changed into a beetle at the very beginning; the story proceeds to unfold the reasons for his fantastical but ultimately metaphorical change in condition.
The fact that the narrator’s hump grows gradually in “The Hump” makes it possible to depict David’s increasing alienation, which is at the center of the story. However, readers will be justified in thinking that the appearance of any abnormal growth cannot be assumed to be natural; they will expect the woman to go see a doctor immediately when she first notices it.
Bo Balder’s bio sketch can be found here.
Welcome to Bewildering Stories, Bo. We hope to hear from you again soon and often!
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