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Articles tagged "Canada"

Trilingual Day of Rain

stone over stone s i l e n c e   il pleut aujourd’hui au Fort Chambly il pleut exactement comme il pleuvait il y a 400 ans il pleut comme il pleuvait il y a 1 400 ans il pleut comme il pleuvait il y a 11 400 ans 11 400 années de pluie as rain falls this afternoon a man in wet clothes stares at stone over stone the low clouds, the rain in s i l e n c e   Louis XVI reinaba en Francia en Nueva Francia llovía sobre las piedras y los bosques sobre la piel del...

The Flowers of War

the flowers of war open at night on boulevard Saint-Laurent a line from Lorca a word from Castellanos a body unharmed by the siege of Sarajevo a bomb that didn’t explode in Hanoi or Baghdad and the sweet lips of women in winter are enough to make dawn bear fruit on this corner on boulevard Saint-Laurent best if you don’t know who you are best if you don’t know where you’re from best if you don’t know where you’re going the boulevard’s flowers in...

The God of Tar and Bone

a man standing on the tracks stares at a train as it advances with a moan of metal and night the iron moves the blind diesel thrusts the siren wails the feverish headlight lights up and splits the chest of the earth and forest but the man stays still before the apparatus still ten meters left and he just stares and stares at the invention that will chop him split him shatter him he lacks no strength or ability     to thrust his body to one side he can jump run dodge save...

The Right Path

Centuries ago, on the vast plains that extend between the coasts of the Black and Caspian seas, was a kingdom founded by General Poltrov. Poltrov was the product of a life of military discipline: tyrannical, cruel, and rational to the extreme. At the pinnacle of his glory, he enjoyed absolute power over his subjects, a few thousand farmers and artisans. There were only two cities on Poltrov’s territory: Lalandia in the east and Falstria in the west. But communications and...

New Fiction in Translation: 自害 (Jigai)

This is the first of two installments of Samuel Archibald's "自害 (Jigai)," from the short story collection Arvida, forthcoming in the US from Biblioasis on November 24. The collection has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize, Canada's largest award for fiction.   The men say: She came from the ends of the earth with pebbles in her pockets. We never knew anything else. Very little, in any case. She came from the ends of the earth with...

My Favorite Bookstore: Lazer Lederhendler on The Basement

A Bookstore in the Shape of a Back   The bookstore was near the University of Ottawa campus, where I was striving for an arts degree while working as a full-time translator for the Federal government. I was also under investigation by Canadian intelligence as a potential security risk due to my past involvement in a Marxist organization. The shop was called the Basement, although this was not—I never learned why—the name on the sign by the street-level doorway. That name...

In Search of the End of the World

I was brought into the world on a day of black misery. My mother, desperate and drained of strength, was nothing but skin and bones. Her body had become a frozen desert. She died in her struggle to give me life. Hunger was my first companion, and it has never left me since. It is always there, in my belly, relentlessly plaguing and torturing me within. My grandmother, old Kokum, the village midwife, attended my mother during the birth. Apparently I was no bigger than a young hare....

Call for Applications: Banff International Literary Centre (BILTC)

what: The Banff International Literary Translation Centre The Banff International Literary Translation Centre is open to 15 literary translators from the Americas translating works from any country in the world, as well as to translators from all over the world who are translating works from the Americas. Each year the program strives to include translators who are at different stages of their careers, from those with only one book-length published translation to veterans who have been...

The Zacharias Ascaris Affair

It all began five years ago, going on six. Ballast Publishing, a fledgling British publishing house, had just launched the first (and last) novel of its catalog, The Zacharias Ascaris Affair. No one, absolutely no one, could have foreseen the upheaval that this book would set in motion. Admittedly, the adventures of the young Zacharias Ascaris, though narrated with an undeniable flair for suspense, were in no way extraordinary. A group of adolescents, a few twists, a love story, a touch...

Welcome to the Club

It was a spring evening and Dylane had invited us to her apartment in Rosemont, which she’d bought a few months earlier. It was the first time we were going to see it, so Hélène suggested we buy a plant she could transport by car, and we’d all contribute what we could. The choucroûte garnie on the table was ridiculously outsized, and we wondered how we’d make our way through it. With summer on the way, we were all watching our weight and picked at our...

Unagi

On July 16, 2009, a young woman who was dining out with her husband in a Japanese restaurant in downtown Montreal died instantly when a concrete block fell from the front of the building and landed exactly where she was seated. This is not her story. She looked at her watch (5:15 p.m.), then brought to her lips the glass of water the waiter had just set in front of her. There was a small stain on the cuff of his white shirt that could have been soy sauce. The smell of chlorine filled...

Two Faces

Eyes closed, I see again the delicate edens growing in the frost on the windowpanes. Luminous garlands woven into the snow-covered railings during the festive season to celebrate the birth of a child-god. The bloody flame of the burner glowing red through the window of the oil-fired boiler cast onto the walls glimmers of the eternal cremation of souls. Our mother’s wigs made from the hair of Filipinas killed during the war. Our socks which she mended with eelskin. The crickets our...

Dolorès

The middle of winter In the cold light Icy waltz on the sidewalks of Montreal.   Dolorès is in pain. Wearing her cheap, musty-smelling fur.   Motionless. Her large white cigarette in one hand Scarcely lit The red lighter clutched in the other. Her stiff leg set down in pain.   Near the bus terminal. On Saint-Hubert, between Ontario and Sainte-Catherine. Before or after the illuminated glass of beer.   Between the makeshift motels Where black...

from “The Window of Time”

IV. You dream of cities not eroded by time, of forests that form immense paths, you dream, and on the sea the masts of ships gnaw away at white stones, the swell chafes the shore, you dream, but dawn still takes a long time to blow upon the ruins, shadows crash against the flesh of houses, rattle the fragile frames of windows through which you see a bit of hope, you believe, as slowly as a poem is constructed inside yourself, you gather these places one by one,...

Gandhi’s Admirer

Twelve till midnight. On this Saturday, March 8, he was listening to a recap of the day’s hockey games on the kitchen radio, making a cup of hot chocolate to drink while he watched the film Gandhi, which was to be shown on TV at midnight, when suddenly a news bulletin made him curse. A bomb attack would hardly have elicited a sigh from him. Bomb attacks, like interethnic strife, mass murders, and satanic rituals, had become daily news fodder. Even a plane crash in downtown...

In Praise of the Margins

It’s not easy to paint a faithful picture of a literature in only a few words. And so, rather than presenting a broad overview of the current Quebec literary scene, I propose to bring to your attention a few recent works that embody the unique character of our “small literature”—small in the sense that it exists on the margins of the French language literary capital (Paris), and of North America, whose lingua franca is, of course, English. After a long period...

from “Passage of Tears”

[Translators’ note: This excerpt, taken almost entirely from the first chapter, presents one voice in a polyphonic novel. The other main voice is that of this narrator’s twin brother, a fanatic Islamist imprisoned with his “venerable Master” in a cell on an island off the coast of Djibouti. Still another voice appears in palimpsest as the Islamist takes dictation from his Master: it tells the life of Walter Benjamin. Excerpts from an earlier version of that section...

from “Ru”

I came into the world early in the Year of the Monkey, during the Tet Offensive, when long strings of fireworks hanging from the houses exploded in polyphony with the sound of machine guns. Saigon was my birthplace, and thousands of bits of old firecrackers covered the soil in red as if they were petals from a cherry tree, or the blood of two million soldiers, scattered through the towns and villages of a Vietnam torn in two. I was born in the shadows of skies embroidered with...

English


from “Rabbit on the Road”

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