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Articles tagged "Gender"

from “The Boys”

It was a balmy night, spring had started to slip into early summer, the trees’ leaves were thick and bright green. We didn’t speak, we only looked each other in the eyes and received the paper bags that Momo ceremoniously handed to us. And when I opened my bag in Bella’s room, my heart started beating so fast it hammered in my ears. She had made me a tiger costume. There was a hooded coat and a pair of elbow-length gloves, the tip of each finger adorned with a golden...

Mr. Beneset

Mr. Beneset’s son arrives at the geriatric home and greets the girl at reception: a nice, sensible girl who was, in fact, the one who, when he was looking for a home for Mr. Beneset, tipped the balance and led him to pick this one and not the other one, in Putxet, which he’d also liked. She and Mr. Beneset’s son chat about this and that. About life in general, about Easter Week, which is fast approaching, about the newly asphalted road and about how Mr. Beneset has been...

In Conversation

Buket Uzuner: I met Claire Messud in Istanbul in November 2007 while she was visiting the city as one of the guest writers of the Istanbul Book Fair. A week before I met her, I started to read her very recently translated novel, The Emperor's Children (in Turkish, İmparatorun ocukları); once I realized her novel tells a contemporary story set in New York City, with vivid characters from different generations and classes, and revolves around three protagonists who are...

The Prisoner

She woke up long before the alarm. As though wanting to make sure the night was over, she blinked for a while in the dawn. She'd slept a total of three hours, but the night, full of tossing and turning, and full of realistic dreams, dreams far more painful than reality, had seemed to last forever. An endless waiting... For hours, she'd lain like a chained ghost, ears pricking up at the slightest sound, afraid to budge, knees bent to her chest. Unable to cry, unable to sleep, not...

A Tongue of Lead

There are nights when dreams run stories one into another, preventing the sleeper from making a clean break between scenes that strange actors link together in his head, and so it seems that the night has been no more than the prolongation of a day that gradually has made the light disappear to make room for this palpable life shadow of that which is real. Nightmares to make your legs shudder and to talk about when awake, bare hints of laughter on the threshold of wakefulness, feeling the...

Ernst and Mylia

Ernst Spengler was alone in his attic apartment, ready to throw himself out the already open window when, suddenly, the telephone rang. Once, twice, three times, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, Ernst answered. Mylia lived on the first floor of 77 Moltke Street. Seated in an uncomfortable chair, she was thinking about the basic words of her life. Pain, she thought, pain was an essential word. She had undergone one operation, then another,...

Red Bean Sticky Cakes and Running

I am a countrywoman. This year, I'm thirty-six years old. My name is Chen Wumi. This name isn't very pleasing to hear, but the Beijing reporter Guo Wangjing was charmed by my name. He said that my name seems Western, that Russians and Albanians have people called Wumi, and that the Qiang, one of China's ethnic minorities, have people called Wumi too. Reporter Guo was just flattering me. In fact, he didn't realize the implications of Wumi. He was twentysomething years old and...

The Great Atlas of Polish Queens

Style Queens I picked up my cigarettes and went for a walk through the ruts toward Świnoujście. I looked over and saw that pharmacist from Bydgoszcz lying there. She had her umbrella with the "Vichy" label opened up and was slathering on sunscreen as usual. I bowed politely, proffering my respect, and at once began pestering her about the crabs: How could I get rid of them? She gave me a whole lecture, explaining how I had to shave my entire body, even my legs and armpits because...

from “A Nation behind Bars”

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: The author is Sudanese. This excerpt is a translation from Watanun Khalfa al-Qudban (Beirut: Dar Al Saqi, 2002, ch. 17, pp. 46-52). It takes place in the early to mid-1990s, a time when foreign fighters were entering Sudan hoping to strengthen Islamic law in the country. I would like to thank Diana Abouali and Hussein Kadhim of Dartmouth College for their insightful comments and suggestions on this translation. Rust in the Back of the Head 1 A silent prison....

Omega:  Definitions

I am a Muslim feminist from the Fertile Crescent. I have a tattoo on my right wrist. It's of God. I designed it. Do you know where the Fertile Crescent is? One day when we were alone together Shah treated me in a way I didn't like at all. Shah means King in Persian. I don't remember the details. But it was theatre. I don't think it made any difference. I don't usually talk about my religion. Some Muslims might not accept me as one because I sometimes...

from A Peace of Women

A Baghdad 2003 Lysistrata, adapted from Aristophanes' Play NOTE: El-Ramly's Salam El-Nisaa (A Peace of Women) is a nuanced adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, set in Baghdad only a few days before the US-led invasion. Here, a group of Iraqi women, some of whom have lost many male relatives during Saddam's wars with Iran, decide to do everything they can to stop the new impending war. They unite under the leadership of Labiba. Labiba is El-Ramly's Lysistrata...

from “The True Story of the Labyrinth”

One "Early in the morning, when the sun begins to reveal the objects around us, for me it will be late: another day to fill me with fear," Clara confessed to herself as she looked at her reflection out of the corner of her eye. She considered her almond-shaped eyes, pale face, and squalid body, lost in the folds of man's clothes she had put on before running away from home. It was Saturday. She could not leave the room where she had taken refuge. She had not spoken to anyone in a...

His Story

when there were no secret parts writing was devised on a woman's body no part left undescribed men and their dirty fingers mixed up one character with the other until the letters couldn't be read they had never gotten around to reading they became doubters of script looking for the lost language burned all books short of their own body out of the ashes fashioned their dream dame veiled it deep black are illiterates still

Men

Men arrive like a date on a calendar they keep visiting once a month men who've seen the bottom of the deepest bottles kings of both earth and heaven and like the pearls from a torn necklace trembling I scatter at their touch their heartbeats open doors vessels respond to their voice commands and wind licks their faces like a crazy dog and gallops after their train and roams they undress me as if undressing themselves and hold me in their arms like a saxophone and oh this...

from Troublesome Love

I gave up on changing my clothes, and stayed in my dusty, wrinkled dark dress. I could barely find the time to change my tampon. Uncle Filippo, with his attentions and his angry outbursts, didn't leave me alone for a minute. When I said that I had to go to the Vossi sisters' shop to buy some underwear, he was bewildered, and remained silent for a few seconds. Then he offered to go with me to the bus. The day was airless, and getting darker, and the bus was crowded. Uncle Filippo...

from The Almond

Aunt Selma was in the middle of a gathering of women when I disturbed her. Later on, I learned that in Tangiers the afternoon was the time for women to congregate. All dressed up, fashionable and lighthearted, they'd meet around platters filled with pastries to sip their coffee or tea, try a Spanish or an American cigarette, exchanging their off-color jokes, gossip, and only half-sincere confidences. These ichouiyyates were a most serious social ritual, almost as important as the...

The Wondrous Deer of the Eternal Hunt

If he hadn't been who he was, I never would have married again. I had everything: a child, a job, my freedom. And suddenly there he was . . . clumsy, practically blind, wheezing. Letting someone into your world with so much baggage—twelve years in Stalinist camps, they took him as a boy, sixteen years old. . . . With the burden of that knowledge . . . the differences. That's not what I'd call freedom. What is it? What's the point? Admit that I only pitied him? No. It...

Paravion

Listen. What sounds like a call for silence-shhh!-is really the sound of the wind in the trees, a rumor whispered through the leaves by many tongues. And could that chirping of invisible birds be gossip? They had intended to keep his departure secret. Baba Balook and his wife had told no one about his upcoming journey, for fear of backbiting and disaster-the evil eye-but to no avail. Who had overheard their whispering in curtained nights? Who knows what invisible eavesdroppers dwell...

Nancy

Nancy was this woman. From America. A woman general. And not just a general, but an advisor to the president. Rumor even had it she could do the same amount of push-ups as any other American general and advisor to the president. And here she was coming all the way to the great Russian North to pay us a visit. Back then our country was in the throes of perestroika, and she was visiting us just to see whether we were doing as bad a job of it as the rest of the world was inclined to think....
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