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Articles tagged "Loss"

White Sand, Black Stone

The young officer was reading the pages of my passport diligently, scrupulously, as though they were the pages of a gossip magazine or a cheap novel. He held them up. He looked at them against the light. He scratched them hard with the nail of his index finger. It occurred to me that at any moment he might fold over the corner of one of the pages, marking it, as though planning to return to his reading later. You travel a lot, he said suddenly as he went over all the stamps. I didn’t...

The Beginning and End of the Oil Curse?

Why does oil wealth so often become a curse for developing states?  In the developing world, oil-producing states are fifty percent more likely to be ruled by autocrats, and more than twice as likely to have civil wars, as non-oil states. They are also more secretive, more financially volatile, and provide women with fewer economic and political opportunities.  For the last thirty years, good geology has led to bad politics. Not all states with oil are susceptible to the...

from “Poison Karoo”

Author’s Note: Poison Karoo is a work of fiction, written out of concern and dismay at the proposals for hydraulic fracking in the Karoo. Ludo is an old man, gray now and with eyes that grow bluer the longer he stares at the sea, longing for the woman he has never seen again, not since those years long ago. He lives alone, and sits on his stoep gazing out over the bay. His house is small and square, turned to face northeast, with its back to Paternoster’s harshest winds. In...

Womb

My name is Nagari. Thirty years of age. There is no need to explain; I understand. . . . That evening, after my bath, my hair still wet, I heard a pounding on the door of my rented room. Three men had come to pick me up. From the sight of the jeep waiting out front; from the low hum of its engine, as light as the evening air; and from their voices,  polite but firm, I knew what was happening. The three men took me to a cold building with slippery  floors. A long corridor...

Francisco Goldman on Roberto Bolaño’s “2666”

This essay was originally featured in the accompanying booklet to Francisco Goldman and Natasha Wimmer's December 4, 2008 discussion of Roberto Bolaño's 2666, held at the Idlewild bookstore in New York City. Natasha Wimmer's essay can be found here—Editors The first Roberto Bolaño novel I read was Estrella Distante. It was Aura's copy and we were at the beach in Mazunte, and I read it pretty much in one sitting, with a few breaks to go in the water....

Tunnel

The roads I walked didn't tire me, the plans I formed to kill myself didn't work, I did not diminish one bit, I did not increase I forgot the night I died in your nakedness. I found myself like an inner pain I neither escaped from your murder nor died there was blood around, it felt cold, desolate . . . Carrying a tunnel's wind-rush in me I passed through the agony, throughout the road, in time's fragments they reckoned me a shiver and yet, except for a...

Water

I won't talk anymore, I won't say harsh words in the morning for a dream I embroider a flower of pearl on my bosom. I never knew, what you understood from my words, I spoke the forest's frightfulness the plain's tranquility silenced you slept a long sleep, I saw the dream. Unceasingly I spoke of a path: I'm water, I didn't forget my name I spoke of a mountain I came across while wandering; I didn't meddle with the world's affairs, the world does not...

An Interview with Péter Esterházy

Péter Esterházy is one of Hungary's foremost contemporary novelists, having won literary distinctions both at home and abroad. A number of his works, including Helping Verbs of the Heart, The Book of Hrabal, She Loves Me, and A Little Hungarian Pornography have all been translated into English. In this interview, we speak about some of the predominant themes in Esterházy's literature, particularly family and language. Esterházy hails from a long line...

The Silence of the Outcasts: An Interview with Dacia Maraini

(Pescasseroli, Easter 2005) To meet with Dacia Maraini and speak with her in peace means going up to the bitter and severe lands of Abruzzo where the writer, who lives in Rome, takes refuge during holidays and in summer. This March, Easter concludes a winter of polar temperatures and the snow in the National Park of Abruzzo remains plentiful. Dacia Maraini loves cross-country skiing and walking in the woods; this is her natural realm, and she settles here to write her books in solitude...

From behind a Closed Window

Is there, out there, a sky Sunny or windy or humid with autumn A sky at dawn, or a sunset sky? Are there, out there, human faces Strange or familiar Happy or hurting Friendly faces, or faces like beasts'? Is there, out there, a nothingness With no future, and no past? Was it I who drew the curtains across the window? Is there, out there, dark earth That buries all flesh that once was beauty That buries all glances, all shut lips? Is there only this place?...

Ice Cream

"Here you are, which do you want: lemon-yellow or rose-pink?" He had bought two ice creams and with a sad look on his face was offering them to her so she could choose. The woman at the cart pocketed the money he had just handed her and was already serving other customers, all the while calling out: "Best ice cream in town." It was always the same: as the moment of parting approached, it seemed as if a bucket of sadness was being poured over him and he would hardly utter a word during...

“I don’t carry your picture in my purse”

I don't carry your picture in my purse; it burns anyway under my eyelids. Every expression, gesture, intonation, without my even wanting it, is etched— most clearly, your back, when you left that inexplicable May, that cruel winter, just as I directed— into the dark, to the left. Translation of "Ei kanna Su pilti käekotis." Copyright Doris Kareva. Translation copyright 2007 by Tiina Aleman. All rights reserved. Read Doris Kareva's "The...

At 30

The first ten years of my life, as the moon exposed its silent craters to my small city far below, the streets filled with shouts, gongs and drums drove out devils, my lame uncle cursed in the yard, and careless, I got kissed by the white rooster's beak. A little girl pulled her pants down before me, and once I ran into the ghost of a suicide on the stairs, but my father raised me high overhead and told me not to fear. Hailstones bounced their lives out on the walk to the...

Ten Short Pieces

The Artist's Likeness Is Like an Artist This tale is rather old: Two painters wanted to see which of them could paint the painting that best imitated reality . . . One of the painters painted the front of a house, and the illusion was so perfect, so exact, that at first his competitor believed he had lost, but then understood that he simply had to enter the painted house and hang the painting that he had painted on a wall inside. The Angel Who Photographed God Who, these days,...

How Far Does the Light

That pomegranate lives the same life, yearns for the same light. Its pointed scarlet blossom is an open mouth, "Ah," gathering every ray of light. This fall, in my red gums, pain burned belatedly, and the soft bones of love that I couldn't accept became sunlight stuck in the distance. Though I have reached the age to stop believing in love I still yearn for light, I call out to somebody, "Ah." Copyright Ra Heeduk. By arrangement with the author. Translation...

Tired Theseus

You took down the pale blue garbage bag with yogurt caps, banana skins, colors like tired oil. So much remains after us by the morning, a streak of dust on the bathtub, lipstick on the tiles, your gaze lined with scale. With dull, used-up kindness you rest your hand in mine. The memory too ferments, the time in common, like cider does— I always wake up to the smell of something sour. Perhaps the carpets. So many patterns in them, to follow those—to roam about with...

For the Voice of the Psalms

Hide me in the shadow of your wings, not to be seen in flight, when I would fly with you, not for the eyes is the wing, the eye breaks off the dove- feather on the upstretched muscles. Dirty guano is all the flutter on the square where tires drive away my jostling shame from the morsels, for so much I long for you, with a split head, with stupid dovelike motion, to be saved. A bird's wing smeared on stone, the flesh is a road to you, if it is, or isn't, at the end, and...

V. Samsara

I have always been intrigued by the fact that cows in India are sacred. Unmolested, they roam the streets of towns and villages. In some parts they have a bell round their neck and a jasmine topknot on their head, sometimes they are painted. But mostly they are wretched. Gaunt, filthy and sick, they munch away on pounds of rotting waste, eating up slops, paper, or bits of material they find along the wayside. Drivers, rickshaw-men and pedestrians break their necks avoiding the cows...

Sun in an Empty Room, 1963

In this bedroom devoid of furniture and unpolluted the action is set. It is filled with sunlight admitted by the window and my footsteps resound as if someone were walking with me. I stand up straight, my eyes intent on something (on what is clearly unimportant). Floating in the nuptial glow of afternoon (the sun already waning) I noted the presence of a shadow, a pulse, a breath. It's just me: tending to be invisible, I rediscover myself and leave a sign. The...

Unity of Form

I've always received kingly presents. I got worn-out pans and rusted teapots, patched up bedsheets and unstitched shirts, books, missing pages ripped out for rollies and a piano with knocked-out teeth on the keyboard, chairs without legs and burnt out light bulbs, writing paper from the times of the Chinese cultural revolution, whatever you write on it-- blood stains appear though its tissue. People zealously granted me headless nails and spools without thread,...

Calligraphy Lesson

Translator's Note: Like much of Mikhail Shishkin's writing, "Calligraphy Lesson" is highly allusive and attentive to the formal qualities of a story both inventively told and steeped in Russian atmospherics. The reader will want to be aware of two issues in particular. First, what the English reader may not realize—but the Russian will pick up instantly—is that the various women's names refer to characters from Russian classics: Sofia Pavlovna from...

The Referee

Fernström would remember later that he had been thinking back to his own playing career while driving through the city that morning. He had felt restless all autumn, but without understanding why. The previous evening, after an early dinner, he told Marjut and Jere that he needed a breath of fresh air, and then he got into the old dark blue Escort, even though he had drunk several glasses of wine with the fish. He had driven from their home in Alppila down to the beach between...

Heart’s Desire

Eliza 812 is a psychiatric computer. All female psychiatric computers are named Eliza, in accordance with a fine old tradition. All males are named Higgins. Eliza is a research project, and her main objective is not to raise the standard of psychiatric care; that can come later. The object is to ascertain to what extent a computer can be made to think and react like a person. The problem at hand holds extensive consequences and presupposes research of an interdisciplinary nature. It...

In the Shade of the Almond Tree

Author's Note: Two major obstacles to happiness remain constant throughout the history of Haitian society: social and economic injustice, and totalitarian tendencies. Poverty can be as cruel as dictatorship in its effect on the individual. When the two join forces against the human spirit, the choices are limited: violence and madness, hopelessness and revolt. Because even in the depths of madness, revolt can lie dormant, only to erupt, savagely and uncontrollably, against those who...

Tales of a Severed Head, I

What city and what night since it's night in the city when a woman and a train-station argue over the same half of a man who is leaving. He is young, handsome he is leaving for a piece of white bread. She is young, beautiful as a springtime cluster trying to flower for the last time for her man who is leaving. But the train arrives but the branch breaks but suddenly it's raining in the station in the midst of spring. And the train emerges from all directions It...

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