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Articles tagged "Mental Illness"

Head Weight

In all honesty, Ruben was at a loss to explain what was happening to him. He told his friends and family a story about feeling tired and drained, while he in himself saw a different sort of picture: somebody, who knows who, some huge and powerful being was squeezing him the way the last squirts of toothpaste are squeezed from a toothpaste tube. The crush of those huge fingers, the blunt thumb and the slightly angular index finger, produced so much pain at times in Ruben that, lying in...

Sentimental Education

I went out the back door of the sanatorium. Before me stretched a flat lawn bordered by a tall hedge. The early autumn sun had turned the tops of the linden trees more golden than green. Dressed in identical light robes, the patients standing or sitting on benches resembled blue statues dotted about an open-air exhibit. Nothing moved, like in a movie still. Disrupting this tranquility, I headed across the lawn toward the farthest bench on the left. The patient I wanted to see was always...

The Man in the Travel Trailer

"Impossible" must be eliminated from our vocabularies! —Napoleon Bonaparte Professor Pizier lives in a trailer. In order to be prepared, as he says. He's set for his getaway. His bags are packed. He has ten canisters of gasoline and if need be, could escape to North Africa via Malaga and Algeciras without stopping at a pump. If "they" come, they won't catch him. They caught him forty times. They locked him up in a camp forty times—but he always managed to slip out....

from “Angel”

The Windows Butch blinked. But it wouldn't go away. He could see it, the blood, like a red honeycomb, like a membrane, in his left eye. Then in his right. Before, the blood had poured from the sky, falling into his eyes. He'd had an urge to recoil, to curl himself up around the red spot spreading quickly across his retina, to envelop it in his muscles, tendons, bones, hair, everything that was undoubtedly him, and dissolve the vision inside him somehow. He soon realized it was...

East End

Bel has rented the only David Cronenberg film I haven't seen. It's about "the breakdown of communication between a loner and an inhospitable world." In the first scene, young Spider, the protagonist, is the last to get off a train, and we can see immediately that he's different from the other passengers. Something seems to have clouded his mind, he stumbles as he steps down with his small, odd suitcase. He's attractive, but it's clear he's mentally disturbed, a...

Can Anybody Hear Me?

Galina Petrova was walking to work under the weight of a humid, suffocating heat. There were only two blocks to go, but she had started dragging her feet. She stopped at the kiosk on the corner to catch her breath and drank from her water bottle. She thought of the conversation she'd had that morning with her husband, Liosha, and instinctively bit her lip. That's how birds make their nests, by stealing. Well, we're birds, too. Those had been his exact words. Exhausted, she...

The First Day

Author's note: I left Iran in 1979, the year of the Islamic Revolution, and settled in Paris with my two small children. I was naïve enough to think that the chaotic upheaval of the beginning eventually would settle into normal life, and I could return. The increased hostility of the government toward the intellectuals and the war with Iraq, which lasted eight years, forced me to stay longer that I had imagined. I was educated in America and did not speak French. I had to start...

The Golem in the Mirror

I dreamed of Prague at night. It looked the way each of us to whom the words "Old City" speak at least a little would imagine. I knew the Golem had returned, and I ran through the streets hoping to find it. The rain had just passed and "the wet eaves glimmered like sabers," I thought to myself in my sleep. Ahead of me flickered a yellow body, obviously soft, like something made of dough. I was surprised how quickly it moved, and I dashed down a narrow alley to cut off its path. The Golem...

Empress

One morning when she and her mother were making the bed--she was on one side, her mother on the other--Cecilia showed the first sign of madness. She suddenly said, "The plain is moving. There will be a disaster." Her mother looked at her uncertainly. "What did you say?" and Cecilia answered, "What?" in such a way that it was clear she didn't remember speaking the sentence. Her mother repeated it to her. "The plain is moving. There will be a disaster." But seeing the look of total...

Boarding Home

Introduction: Willie in Miami, Rey in Nueva York by Norberto Fuentes Three of us made up that sad brotherhood at the end of the Sixties in Cuba: Guillermo Rosales, Reinaldo Arenas, and their faithful servant. We called Guillermo Willie Van Der Roses, but now I couldn't tell you now why we Germanized his identity. Everyone else called him Guillermito. As far as Reinaldo was concerned, he was Rey. Rey was an add-on to our original duo, that of Willie and me, who had been together...

from Yalo

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: "Yalo" is the story of an interrogation, by a nameless officer, of Daniel Habil Abyad, a young man of Assyrian Christian background who is accused, among other crimes, of raping women and robbing their lovers in a pine forest on the edge of Beirut close to the house where he is employed as a guard. From the start, however, it is Yalo, Daniel's alter ego, who asserts himself as the story's true protagonist. In part, perhaps, because of his upbringing in a...

from “Nettles”

IV. At what line and on what page did they begin their emigration the mother asks herself ought one to connect it to the windows which reflect and stare at each other to the rains which jump feet together on our roof the mother had neither pencil nor blackboard to count their leaps the mother didn't know how to count she took them for cats when they were warriors they weren't warriors either but curved lines walking in their sleep Statements of small importance...

from “Ivy”

1. Accidental Colors That winter our lives would become entangled with disasters and iniquities like creeping ivy. While we were unaware of each other's existence, chance events would bind us together. Our loves, sorrows, losses and desires would intertwine like thin, persistent ivy stems. Not because I keep thinking such nonsense as coincidences being the atoms of life, but because I shaved my head three days ago and my bristly gray hair is trying to pierce through my almost...

Two or Three Things from the Past

I So hot then red trucks loaded with burning tongues forward forward again disappearing deep down inside escaped students rolling toward hometown Ah the summer of the era schools closed theaters closed weeds in parks loudspeakers over the basketball courts a revolution full blast in Mandarin only teenagers on the bank of an ancient river felt the call they opened their pants took hold of that little thing that had always brought them pleasure like cavemen drilling on a piece...

Toba Tek Singh

Two or three years after Partition, the governments of Pakistan and India decided to exchange lunatics in the same way that they had exchanged civilian prisoners. In other words, Muslim lunatics in Indian madhouses would be sent to Pakistan, while Hindu and Sikh lunatics in Pakistani madhouses would be handed over to India. I can't say whether this decision made sense or not. In any event, a date for the lunatic exchange was fixed after high level conferences on both sides of the...

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