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Articles tagged "Natural Disasters"

WWB Weekend: When the Earth Moves

Image: Local prefecture in L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy, after the 2009 earthquake. Wikimedia Commons. This week’s horrific earthquake in central Italy sends us back to the accounts of other quakes elsewhere, as survivors testify to the geographical and emotional havoc wrought by natural disasters. Dany Laferrière’s telegraphic “The World Is Moving around Me” captures the hallucinatory aftermath of the 2013 Haitian earthquake; he...

From Ball Lightning

The descriptions in this book of the characteristics and behavior of ball lightning are based on historical records. Prelude I only remembered that it was my birthday after Mom and Dad lit the candles on the cake and we sat down around fourteen small tongues of flame. The storm that night made it seem as if the whole universe held nothing but the rapid flashes of lightning and our small room. Electric blue bursts froze the rain into solid drops for an instant, forming dense strings...

Seismic Activity

I am one of those writers who like to incorporate the short story in the novel. I did so in some novels, playing with forms. But to place the novel in the short story is another story, virtually impossible. All the more complicated as I write novels in French and short stories in English as a third language. To instill the expansiveness of the novel into the instinctiveness of the short story has been one of my literary dreams for years. I have toyed with the idea till recently when I...

The Sarima’s Mission

Bulul! Tununun! Bululululu! Tununununun! Bulululululululul! Tunununununununu! The voice of the hill resounded in the blue sky, as if several thunderclaps had occurred at one time, or as if a group of stars had collapsed over our heads. I can still hear that echo and feel the great terror that came over me at that moment. Yes, I was very frightened, so much so, that when I became aware of what had happened, I buried my head in my grandmother's shawl. I remember clearly when Maruca,...

from Havana Black

"And get here quick!" he screamed at a sky that seemed languid and becalmed, as if still painted from October's deceptive palette of blue: he screamed, arms crossed, chest bare, bellowing a desperate plea with every ounce of strength his lungs could muster, so his voice would carry and also to check that his voice still existed after three days without uttering a single word. Punished by cigarettes and alcohol, his throat at last felt the relief of creation, and his spirit thrived...

The Sultan’s Flotilla

In ages of old, Jalu was a port city. People called it the "jewel of the seas." Its waters teemed with the ships of pirates and traders. Caravans arrived at Jalu laden with elephant tusk; its markets were replete with spices, slaves, sandal-even Chinese porcelain. All of the people of Jalu lived like Sultans, except the Sultan himself, who was condemned to endure a bizarre sort of apocalypse, a living nightmare so awful, he couldn't bear to rest his head on his pillow or close his...

The Locusts

The village follows a never-changing script: Things are today exactly as they were yesterday, which is the same as they were the day before, and a year before that. There is Omran, dutifully executing his daily chores, drawing water from the well using a bucket raised by a beast of burden. Now he's tossing daily feed to his livestock. Now he's moving back and forth with an ox, cutting a furrow in the ground. From the mountains through which so many tomorrows pass floats a sweet...

from The Ascetic and The Courtesan

A Play in Four Acts *** Author's Note: Tapasvi o Tarangini (The Ascetic and The Courtesan) was published in five consecutive issues of the magazine Desh in 1966, after which it was published as a book with minor changes and additions. On its publication, a number of readers of Desh had written to me objecting to the dating of the legend. According to them, the myth of Rishyasringa was of the 'tretayuga' (the Third Age1), while that of Satyavati, Kunti, and Draupadi...
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