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Articles tagged "Rape"

The True Story of “Faccetta Nera”

“I was on a TV talk show the other day, and something curious happened.” Those are the opening words of a Facebook post that Maryan Ismail, an Italo-Somali political activist, published recently. The curious thing that happened occurred in a television studio. Maryan, who is a longtime political activist working in Milan, has made up her mind to express her defiance of racism by speaking openly everywhere she can, including on TV. Of course, she doesn’t talk about...

From “A Butterfly in the Hills”

Novelist and playwright Koulsy Lamko came to Rwanda in 1998 as part of a project entitled "Writing by Duty of Memory," which brought a dozen African writers to Rwanda and provided each with a commission to write a text. The authors interviewed survivors, met with perpetrators, and visited many memorial sites. Most of these sites were churches where Tutsi had fled, hoping to find protection and refuge. During the genocide in 1994, however, there were no sacred places. Four years after the...

Brine, Blood, and Mother’s Milk

For the woman with bound hands, a vacant stare, and an impudent bottom, whom I glimpsed at Corail one morning during the season of storms I’ve turned my skin inside out, but I can still feel the treachery of their gestures and mutterings. Braced against the heaving of the boat, my body rides over the crashing waves. I am capsizing in a sinister darkness where silence no longer exists, and I must patiently reconstruct my solitude. Why does that woman on my right insist on poking...

Carlos Franz’s “The Absent Sea”

 “Where were you Mamá, when all those horrible things were taking place in your city?”  This question, put to Laura by her daughter Claudia, is what has drawn The Absent Sea’s protagonist back to the fictional town of Pampa Hundida at the start of novelist Carlos Franz’s exploration of the turbulent aftermath of Chile’s 1973 coup.    Pampa Hundida is a recurring setting for Franz’s work.  He places it in the northern part...

The Story of a Homosexual: An Interview with Ni Dongxue

I met Ni Dongxue in 2006, in a quiet and nicely decorated gay bar through two musician friends who played in a band there. The bar is located in the city’s Moziqiao region, a popular nightlife spot. A pioneer and recognized leader in Chengdu’s gay community, the then-thirty-six-year-old Ni graduated from Beijing Teachers’ University with a master’s degree in psychology. Ni wore heavy makeup and a bright yellow shirt. He said he visited the place every week to...

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...

Settling Accounts

My father abandoned my mother a few months after I was born. So my mother and I had to move into the home of my maternal grandmother. My mother had only one brother, Uncle Otávio, a failed economist who worked for an import firm for a pitiful salary. A friend of his was elected president of the nation and made him head of a large state entity, where he had the opportunity to get rich through corrupt measures, allowing him to give his mother, my grandmother, a life of luxury. She...

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...

Tweety

A faint sound emerged from the night; or maybe it was an almost imperceptible smell that drifted out of the darkness, soothing somehow, like the smell that comes off of boats and wet wooden docks, and though Tweety didn't grasp it intellectually, he felt how it affected him. It very nearly discharged something inside him, opened it up like a jammed valve in the back of his mind, and all at once he realized that he still had the power. It positively teemed inside him, especially in...

from A Walk in the Dark

1 You never quit smoking. You give up for a while. Days, months, years. But you never quit completely. Cigarettes are always there, lying in wait. Sometimes they appear in the middle of a dream, even five or ten years after you've "quit." You feel the touch of the paper on your fingers, you hear the soft, dull, reassuring noise it makes when you tap it on your desk, you feel the touch of the ochre filter on your lips, you hear the scrape of the match and you see the yellow flame...

Last Rites

The maid whispers, "It's Sixto, he wants to know if you can come out to see his boss, says the poor old woman won't last until morning." I listen to the news with a feigned serenity, the languidness of one who knows too well that death comes to each of us in time, while holding back the cry of HALLELUJAH that jumps to the back of my throat and stifling the joyful itch in my sex, in my prominent belly, resisting the war drums that echo in my temples which have gone gray with years...

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...

Shreds

I was born in Surinam in the district of Commewijne. Some of the plantations in that fertile, once-wealthy district had meaningful names: Mon Souci, Mon Trésor, Peace and Delight, Mutual Care. I come from Spite and Remorse. Most of the plantations no longer exist. Abandoned by their inhabitants, the buildings collapsed. Sluices silted up and fields became swamps and breeding grounds for caiman. The trading stations fell prey to parasites, weeds and choking liana. Slowly, the...

from African Psycho

I I have decided to kill Germaine on December 29. I have been thinking about this for weeks—whatever one may say about it, killing someone requires both psychological and logistical preparation. I believe I have now reached the necessary state of mind, even if I have yet to choose the means with which I will do the deed. It is now a question of detail. I'd rather give myself a bit of latitude on this practical point, and in so doing add a measure of improvisation to my...

Bloodred Dew

The two men were alone now. Or was it two women? The night stretched on endlessly. So did the mountain. And the frosted sky lying lightly over the mountain began to pale. The mountain stood facing them, bristling with rocky spurs, with clusters of thorn bushes: snow-dusted specters, already white-congealed. The men (the women?) were two lone figures. The silhouettes that had been climbing for quite some time now might well have been taken for two phantoms. Just the two men, alone, cut...

Yoo Retoont, Sneogg.  Ay Noo

On the floor, several bright spots formed a row. Snorg liked to watch them move slowly across the dull tiles. The spots of light were different from the glow that suffused the Room. He had discovered some time ago that the source of this light was the small windows near the ceiling. He liked to lie on the floor so the spots would warm him. He wanted to do this now. He tried to move his arms but managed only to fall helplessly off the bed. "Dags . . . ," he hissed between clenched teeth. He...

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