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Articles tagged "Suicide"

Tomorrow, God Willing

Long ago, my father told me that there was a place in Paris, behind a bush, where you could glimpse paradise, which you only saw once because men went there to die. This place was located somewhere in Montsouris Park, he said, hidden between two paths where someone walking would be swept along by the wind, while the dying man entertained his last conversation with himself before ending it all.   On September 6, 2042, I found myself there. Stretched out on the damp grass with a...

Infinite Fall

In Infinite Fall, his second book, Mohamed Leftah takes up one of the “small true facts of the past” (Stendahl’s term). In Leftah’s hometown, a high school boy leaps to his death in front of his classmates. Leftah, one of the boys who witnessed this act, replays the scene in slow motion, and from it opens a meditation on homosexual love, repression, and bigotry, as performed in a small town in Morocco in the 1960s. This “little chronicle” (a...

Amir

This one’s family, Amir would say with a hand on my shoulder, his fingers large and heavy but kind. The other person would look at me, then look at him, then smile slightly before putting out his hand and saying it was a real pleasure to meet any relative of Amir’s. Later, when they knew each other better, Amir would explain to the person that he was actually my stepfather, that’s why we didn’t look alike. But that’s how Amir was, not overly careful when it...

Falling Down Politely, or How to Use Up All Six Bullets Instead of Playing Russian Roulette

But where’s the skill in loading a gun with just one round of ammunition and pointing it at your head, trying your luck at deliverance? The ingenious thing would be to fill all six chambers and let every bullet kill you, one after the other. Bullet 1 Even though the voice ringing out from the stereo in your bedroom belongs to a singer who didn’t die at twenty-seven like those other musical geniuses—Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, that bunch—you still listen to him every...

A Condition

You’re certain that nothing will dissuade you now. Nothing. Not your neighbors’ invitation to the luncheon to celebrate their boys’ circumcision. Not the kind old lady’s pleading to help her write a letter to her faraway son who never visits. Not the laughter of your three-year-old boy (whose laughter—you would say—sounds like a gurgling stomach). Not the mischievous way he clung to the collar of your jallebeya when you saw him outside just a few moments...

The Spectacle

It was late in the evening when he came home. His wife sat on the veranda in front of the house, and he approached their sick five-year-old son who was lying on a bed. He took off his shawl, and as he wiped his head and short beard clean, he asked her how everything was with Bari. His wife, close to tears, answered: —His fever is still high. He is very weak and has been lying there all day. He has no appetite either, I gave him soup a couple of times but he wouldn't eat it....

Dos Manzanas

You have to see him there on the streets of an old neighborhood in Madrid; you have to look for him, young and tanned, with an open white shirt, specked with some paltry design, a style out of fashion, and with his blue jeans, as he hurries along. You have to see him knowing that his name is Abdul Azad, that he is from Tangiers, and that his name, at this very moment, is rattling around in the head of someone else, who, two blocks from there, has laid a trap for him while Abdul walks...

Spaniards Lost in America

Imagine that bus, a coffin on its roof. Its long shadow crossing the desert without witnesses, Pan-American Highway due south, coming from the Peruvian border. And here, in Pampa Hundida, we were waiting for it—with a mixture of fascination and morbid impatience to see how the whole thing would end. Still, sometimes, on glaring sunlit afternoons like this one, when the wind gusts and the dust of the pampas swirls up, I imagine that bus, and I still lose myself thinking about it on...

Narcissus

I read “On the Conduct of Lord Tadanao” when I was thirteen or fourteen, and though I’ve not had an opportunity to reread it since, I still remember the plot some twenty years later. It’s a strangely poignant tale. A young feudal lord, an excellent swordsman, is in the habit of challenging his retainers to fencing matches. One night, after defeating all comers, he is strolling complacently through the garden when he overhears the following disconcerting words,...

His Majesty

When I was a child, until someone told me a story I couldn't sleep. One day I was down with a high fever from morning to night. My mother, Ammajan, sat by the bed massaging my head. Granny Mughlani, whose house was next door, heard the news about me, so she came over and began rubbing the soles of my feet. My loving Granny Mughlani must have been around eighty at the time. Her love for me was boundless. To this day, I remember her face, her love, the things she said. Her face was the...

The Dancer and Her Body

At eleven, it was decided that she would become a dancer. With her peculiar disposition and a flair for grimacing and contorting her limbs, she seemed well suited to this profession. Previously careless in her every step, she now learned how to master her elastic ligaments, her too-flat joints. She infiltrated—cautiously and patiently, again and again—her toes, her ankles, her knees; rapaciously descended upon her narrow shoulders and the curve in her slender arms;...

Level A

A-Gump had already been called A-Gump.1 At that time, the American movie Forrest Gump wasn't around yet. However, nobody knew about this. If A-Gump didn't mention it, nobody would know. Among all the people who called her A-Gump, everyone assumed that first there was the male A-Gump in Forrest Gump, followed by her, the female A-Gump. Basically nobody had doubts about the name of A-Gump. A-Gump, however, always had lots of doubts. Really, even if she hadn't been talking...

The Other Life

I had to die to find out whether anybody loved me. When alive, I was never very popular, and it was a real problem for me that I fought very vigorously and quite without success. At home, if I didn't initiate a conversation, my wife and children felt they only had to give me the time of day for purely practical matters. At work, when I was out sick, nobody noticed my absence. So the reactions provoked by my death came as no surprise. The mild dismay invading the family scene had more...

The Bergkvist Sisters

  I've had a lot of time lately, and I've been thinking about the King and Queen. They were Crown Prince and Princess then, of course, but what if they hadn't had a son second time around? Would they have just had to keep going? There's got to be a boy after all, hasn't there, a future king? Imagine the Crown Princess after giving birth eight times, after the eighth girl she'd have looked totally exhausted. That's how things were for Ellen anyway....

Other People

It was always the same. The express trains were drafty. They kept them too cold, and no matter how warm the jacket, it didn't help. Mareike knew this stretch, she could recite the stations in order. Yet once again she had forgotten to pack a scarf, an undershirt, thick socks. The landscape, arid and unremarkable, flew by, the weather report had forecast 86 degrees. And she was sitting here freezing. It was her boss's fault. It was the new branch office in the north's fault....

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...

Fragments from “Real Life for the Last Scene of a Movie”

"Nothing can be more important than love." --Gidon Kremer I. Out of necessity We had to walk. This necessity made me happy. I hadn't been this happy for a long while, I thought. It's hot. Stifling heat one would call it-that's the kind of heat we're having. Not a single cloud in the sky. The blue of the sky is the prettiest blue I've ever seen. I don't like whitish blue. This blue has both the dark and light hues in it . . . The sky is not actually the way I...

Hysteria

"I really didn't do anything," a woman sobbed. "I didn't even go near a factory. I've never once been to a strange rally," the woman shouted. "I have no interest in who died from self-immolation or in who jumped from the roof of a building or why," the woman wailed, pulling out her hair. "I didn't do a thing except sit like an animal. Who brought me here? Why am I being locked up? My uterus is a piece of rotten iron. I can't even give birth to a son who...

To

And our house is down there too. See it, down there? There, just behind the school, there, I say pointing, but nobody answers, and when I stop talking I can hear only the sound of air around me, wind, it's blustery and I zip up my jacket, peer over the edge, it's a long way down, and there below me the lights have come on, and I turn up the gas so that the balloon keeps rising, it's not snowing, I am on the way up, the snow has stopped and below me, down there, is the...
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