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Articles tagged "World War Ii"

From the Archives: Spring Comes to the Mountains

In this endless winter, when spring seems distant as the sun, we turn to Mario Rigoni Stern's luminous "Spring," beautifully translated by Gregory Conti, from our March 2007 issue. Rigoni Stern opens with his childhood memories of winter's end in the Italian mountains—"in the month of March, when the thaw opened up the passes"—and the keen anticipation of spring; with his grandfather he writes a postcard: "To the Head of the Black Swifts | Alexandria, Egypt, Africa:...

Ludwig and I Kill Hitler for No Reason (or, A Berlin Springtime)

"Another piece of pepperoni?" Ludwig offered generously. "Thanks, I'm full." I patted my stomach. "Full," Ludwig repeated the word, enchanted. "It's been so long since I heard that word." He glanced affectionately at the pepperoni stick lying on the uncovered table, as if looking at an old friend who'd helped him relive a pleasant childhood experience, and stroked the peel nostalgically. From time to time, they could hear the shelling out there and if you pressed your...

The Navidad Incident: The Downfall of Matías Guili

The Navidad Incident takes place in the fictional South Sea island republic of Navidad. The novel opens as a delegation of Japanese war veterans pays an official visit to the ex-World War II colony, only to see the Japanese flag burst into flames. The following day, the tour bus, and its passengers, simply vanish. BUS REPORT 1 At 6:00 A.M., lowest ebb tide, a bus was sighted crossing the lagoon between Gaspar and Baltasár islands, sending ripples across the surface. The yellow...

Shigeru Mizuki’s “Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths”

The Japanese story form known as manga—with its extended plotlines and distinct pictorial style—falls somewhere between graphic novel and comic book. Widely read in Japan, where it is a $4 billion industry, manga depicts stories of everything from shogunate sword fights to the lives of high-school tennis stars. A typical work may contain several shorter storylines and can range from 200 to 400 pages in length. Despite the genre’s popularity in Japan, important works of...

Beyond the Fog

1 Throughout the day English sahibs, memsahibs, and their baba log cross the bridge on mules and horses or riding in rickshaws and dandis. In the evening, the same bridge becomes the site of milling crowds of Indians. The swarm of rushing humanity going up and down the slopes huffing and puffing looks like the surge of a massive tidal wave. Movies starring Esther Williams, Joan Fontaine, Nur Jahan, and Khursheed are playing in the local cinemas. Skating continues in the rinks. In the...

from “Gypsy Mandalas”

10th Mandala I realized early on inside my mother’s belly that I’d be born a Gypsy. The realization made me drown at least twice in the embryonic fluid, but then I decided to resurrect myself. After all, being a Gypsy can’t be any worse than the state of the world itself. I’ll muddle through it somehow, just like all the other Gypsies.   14th Mandala While my father was taking an extension course in jail—due partly to having beaten up one of the...

Käte Frankenthal, an Activist Physician

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Me and My Circumstance

Ortega y Gasset famously defined the individual by saying "Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia" (I am I and what's around me). Although I may have said that I sort of backed into translation without having thought about it or having set my sights on it, I do have within me certain ingredients, innate or circumstantial, that could be said to have tilted me in that direction. Many far-flung genes have come to rest in my being, given the fact that my grandparents were born in four different...

It’s Not Time For . . .

It's not time for a change. As long as I can remember it's never been time for a change. Like cars that screech to a halt houses stand poised in their old breeding ground of rotten acacia leaves.From ribs that bulge like knots on a bundle of wet ropes a faint voice arises, crying, "choose!" Choose between memory and that peculiar stench. . . . Choose between clouds and earth. I tremble like a tree in a winter storm. I wait. I don't understand but I...

from Étoile Errante

Set first in the village of Saint-Martin in southeast France, then in the refugee camp of Nour Chams, Étoile Errante (Wandering Star) tells the story of two teenage girls on the threshold and in the aftermath of World War II: Esther, a French Jew who flees for Jerusalem with her mother, Elizabeth, just before the German occupation; and Nejma, a young Arab orphaned and unable to return to the ancient city of her birth, Akka, after the Israeli declaration of statehood. The following...

Games on the Banks of the Danube

Everybody knows you can't choose your place of birth, any more than you can select your parents. My birthplace is located on a body of water; human hands have altered and straightened the banks so many times that these waters are no longer referred to as a river, but rather a canal. This canal empties into the Tisza, and the Tisza flows into the Danube. My memories of the Danube begin in the summer of 1941. My parents, who had been so inept as to be Jews, were already under arrest...
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