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32 article(s) translated from Catalan

Adam Gerber’s Good-bye

I Adam Gerber says good morning:                                                             “Good morning, trees, good morning, sky, good morning, morning;...

Under the Sign of Anaximander

I I was raised by a depressed mother and an alcoholic father. Mother soon stopped being a mom in every sense of the word and became more of a nuisance than an iconic figure, just a body to trip over. And Pops was tripping on her less and less, ‘cause when my older sisters seemed ready, straight away he started banging them, first one then the other, till finally he was banging one in front of the other, and I was starting to see myself as next on the list; soon as the girls...

A Stitch in Time

The mossos came this morning. I’d been expecting them for days. When I opened the door, they were still out of breath. That’s not unusual. Visitors get to my seventh-floor attic apartment on their last legs, as there’s no elevator. The stairs have high steps and are an effort to climb, and rather than taking them calmly, like Carmeta and me, they must have rushed at them hellbent for leather, like a couple of lunatics. I expect their uniforms set the neighbors’...

Landscape with Strikers

At nine a.m. the few people standing around on the subway platform are watching the news on the screens provided by the Barcelona Channel. The trains comply scrupulously with the minimum-service laws. They are running half-empty and many seats are unoccupied, which would be unthinkable at this time of day any other day, when occupancy approaches that of sardines in a can. In front of the Goya Theater, at the top of Joaquín Costa, there are fewer whores than usual. Perhaps in...

My Brother

Midway through Christmas dinner one year, absent any illness or prior warning that might have led us to suspect some problem with his health—not even a tiny, unobtrusive one—my brother died. He had never been a very active kid. He had frequent dizzy spells, and he didn’t like to play soccer or get drunk with the guys when we went to the Chinese restaurant back behind the school (not so much because the food was cheap as because they would bring us little glasses of...

The Game

It’s the son’s idea: he’ll hide in an armoire and, when his father walks by, he’ll jump out and scare him. The boy opens the doors, clambers under the lowest shelf, and, from inside, silently closes them. After a while, he hears his father’s voice. At first he calls him in a normal tone of voice. Soon, it becomes more uneasy. Back and forth through the house, the father repeats his son’s name, with increasing volume, increasing irritation. When, judging...

Immolation

Husband and wife contemplate the silhouette of the tower. The woman feels particularly affectionate, and she hugs her husband. "I really wanted to make this trip." They kiss. The husband caresses his wife's hair. They look at the tower again. "What time do we have to be in Florence?" the woman asks. "In the evening. Are you hungry? Should we get the car and go have lunch someplace close by?" "Yes, but let's go to the top of the tower first." "The tower? No way."...

Mr. Beneset

Mr. Beneset’s son arrives at the geriatric home and greets the girl at reception: a nice, sensible girl who was, in fact, the one who, when he was looking for a home for Mr. Beneset, tipped the balance and led him to pick this one and not the other one, in Putxet, which he’d also liked. She and Mr. Beneset’s son chat about this and that. About life in general, about Easter Week, which is fast approaching, about the newly asphalted road and about how Mr. Beneset has been...

Honesty

The nurse walks into Room 93 pushing a cart carrying a tray with a glass of water, a jar of capsules, a thermometer, and a file folder rest. She says "Good evening" and approaches the patient's bed. He lies there with his eyes closed. She looks at him with no particular interest, consults the clipboard at the foot of the bed where the instructions are written, takes a capsule out of the jar she brought in on the cart and, as she picks up the glass of water, says: "Mr. Rdz, it's...

Then

Then with her hands she’d crown her son’s head, then with her arms she’d embrace him,      then with her fingers she’d pluck out his eyes, then with her teeth she’d gnaw his liver, then with motherly claws    she’d shred his memories, then with her nipples she’d nourish him on the milk of hatred, then with her tongue, she’d insist, Lord, Lord, I’m only doing this for love, because...

Shave

Observe yourself in the mirror, unchanged yet strange, still shaggy with sleep, startled at seeing your likeness. These wrinkles, these graying temples that you’ve already accepted gracefully —affable guests who showed up so suddenly, that you can’t quite recall            just when they initially appeared. They represent the shameless price required for this fictitious intimacy with the body. And now, begin to...

Thirty Lines

The writer begins typing cautiously. He has to write a short story. Lately everyone’s talking about the virtues of short fiction, but he, if he were honest, would confess that he detests stories in general, and short ones in particular. Still, not wanting to miss a trick, he’s been forced to join the ranks of prevaricators who feign enthusiasm for brevity. That’s why he’s terrified at how lightly his fingers skip across the keys, one word followed by another, then...

The Fork

This takes place one radiant Sunday in April, in a restaurant in a town at the foot of a mountain on which there is still snow at the peak. At lunchtime, when the majority of tables are still empty, two couples, nearer to sixty than to fifty, arrive. One of the men walks into the dining room engrossed in a sports paper. It’s clear that they come to this restaurant a lot, because they greet the owner informally, kiss cheeks and talk about how long it’s been since they’ve...

Brine

I wake up with an overwhelming urge to cry, but, since today’s going to be a busy day, I decide to cry later. I leave for the office and arrive just in time for the first meeting of the day. While the general manager reads a report about increased costs and reduced expenses (or vice versa), I draw a hammer and sickle on a notepad. There is a sack of tears still rolling around in my stomach and, sooner or later, I’ll have to pop it. Once in my office, I choose suppliers...

Summer

She stopped in front of a shop window full of umbrellas, and her friend, who was walking ahead of her, suddenly turned around: "Carme, we'll get separated!" Her name was Carme. He had followed them all the way from Travessera de Gràcia—the street where he had worked for eleven years—to Pàdua. Now, as he leaned over the railing on the balcony off the gallery, he could still see the sheer, pearl-gray dress with the very pale pink—almost...

Happiness

Last night, before falling asleep, she had realized winter was almost over. "No more cold," she thought, stretching out between the sheets. As if from a limpid world, the clear sounds of the night reached her, restored to their original purity. The ticking of the clock, almost imperceptible during the day, filled the room with a nervous throb, causing her to imagine a clock in a land of giants. The steps on the pavement seemed to her like those of an assassin, or a madman escaped from an...

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...

Field of Battle, Field of Fruit

Spreading out like a dense forest, shaking and rippling like a field of corn combed by the north wind, a hypnotic wave, a river above craggy peaks, the flock is like a cloud-filled sky when a storm is mounting, when more than a thousand eyes are needed to encompass them all or none, so as not to see them at all, and hear the simultaneous fluttering and fashioning of this hologram, the flock above, a whole mirror. "Do birds float?" "Yes, of course they float," his father says, "and see...

Ice Cream

"Here you are, which do you want: lemon-yellow or rose-pink?" He had bought two ice creams and with a sad look on his face was offering them to her so she could choose. The woman at the cart pocketed the money he had just handed her and was already serving other customers, all the while calling out: "Best ice cream in town." It was always the same: as the moment of parting approached, it seemed as if a bucket of sadness was being poured over him and he would hardly utter a word during...

End of the Line

Six days a week, at the exact same time, the locomotive slices through the stillness of the landscape. Neither the trees nor the hills take note; only the cow watches the train go by. From his cab, the engineer waves a hand in greeting and the animal responds by swishing her tail back and forth, which also serves to fan her udders. They've been repeating this ritual for years, but the engineer knows that today is the last time. He's retiring tomorrow. The idea of a future free...

Waiting Room

The love you didn't expect is always more pure. It is a gift of compassion where time, more austere and uncertain, more absolute, seems to stop on the dime of your silences. Knowing that you are there makes me be and grow indifferent to its power, dig in my heels before the scythe that cuts the threads, so thin, of our black sails. Translation of "Sala d'espera." First published in Natura morta amb nens (Barcelona: Quaderns crema, 2000). Copyright 2000 Francesc...

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...

We Were Just Talking about You

A little after three p.m. on 13 March, 2006, my wife said: "Sit down." She didn't look me in the eye and, as if she'd been rehearsing this move, made it fairly plain that we should separate, that she no longer loved me, and that I should look for a flat as soon as possible. Perhaps because I'd smelled this coming, I didn't try to fight back. It took me only a few days to find a flat, and, for some reason or other, I asked my wife if she wanted to come to look at it with...

I Have Nothing to Wear

The man faces the mirror. He has just shaved and taken a shower. With one hand he pinches the little spare tire in his waist, observes it in the mirror, and clucks his tongue. He hesitates about what to wear. Being unsure, he figures that he'll go faster if he first puts on his T-shirt and briefs. He picks up the white briefs with thin blue stripes. He checks them for tears. Puts them on. But then, as he holds his T-shirt in front of him, he thinks he'll be better off not...

Afternoon at the Cinema

Sunday, 2 June Ramon and I went to the Rialto this afternoon. We had quarreled earlier and I was almost in tears when he was buying the tickets. It was over something stupid, I know. It started like this. I went to bed last night at one o'clock. I stayed up past twelve on account of the electric blue thread I misplaced, and without the thread I couldn't finish the smocking. And Mamà was in a bad mood. "You never pay attention to where you put things, just like your...

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