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WWB Weekend: Summer’s Dying

By Savannah Whiting

If your plans for the weekend include combing through the Words without Borders archives, be sure to read these favorites, which capture the universal melancholy of late summer.

In “Delta,” from our June 2015 Queer Issue, Zuska Kepplová sets her fumbling lovers adrift on a beach at the ends of Europe: 

We were in paradise. I wanted to be madly in love there. Maybe she wanted the same thing. But we just lay next to each other and talked. We swam and we ate fish. We were having a good time. Not a bit better. But that was enough.

Magdalena Mullek's translation is brilliant, moody, and full of memorable passages like this one.

Next, Yasmina Khadra's “Absence,” from our September 2007 “African Voices” issue, is strewn with vivid images of an Algerian resort town where summer is winding to a close: 

The beaches are deserted. On the suddenly dull sand, a few remnants of a temporary camp, broken glass, a forgotten scarf, a women's magazine, a limp sandal and, when the waves retreat, an abandoned deck chair . . .

In Lulu Norman's gorgeous translation, the end of the season reverberates with more tragic losses as an imagined romance gives way to bleak reality.


Published Sep 11, 2015   Copyright 2015 Savannah Whiting

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