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January 2022

Animal Kingdom

Image: Issa Watanabe, from the book Migrantes, published 2019 by Libros del Zorro Rojo. Courtesy of the artist.

This month we’ve traveled back in time and through our archive to round up international stories featuring animals. In settings from rural Galicia to metropolitan Hong Kong and narratives that swing from the tragic to the absurd, writers from eight countries explore the complexities of human-animal relationships. In Baghdad, Hassan Blasim sees an incongruous pet deployed in a deadly prank. Ilana Zeffren’s cats provide a running commentary on events in their Tel Aviv home, while Cameroon’s Patrice Nganang channels a happily domesticated dog. Xi Xi’s bereaved Hong Kong cat owner mourns with a vengeance, and Estonia’s Eeva Park confronts a feral stray. In stories from three regions and languages of Spain, Álvaro Cunqueiro reins in a Galician Mr. Ed, Sergi Pàmies joins a retiring Catalan’s farewell to his favorite colleague, and Madrileño Juan José Millás observes a beach vacation gone south. Singapore’s Wong Koi Tet sets a superstitious man on the trail of an escaped panther. And a Himalayan folktale shows the value of harmonious human-animal coexistence and the irreversible cost of its disruption.

An International Menagerie: Animal Stories

Some of the animals here possess the power of speech, deploying it to often subversive ends.

End of the Line

Much in the same way that for thirty years he's been incapable of breaking the rules, today he just doesn't see himself having the heart to comply with them.

The Green Zone Rabbit

Wasn’t it your bloody rabbit that laid the egg?

This is How it is When You’re Involved with Sensitive Girls

cover image

I choose to keep away from shrinks and still end up on their sofa.

A Dog’s Life

He was old and filthy and probably hadn’t eaten for some time.

Black Panther

One thought occupied his mind all this time: that he might not have a son to perform his last rites.

Agony in the Kitchen

Surveying the men near him to see which ones looked more athletically inclined, he selected the members of a prospective rescue party.

Alberte Merlo’s Horse

So began many long months of conversation between Alberte and his horse.

Davin Chan Moves Out

Then, with the aid of a scalpel, he would dismember the body for disposal but save the woman’s breasts and pudenda.

When the Deer Moved Away

Deeku refused to understand the close bond between the humans and the deer and their dependence on each other.

Barking

I perform without any rage when my master calls me, even if I always shuffle along a little while I do it.

Book Reviews

Masha Mohebali’s “In Case of Emergency”: A 24-Hour Hero’s Journey

Reviewed by Benjamin Woodard

Masha Mohebali's novel is a snappy, inventive picaresque with an unforgettable lead.

Shukri Mabkhout’s “The Italian”: Characters Caught in a Sea Change

Reviewed by Elaine Margolin

Shukri Mabkhout's award winning novel shows characters attempting to navigate a society in tumult.

Samar Yazbek’s “Planet of Clay”: The Urgency of Telling

Reviewed by Ben Goldman

Samar Yazbek's novel uses a memorable narrator to explore the indelibility of storytelling.

Antonio Gamoneda’s “Castilian Blues”: Songs No Longer Silenced

Reviewed by Jose-Luis Moctezuma

Antonio Gamoneda's collection of poems interprets the American blues tradition with powerful results.

Recent Issues

Our Nueva York: Writing the City in Spanish

The Language of Identity: Kaaps Writing from South Africa

Voices on the Verge: Writing from Southeast Asian Creole Languages

The Slow Burn of Inner Chaos: Writing from Malaysia

Backstories: Afro-Italian Women Writers

The Queer Issue XII

Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

On the Edge: Writing from Iceland

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