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April 2012


Image: Margie Schnibbe, For the Love of Amber Vega. (2008) Paper, fabric, yarn, wood, plastic, glazed ceramic, gels, lights. 120” x 108” x 96”. Circus Gallery, Los Angeles. Pictured: adult performers Page Morgan and Alex Gonz

If love makes the world go 'round, sex is what keeps it spinning, and this month we're reeling with writing on this most universal of themes. In these stories sex is both subject and object, cause and effect.  See how Fatima al-Ali, Nadine Bismuth, Rubem Fonseca, Mar Gómez Glez, Eduardo Halfon, Fernando Iwasaki, Hanoch Levin, Giulio Mozzi, Felix Palma, Adrian Sangeorzan, Care Santos, and Sebastiano Vassalli address the facts (and fictions) of life. We trust you'll be seduced. Elsewhere, we present Chinese writers Zhu Wen and Xu Zechen, and the second installment of Sakumi Tayama's “Hole in the Garden.”

Beyond this Darkness and this Silence

The majority of women can’t bear the idea of sleeping with someone they can’t see.



The tongues of flesh were captivating as they rose and fell, row by row, like a wave, the wings moving only slightly.


To Troy, Helen

She had undressed me then as if she were peeling a piece of fruit.


The Hunchback and Botticelli’s Venus

A hunchback either becomes impotent or burns in a fire of lasciviousness that never cools for a single instant, like the heat of hell.


The Ringing Body

I’m passionately in love with your voice . . . only your voice.


I am a thief of strong emotions. I listen to the moans and shouts of others.

Good Women and Bad Women

I want to know where you got this filth.


The Bicycle Factory

What was better: to lie in the ground with a uterus or to live above it without one?

The Sex Life of the Writer

The more a man cultivates the arts the less he fornicates.



With even more refined manners I propose she sticks a ballpoint up the cat’s rectum.



They plumb in crude terms the physical attributes of her desired but unobtainable physique.

The Schoolyard

I was three and he was four.



Book Reviews

Osamu Dazai’s “Schoolgirl”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

Hardly anything about this book seems to have aged, least of all the narrator herself, who is perfectly preserved somewhere along the road to adolescence.

Andrey Kurkov’s “The General’s Thumb”

Reviewed by Christopher Tauchen

A retired general is found dead in central Kiev—hanged, apparently, from a giant Coca-Cola advertising balloon.

Etgar Keret’s “Suddenly, a Knock on the Door”

Reviewed by Andrew Seguin

If a man comes knocking at your door to steal your magic goldfish, what do you do?

Abdellah Taia’s “An Arab Melancholia”

Reviewed by Shaun Randol

Yet, it is not homosexuality or an Islamic culture that torments the narrator of "An Arab Melancholia"; rather, love is the tyrant in this brief, emotional saga.

Recent Issues

The Center of the World: Writing from Cabo Verde

Child's Play: International Children's Literature

Against the Canon: Urdu Feminist Writing

International Graphic Novels: Volume XIV

On the Road: International Writing on Travel

Criminal Minds: International True Crime

In Our Own Words: Writing from the Philippines

The Comic Edge: Arabic Humor

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