Image: Serban Savu, Untitled, 2006, oil on canvas, 50x33 cm Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B
As the Northern Hemisphere hunkers down into winter, we’re bunkering in with a variety of captivity narratives. Imprisonment both literal and figurative is in order here, as jailers and captives consider all sorts of confinements. Alain Blottière portrays a season in hell as Rimbaud runs guns and more on the African coast of the Red Sea. Đỗ Bích Thúy’s deracinated daughter is drawn back into family bonds. Ivana Rogar’s isolated wife takes no prisoners, and Lina Wolff’s jaded young mistress is roped into revenge. Mohamed Nedali’s young Moroccan couple can’t escape the country’s byzantine corruption. In prison tales, Romania’s Matéi Visniec captures a freed inmate's disorientation, while the Basque writer Ramiro Pinilla voices the multiple ways in which Franco squelched free speech. We trust you’ll find the issue, well, arresting. And five years after the start of the Arab Spring, we feature a selection of writing from the region guest edited by Elisabeth Jaquette.
Sunset in August
They were travelers and were looking for accommodation for the night. They would leave early in the morning.
The Garden of Tears
"Those people there have broken off all ties to God or humanity!"
Bilbao rose to meet them, swathed in stagnant drizzle.
The Release of Mr. K
There was no one to tell him what to do.
Bret Easton Ellis and Other Dogs
There was no avoiding the fact that Paco Parra wanted Muriel all to himself.
Sage on the Mountain
She couldn’t bear living with any of her own sons or daughters.
This river of misery lulls his senses.
Reviewed by Tony Malone
The reader is left with the question: in the case of an unhappy marriage, would it be better to follow the advice of Tolstoy or Ben Jelloun?
Reviewed by Ellen Elias-Bursać
Jergović roots his stories firmly in local Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian turf. History is back.