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January 2018

Singular and Universal: Stories of Parents and Children

Image: Eva Navarro, Mother and Son, 2014, acrylic on board, 40 X 40cm.

This month we’re turning to our archives for international stories of parents and children. Tales of widowed fathers, ambivalent couples, vengeful mothers, and more reveal both the specific and universal challenges of raising children in complex times. Argentine sensation Samanta Schweblin finds an unexpected solution to an unplanned event. Iranian Kader Abdollah’s stoic father faces a parent’s worst fear. In two looks at fathers and daughters, Finland’s Shimo Suntila tracks a day in the life of a man and his two endlessly imaginative little girls, and Belgium’s Lize Spit watches an abandoned husband search for a cure for his toddler’s illness. Teresa Solana’s elderly widow cuts off her abusive son-in-law; Martha Batiz finds raising septuplets is not exactly seventh heaven. Charlotte-Arrisoa Rafenomanjato’s impoverished Malagasy widower struggles with his son’s innocent ambition. In Tibet under Mao, Pema Bhum’s disgraced party members are redeemed by their politically savvy infant. Syria’s Zaher Omareen relays history in a coded bedtime story. And in Brazil, Cristovão Tezza’s new father realizes his life truly never will be the same. Elsewhere, we present writing by Kazakh women, introduced by Shelley Fairweather-Vega.

Joyful, Painful, Surreal: Life As a Parent

The intensity of the parent-child relationship, with its high emotional stakes, life-and-death responsibility, and inescapable physical proximity, makes for powerful stories.


It’s difficult to accept the idea of receiving Teresita so soon, but I don’t want to hurt her, either.


Iranian author Kader Abdolah describes the plight of a father seeking a burial place for his murdered dissident son.


“We needed some liquid gold,” Milla says very seriously.


María Times Seven

It was by accident that Doña Toña decided to sell her daughters’ tears.

Plastic Wrap

If she can’t see it, if it isn’t in the room, it doesn’t exist.

A Stitch in Time

As we were intending to cut him into small chunks, we thought it would be less stressful if he were bandaged.

A Bedtime Story for Eid

He said they’d taken Omar away naked.

from “The Eternal Son”

The most brutal morning of his life started with interrupted sleep.


It seemed to them as if the Chairman were sharing with them a playful and secret sign.


Omeo Zamako

Lehilahy tells his son that he must work harder in order to succeed, that knowledge is not easily attained.


Book Reviews

Pastoral Scenes with an Intimation of Apocalypse in “Untimely” Poems and Prints of Bohuslav Reynek

Reviewed by Meghan Forbes

"The Well at Morning" offers a selection of Reynek's poems and prints that spans five decades.

“Into English”: A Collection of World Literature That Debunks Age-Old Translation Myths

Reviewed by Kasia Szymanska

Books such as Into English help us to understand how translation transforms our reading and how it changes us, too.

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

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.