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January 2020

On the Road: International Writing on Travel

Image: David Thuku, “Untitled XI (Motion),” paper cuts on paper, 2019, One Off Gallery, Nairobi. Courtesy of One Off Gallery and the artist.

This month we’ve traveled back in time and through our archives to bring you compelling international tales of journeys. Writers from nine countries document their own trips or send characters on their ways to destinations ranging from Corsican cemeteries to Indian train stations. W. G. Sebald climbs to a ruined graveyard and meditates on death and remembrance. Witold Gombrowicz embarks on a dyspeptic turn through Argentina, while Gabriela Wiener takes multiple sorts of trips. György Dragomán dispatches a desperate couple on a new form of transit. Subodh Ghosh and Peter Weber find dramatic surprises in train stations. Laila Stien tracks a seasonal migration turned tragic, while cartoonist Liniers records a cheerful car trip through Eastern Canada. And Gabriella Ghermandi’s harried narrator discovers she can go home again. 

Road Stories: International Writing on Travel

Some of the writers here document their own trips, while others invent characters and send them on the road.

Campo Santo

The dead were thought of as extremely touchy, envious, vengeful, quarrelsome, and cunning.

A Trip through Ayahuasca

It is said after the vomiting comes the visions. I wasn’t seeing anything yet.


from “Rabbit on the Road”

cover image

The island lights look like the stars came down from the sky and queued up.

Journey toward the Island

Forty animals drowned. The people will never forget it.

from “Peregrinations in Argentina”

At first we feel hatred toward other tourists—but eventually we begin to hate the tourist in us.


"The bears are tame, I broke them in myself."

The House of Wax

“Have you been able to forget me?”

Fish Television

I was clouds transforming, a sinking billow.

The Neighborhood Phone

For seventeen years I had dreamed of what my return to my country would be like.

Book Reviews

Zeruya Shalev Connects Private Woes with Political Strife in “Pain”

Reviewed by Yael Halevi-Wise

The trauma of a terrorist attack and the disillusion of unrequited love haunt the protagonist of a new novel by the Israeli author, in whose work the past usually returns to impinge upon the present, clamoring for repair.

A Balkan Road Trip Leads to a Reckoning with the Past in Olja Savičević‘s “Singer in the Night”

Reviewed by Hannah Weber

A successful soap-opera writer struggling with memory loss sets off on a quest to find her vanished first husband in this new book by the Croatian novelist, poet, and playwright.

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The Slow Burn of Inner Chaos: Writing from Malaysia

Backstories: Afro-Italian Women Writers

The Queer Issue XII

Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

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