Image: Việt Lê, "untitled self-portrait (time for tea)" from the "untitled self-portraits" series, 1999-2001, gelatin silver print, 11 X 14 in., edition of 7 + 1 AP. By arrangement with the artist.
Welcome to our ninth annual queer issue. With gritty realism and unfettered invention, in settings ranging from occupied Iraq to rural Cuba, the eight writers here offer their perspectives on contemporary queer life. In two tales drawing on historic events, Mortada Gzar’s Iraqi barfly occupies himself with American soldiers, while Remigiusz Ryziński tracks Michel Foucault as he cuts a swath through 1950s Warsaw. On the fantastic side, Choi Jin-young sees two young women come together in the wake of an apocalyptic event, and Prabda Yoon’s suicidal transgender woman rises above it all. Tina Amodt’s lesbian couple drive to their isolated cabin and feel a chill settle in, and Sahar Mandour’s famous Lebanese actress is blindsided by an unexpected role. Abilio Estevez’s teenage boy dives into sexual discovery. And poet Nha Thuyen interrogates relationships and pronouns. Elsewhere, we present fabulist fiction from three Hong Kong writers, introduced by Jennifer Feeley.
Beyond Queer: The Queer Issue
The contributors to our Queer issues produce narratives that elude facile compartmentalization.
While He Was Sitting There
He’s the third white soldier I’ve met this month.
From “Foucault in Warsaw”
Why was he the one with the keys to Michel Foucault’s apartment?
Dori and Jina
I didn’t know Dori’s wounds, and Dori didn’t know mine—perhaps that’s why we could see each other as we were in that moment.
One day this violation will be in the past, consigned to oblivion, long forgotten.
I can’t stand that one the way someone with a chronic sinus infection can’t stand abnormal shifts in weather.
The Light Never Reaches Here
In the wilderness, you live in a simple house, you wake to your beloved’s face, you almost exclusively hear her voice.
'Mantique thought today at sunrise would be a good time to kill herself.
The present, very often, takes its definitive shape in the past.
Reviewed by Emily Roese
A French bestseller and winner of the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, "Small Country" holds a mirror to the childhood of the Burundi-born rapper and author Gaël Faye, who emigrated to France with his French father, Rwandan mother, and younger sister in the 1990s. They were a Tusi family living in Burundi and decided to flee when they realized that the conflicts in war-torn Rwanda threatened their lives. In his perceptiveness, developing love of literature and nostalgia for a pre-war idyll, Gaby calls as much to Faye’s history as it does to the artistic career he would follow.
In “Moon Brow,” Shahriar Mandanipour Recounts the Iranian Revolution Through the Fragments of Trauma
Reviewed by Damara Atrigol Pratt
"Moon Brow", by Shahriar Mandanipour, recounts the recent history of Iran through a fragmented narrative structure that emulates the disjointed remembrances of trauma. While the political facets of its story report the grim consequences of the Iranian Revolution, the physical and emotional world described in the novel is alive with vivid and provocative encounters. The book offers beauty while confronting the ugliness of revolution, oppression, and war.