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June 2020

The Queer Issue XI

Image: Nilbar Güreş, Rose of Sapatão, 2014. Produced for the 31st São Paulo Biennal with the support of SAHA. Photo by CHROMA Istanbul. Courtesy of Galerist Istanbul.

Welcome to our eleventh annual Queer issue. At this time of crisis, grief, and rage, we present six queer narratives of characters fighting for identity and recognition. Turkish writer Nazli Karabiyikoglu offers a harrowing tale of exorcism and defiance. In two tales of self-transformation, Brazilian journalist Chico Felitti reports on a couple obsessed with facial modification, and Filipino fiction writer R. Joseph Dazo finds a young man who channels heartbreak into body art. Peru’s Juan Carlos Cortázar eavesdrops on a thwarted attempt to fulfill a lover’s dying wish. Chilean graphic novelist Gabriel Ebensperger draws a boy’s growing realization of not fitting in. And Russia’s Natalia Rubanova sets a romantic triangle to Schubert.

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Book Reviews

Machado de Assis Gains Different Voices in New Translations of “Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas”

Reviewed by Charles A. Perrone

A deceased character writes his memoirs from beyond the grave in this sui generis classic by the Brazilian master, now published in two new editions that take divergent paths to convey its peculiar combination of "the pen of mirth" and "the ink of melancholy."

Adania Shibli’s “Minor Detail” Caps Its Author’s Long Quest for a Language of Life Under Occupation

Reviewed by Mona Kareem

With every line of this laborious novel, the Palestinian writer explores how war and conflict occur on the level of narrative, history, and the individual psyche. The result is an accumulation of details that store the trauma of those whose screams hang in the air of the past.

Ha Seong-nan’s “Bluebeard’s First Wife” Gives the Old Tale of Patriarchy a New Twist

Reviewed by Hannah Weber

A crucial voice in the burgeoning movement of feminist fiction from South Korea, Ha is a master of atmospheric suspense whose stories use shock and horror to dissect contemporary gender-based violence and its historical roots.

In Mieko Kawakami’s “Breasts and Eggs,” Oppression and Dissent Begin at Women’s Bodies

Reviewed by Saba Ahmed

This meandering narrative, distinguished with the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, keeps a steady focus on how social pressures and the passage of time come to bear on its characters’ corporeality.

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