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March 2013

Spain's Great Untranslated

Image: Frederic Amat, "Las Mil y una Noches nº30" (detail) © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid

Guest Editors Javier Aparicio, Aurelio Major, Mercedes Monmany,

This month we present poetry and prose by twelve Spanish masters whose dazzling work has been unavailable to the English-language world. Exploring scenes ranging from the devastating Madrid subway bombing to the idyllic coastline of Greece, in rhapsodic poetry and anguished prose, these writers provide new insight into Spanish literature today. Read Fernando Aramburu, Cristina Fernández Cubas, Miquel de Palol, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Antonio Gamoneda, Pere Gimferrer, Berta Vias Mahou, César Antonio Molina, Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas, Olvido Garcia Valdés, Pedro Zarraluki, and Juan Eduardo Zúñiga, and discover the breadth and depth of contemporary Spanish writing. This issue is part of the SPAIN arts & culture program and was made possible thanks to a charitable contribution from the Spain-USA Foundation. We thank the Foundation for its generous support, and our guest editors, Javier Aparicio, Aurelio Major, and Mercedes Monmany, for their excellent work in selecting the authors and pieces presented here.


Elsewhere, we present writing from Syria, as Zakariya Tamer tells tales of djinns and talking walls, Abdelkader al-Hosni reflects on friendship, Golan Haji considers magic and loss, and Lukman Derky mourns a history of war.


Mangled Flesh

The explosion had sent me flying through the air.

from “Rhapsody”

We are zigzagging on the road / like the plot unravels in Buñuel


The Baghdad Clock

"It's the spirits, girl, it's the spirits."

from “Rage”

It’s going to dawn over the prisons and tombs.


The Last Day on Earth

The murmuring on the far side of the barrio was neverending as the heavy machinery demolished homes.


Social Skills

The dog, as if she knew they were talking about her, opened her eyes and looked at her owner, who choked back a sob.


They Destroyed Our Radios and Televisions

We could only / love dead women.


The Devil Lives in Lisbon

I don’t know where Mother would go off to. I’m not sure.


Don’t Do It

“Now let’s get down to us,” she said, lowering her voice to a purr.


What Do You Expect, Heart?

Only something that continues to hurt stays in the memory.


Under the Sign of Anaximander

He stabbed him forty-eight times, all over his body, methodical, thorough, conscientious.


Crossing Bridges

I cross bridges just as I leave dreams in hotels.


Bitter Lemons

Everything went well until we got to Corfu.



Book Reviews

Mia Couto’s “The Blind Fisherman” and “The Tuner of Silences”

Reviewed by Anderson Tepper

Mozambican author Mia Couto has practically created a genre all his own.

Antonio Tabucchi’s “The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico”

Reviewed by Elisa Wouk Almino

A comfort in death and loss pervades this collection of letters, ekphrastic prose, short stories, and historical fiction.

Yoko Ogawa’s “Revenge”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

The experience of reading Revenge is like getting caught in a beautiful, lethal web.

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