Image: Hélder Paz Monteiro, (in)ver(tido) reflexo, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
Our May 2020 issue is our very first dedicated to the literature of Cabo Verde, an archipelago nation off West Africa whose culture embodies Portuguese and African influences. The nine texts here, including our first piece from Cabo Verdean Creole, explore Cabo Verde's simultaneous occupation of the center and the margins of the world. Manuel Brito-Semedo traces the contours of Cabo Verdean literary culture; in poetry and prose, respectively, Camões Prize winners Arménio Vieira and Germano Almeida chronicle the discovery of deeper understandings of country and self, in Lisbon and on the island of Boa Vista; Fátima Bettencourt dreams the end of the world; Dina Salústio describes one town's desire to make a name for itself; Luís Romano spins a riches-to-rags tale; Filinto Elísio gives a nod to jazz legend Horace Silver's Cabo Verdean origins and ponders the line between existing and not. With translations by Anna Kushner, David Shook, Eric M. B. Becker, Jeff Hessney, Jethro Soutar, and Nina Perrotta.
Islands Running across the Globe
Right from the start, Cabo Verdean concepts of identity and individuality were defined by this mixed reality: the African and the European, in all their diverse and contrasting characteristics.
Inert stone, atomic, nuclear before life.
A Form of African Identity
It was only very gradually that we came to understand that the Europeans, out of malice or simple ignorance, had instilled in us our reluctance to accept our condition as Africans.
Cabo Verde Is the Center of the World
In those days the island of Boa Vista was the whole world.
Are all of us accidents wandering through other people’s lives?
Lisbon - 1971
In point of fact, Lisbon was not waiting there [to greet us.
Caviar, Champagne, and Fantasy
The Esplanada, thick with the scent of fragrant [DDT
Song for My Father
The music played on Apollo 11, it turned out, was “Georgia On My Mind,” sung by Ray Charles.
The Last Judgment
I was overcome by the unshakeable conviction that it was the end of the world.
As soon as he came around the bend at Passo Preto, he raised his pistol and fired into the air.
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.
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.
Reviewed by Max Radwin
In this unsettling novel, shortlisted for the 2019 International Man Booker Prize and just published in the US, an academic expert on the history of beards in cinema reads Bashō and tries to help a stranger find the perfect spot to kill himself.
Reviewed by Lily Meyer
This collection of stories by the Ecuadorean writer and journalist depicts episodes of abuse in a way that may not be exactly enjoyable to read, but feels urgent, gripping, and smart.
Reviewed by Benjamin Woodard
Originally published in 2010, this funny, if faintly scattershot, novel relies on a Kafkaesque allegory to reconsider Romania’s late-1980s transition to democracy after decades of Communist rule.