Image: Saba Farhoudnia, Chasing Dreams, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
This month, we present work by international writers living in the US and writing in languages other than English. The eleven writers here expand both our sense of literary creativity and our understanding of life within, and without, the boundaries of this country. Marco Avilés considers immigration and privilege. Bangladesh’s Tuhin Das describes the assassins lurking in his previous life, and Burmese activist Khet Mar finds herself caught in storms raging in both her former and adopted countries. Iran’s Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar observes an oddly detailed interrogation and its horrifying result. Ezzedine C. Fishere’s gay Egyptian man impulsively comes out in public, with disastrous consequences. Hiromi Itō considers idioms and death. Osama Alomar’s miniatures sparkle with metaphor shot through with wit; in Cameroon, Alain Mabanckou is accosted by a voluble, and literate, madman. Ibtisam Azem carries the burden of memory. In lighter fare, Yuri Herrera constructs a playful homage to Julio Cortázar, and Zhang Xinxin debates the nature of hell. Elsewhere we present fiction by three Norwegian women writers, translated and introduced by Kerri Pierce.
The World at Home: US Writing in Translation
This issue is not a departure but a continuation.
I Am Not Your Cholo
In San Marcos I could be poor and cholo and I didn’t have the pressure of hiding or explaining myself.
Bahaa and Shareef Escape to New York
They didn’t get any satisfaction from coming out.
House Taken Over
The house knew how to determine what was important.
The Madman of Bonanjo
You can hang a man from a tree, but you cannot hang History with him.
from “The Book of Disappearance”
We inherit memory the way we inherit the color of our eyes and skin.
A strange thing began to happen in the country.
“Roadkill’s something you get used to seeing in America”
A Slice of Darkness
“Why do you think they brought you here?”
After the Inferno
“I’m the Girl-Homer with her eyes wide open.”
Still we couldn't stop writing.
The Sound of Snow
While snow was striking the windowpanes, my ears could only hear the sound of screaming and crying from a distant land.
Reviewed by Sean Gasper Bye