Image: Cai Guo-Qiang, Cai Guo-Qiang Installation view of Endless, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar, 2011 Photo by Hiro Ihara, courtesy Cai Studio
This month we celebrate literature from along the Silk Road in an issue that features work from Central Asia, Georgia, and China. Noted Uzbek writer in exile Hamid Ismailov paints a picture of mid day in Samarkand, while from Kyrgyzstan Konstantin Kondratenko describes a visit from an unusual winter guest and Alla Pyatibratova reports from the front row of a revolution. Kazakh writer Ilya Odegov's protagonist takes some advice too close to heart while his compatriot, Debut Prize finalist Aigerim Tazhi, sketches a city waiting for salvation. Georgian writer Shota Iatashvili describes a staring match with a chess Grandmaster, and Uyghur poet Exmetjan Osman watches the ages pass by in a city park. Also this month, we feature new work translated from German: Herta Müller writing about a memory of snow, and Finn-Ole Heinrich, who finds that disability is no joking matter.
Lovers in Samarkand
You breathe in the burning air, your lungs fill with the air of the flute
It was a winter morning when the Tangerine King rolled into my room
My Story of Chess
Her hand would travel around the board, creeping up on a piece as she mumbled in a kind of trance: "J'adoube, j'adoube, j'adoube . . ."
An Orange Lemon
Orange is for another country. The color for our revolution is yellow.
Old Fazyl’s Advice
“God’s punishment comes through the hands of the insulted,” said Fazyl, sighing.
The Nights Passing Endlessly through Scheherazade’s Mouth
I was more or less enjoying the daytime I was watching grass sprout from cracks in the asphalt
From Resurrection to Sunday
we cross off dates on the calendar waiting for salvation
Reviewed by Emma Garman
An unusual meld of history, biography, and fiction, "The Neruda Case" conveys with great acuity how it’s not just the famous who are subject to others’ unrealistic projections.