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International

Issue #27, Winter 2006

As proud Americans we feel it's our sworn duty to bring you, gentle reader, the gosh darn best writing out there, whether it be Made in the U.S.A. or Made in the U.A.E. We've sworn our allegiance to art with a capital A, and while the powers that be would like us to order another basket of supersized Freedom Fries and forget that the rest of the world even exists, we're not having any of it. Many international writers seem to be taking on more complex stylistic and emotional terrain than their American counterparts. Whether it is Bolivian Edmundo Paz-Soldan writing from the point of view of a young Kansas woman exhuming graves in Srebenica or Romanian Dumitru Tsepeneag bending time and form in his romantic Robbe-Grillet-inspired fable, the writers in this issue are pushing the stylistic and emotional envelope. Not surprisingly, you'll also discover writing with a distinctly political bent, from writers such as Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago's cutting take on polling station bureaucrats, Pakistani Kamila Shamsie's playful critique of corrupt politicians, and Binyavanga Wainaina's clash of cultures in modern Kenya.

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José Saramago

An excerpt from the novel SEEING • I'm very worried, there's something distinctly odd going on, so far not a single voter has turned up to vote.

Dumitru Tsepeneag

An excerpt from the novel THE VAIN ART OF THE FUGUE • A dog with the mouth of a fox stood in his way. In a courtyard a fat man was killing a pig, watched by several women in pink silk dresses.

Bernd Lichtenberg

WHAKATANE CALLING • Once everyone was in bed and acting like they were asleep, I slipped into my father's study and turned on the CB radio.

Helle Helle

PHEASANTS • He asks where I bought my wardrobe. I bought it in a department store. He asks if he can look inside, and I say that he may not.

Ismail Kadare

HAGIA SOPHIA, A WALL PAINTING • "I shall convert Hagia Sophia from a church into a mosque. And you, who had the courage to say no, will be the one to do it."

Binyavanga Wainaina

ALL OTHER THINGS REMAINING EQUAL • Before her fear of her mother could overwhelm her, Milka let out an urgent breath of words, from her stomach, in Gikuyu: "I'll tell Gordon." Her mother gasped, let go, and turned away.

Kamila Shamsie

ANOTHER LOVE STORY • "Widows do well in politics," I said. "You die, I'll get elected to your seat and actually do some of those things you kept promising when we first got married."

Edmundo Paz-Soldán

SREBRENICA • The bodies were piled one on top of the other, in various states of decomposition. On a half-exposed skull in the stark morning sunlight, I could see a blue baseball cap with a Nike logo on the side.

Roberto Bolaño

MAURICIO ("THE EYE") SILVA • One day I heard that The Eye had left Mexico. I wasn't surprised that he hadn't said good-bye. The Eye never said good-bye to anyone. I never said good-bye to anyone either.

Seamus Heaney

TO MICK JOYCE IN HEAVEN

Frederico García Lorca

ODE TO WALT WHITMAN
NEW YORK: OFFICE AND DENUNCIATION

Vera Pavlova

ONE TOUCH IN SEVEN OCTAVES

Magnus William-Olsson

From THE MOMENT FOR PINDAR IS A SMALL SPACE IN TIME

Mukoma wa Ngugi

RECIPE: HOW TO BECOME AN IMMIGRANT AND AN EXILE

Iman Mersal

IT SEEMS I INHERIT THE DEAD
AN ORDINARY FALL

Lynn Chandhok

PHUL CHUNAN

Yang Jian

ON THE BRIDGE
THATCHED HUT
COMPANION
WILLOW

Bei Ling

TIME LIKE A FALLEN HORSE

Miho Nonaka

BACH'S INVENTIONS
BIRCH SKIN

Rawaan Alkhatib

Poetry
GHAZAL I

Lydia Davis

The acclaimed fiction writer and translator talks with Rick Moody about the pleasure of Proust in English, the plunge into a new language, and the untranslatable.

Binyavanga Wainaina

The award-winning writer and founder of the magazine Kwani? discusses "the mafia of petty ideas" and the revolution in the Kenyan literary scene with Frank Bures.

Anita Desai

The author talks with Tin House assistant editor Ben George about uncovering the unknown in India's past and present, a lifelong pull between countries, and what it's like to live in post 9/11 America.

Dominique Parent-Altier

PRIZES OF THE FALL • Each year France is seized with anticipation over its literary prizes, from the venerable Goncourt to those bestowed by restaurants and the post office.

Ann Gelder

ON YURI OLESHA'S Envy and Other Works

Francine Prose

ON ANDREI PLATONOV'S The Fierce and Beautiful World

Austin Merrill

ON AHMADOU KOUROUMA'S The Suns of Independence

Francine Prose

BECHEROVKA • Prague is the scene for the beginning of a love affair with Dr. Frobrig and Josef Becher's syrupy, euphoria-inducing liqueur.

International Personals

Seeking wolf-boys, peasants, nihilists, arts-loving gold diggers, soup eaters, and obnoxious girlfriends.