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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, Dumitru Tsepeneag, Bernd Lichtenberg, Helle Helle, Ismail Kadare, Binyavanga Wainaina, Kamila Shamsie, Edmundo Paz-Soldán, Roberto Bolaño
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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, Frederico García Lorca, Vera Pavlova, Magnus William-Olsson, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Iman Mersal, Lynn Chandhok, Daisy Zamora, Yang Jian, Bei Ling, Miho Nonaka
ODE TO WALT WHITMAN
NEW YORK: OFFICE AND DENUNCIATION
ONE TOUCH IN SEVEN OCTAVES
From THE MOMENT FOR PINDAR IS A SMALL SPACE IN TIME
RECIPE: HOW TO BECOME AN IMMIGRANT AND AN EXILE
IT SEEMS I INHERIT THE DEAD
AN ORDINARY FALL
ON THE BRIDGE
Lydia Davis, Binyavanga Wainaina, Anita Desai
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lost & Found:
Ann Gelder, Francine Prose, Austin Merrill
ON YURI OLESHA'S Envy and Other Works
ON ANDREI PLATONOV'S The Fierce and Beautiful World
ON AHMADOU KOUROUMA'S The Suns of Independence
BECHEROVKA • Prague is the scene for the beginning of a love affair with Dr. Frobrig and Josef Becher's syrupy, euphoria-inducing liqueur.
The Last Word:
Seeking wolf-boys, peasants, nihilists, arts-loving gold diggers, soup eaters, and obnoxious girlfriends.