This month we present writing about and from exile. Although not all exiles flee political persecution or war, they have in common an involuntary departure forced by adverse circumstances. In fiction, poetry, and autobiography, writers explore the notions of departure and absence, memory and loss. Israel Centeno’s disgraced detective comes to a shocking fairy-tale ending. In Paris, Olivia Snaije talks with three Middle Eastern women writers. Syrian poet Osama Esber mourns his lost Damascus, while his countryman Osama Alomar carries cultural baggage.

M. Lynx Qualey explores the rich theme of exile in Arabic literature. In two pieces from Uzbekistan, Hamid Ismailov shows a long-assimilated émigré bound by unexpected family ties, and poet Khayrullo Fayz is caught in an endless attempt at escape. Mohamed Diriye leaves the South but can’t escape it. Cuba’s Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo tells of leaving the island. Koulsy Lamko sees through a fellow exile’s serene front. And on a cheerier note, the great Iraqi writer Mahmoud Saeed pens a Valentine to his adopted home of Chicago. Elsewhere, Manjushree Thapa introduces writing from Nepal. Amar Nyaupane watches a young boy grow into his arranged marriage; Nayan Raj Pandey exposes a bumbling politician; and Sulochana Manandhar contemplates the night.




Nepal's Many Voices


The Latch

Why did he have to sleep with his bride?


Candy

"I thought you'd know the way. You were born and raised here."


Night

My inheritance, / my birthright.



Book Reviews

Ondjaki’s “Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret”

It is no surprise that this energetic and endearing novel is the work of a writer of such stunning accomplishment as Ondjaki.


Edgard Telles Ribeiro’s “His Own Man”

In "His Own Man," nations, like the individuals therein, adapt and change such that their contemporary states bear little resemblance to their earlier incarnations.