If love makes the world go 'round, sex is what keeps it spinning, and this month we're reeling with writing on this most universal of themes. In these stories sex is both subject and object, cause and effect. See how Fatima al-Ali, Nadine Bismuth, Rubem Fonseca, Mar Gómez Glez, Eduardo Halfon, Fernando Iwasaki, Hanoch Levin, Giulio Mozzi, Felix Palma, Adrian Sangeorzan, Care Santos, and Sebastiano Vassalli address the facts (and fictions) of life. We trust you'll be seduced. Elsewhere, we present Chinese writers Zhu Wen and Xu Zechen, and the second installment of Sakumi Tayama's “Hole in the Garden.”


Fiction Serial

The Hole in the Garden, Part II

Did you know that your husband is cheating on you?



A Short Story by Xu Zechen

Throwing Out the Baby

It's just a dead kid, what are you making such a fuss about?



Book Reviews

Osamu Dazai’s “Schoolgirl”

Hardly anything about this book seems to have aged, least of all the narrator herself, who is perfectly preserved somewhere along the road to adolescence.


Andrey Kurkov’s “The General’s Thumb”

A retired general is found dead in central Kiev—hanged, apparently, from a giant Coca-Cola advertising balloon.


Etgar Keret’s “Suddenly, a Knock on the Door”

If a man comes knocking at your door to steal your magic goldfish, what do you do?


Abdellah Taia’s “An Arab Melancholia”

Yet, it is not homosexuality or an Islamic culture that torments the narrator of "An Arab Melancholia"; rather, love is the tyrant in this brief, emotional saga.


Horst

I am a thief of strong emotions. I listen to the moans and shouts of others.

Good Women and Bad Women

I want to know where you got this filth.

The Bicycle Factory

What was better: to lie in the ground with a uterus or to live above it without one?

The Sex Life of the Writer

The more a man cultivates the arts the less he fornicates.

Meow

With even more refined manners I propose she sticks a ballpoint up the cat’s rectum.

Review

They plumb in crude terms the physical attributes of her desired but unobtainable physique.

The Schoolyard

I was three and he was four.