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At Home in Exile: An Interview with Shimon Ballas
This interview appeared in slightly different form in Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing, edited and translated by Ammiel Alcalay (San Francisco: City Lights, 1996). Ammiel Alcalay: Starting with…
Translated from Arabic
from He’s Alive
By Kim Hong-ik
In this 1995 story, Bun-nyo is an elderly superintendent at a reservoir in the countryside. She devotes much of her time and effort to taking care of a flourishing flower garden that she has planted in…
Translated from Korean by Ha-yun Jung
Toba Tek Singh
By Saadat Hasan Manto
Two or three years after Partition, the governments of Pakistan and India decided to exchange lunatics in the same way that they had exchanged civilian prisoners.
Translated from Urdu by Richard McGill Murphy
from Hopes for Good Fortune
By Han Ung-bin
The narrator, a manager at a factory in the city, is sent on an urgent business trip to his wife’s hometown. As the hapless narrator sets out on his journey, his wife pressures him to visit his…
Translated from Korean by Ha-yun Jung
Playing Manto
I first encountered Saadat Hasan Manto by playing one of his characters. In 1994, I was doing fieldwork for an ethnographic thesis on social life in the Pakistani city of Lahore, where Manto lived, worked,…
Third Letter to Uncle Sam
By Saadat Hasan Manto
31 Laxmi Mansions Hall Road, Lahore15 March 1954Dear Uncle,Greetings,I write this after a long break. The fact is that I was ill. According to our poetic tradition, the treatment for illness lies in what…
Translated from Urdu by Khalid Hasan
from Friends on the Road
By Kim Byung-hun
This story, written in 1960, is narrated by a middle-aged party committee chairman in the countryside who encounters a young woman on the train, on his way back from an important regional meeting. The…
Translated from Korean by Ha-yun Jung
Berlin Bolero
By Ingo Schulze
“What a slimeball!” She pressed the glass against her cheek again. “And you go along with him. All this time you’ve been so stubborn. Then somebody like him comes along and . .…
Translated from German by Edna McCown
Second Encounter
By Han Ung-bin
This is a story about something that took place over ten years ago, during the 13th World Youth Festival. It is now Juche Year 88 (1999).1 Outside our window slogans on the street, visible everywhere,…
Translated from Korean by Stephen Epstein
How the Other Half Lives
After spending seven years in the U.S., I recently moved back to Seoul, the capitalist capital in the southern half of my divided country. When I arrived, both sides were preparing for the fiftieth anniversary…
Agony in the Kitchen
By Juan José Millás
Surveying the men near him to see which ones looked more athletically inclined, he selected the members of a prospective rescue party.
Translated from Spanish by Tobias Hecht
Encountering North Korean Fiction: The Origins of the Future
By Stephen Epstein
The new year is dawning. The thought that we are entering the last year of the current century arouses a different feeling within me than usual. My heart is overwhelmed with emotion and my thoughts come…
from The Shadowboxer
By Inka Parei
For the last week it’s been quiet in this side wing of what used to be a fashionable Jewish apartment block in Lehniner Strasse. We’re the last two inhabitants, she and I. A wing full of gloomy…
Translated from German
To Marina Tsvetaeva
Many a one has sunk in the abyss of horrid silence, and you among them, slender ghost whom I evoked with tools that are improbable, a little pile of grammars and of dictionaries, or now, with more urgency…
Iran in Theater
Last summer in New York, two Iranian theatre events cracked open a small window on a dramatically alien world. Each made its impact without benefit of a text that could be comprehended by the audience;…
Translated from English
Elegy
By Ahmad Shamlou
And so we repeat the round / of night and day
Translated from Persian by Zara Houshmand
Learn
A couple at the tomb of the poet Hafez.
By Adam Jones. License: CC BY 2.0.
The Fish
By Ahmad Shamlou
I think my heart has never been / like this / so warm and red.
Translated from Persian by Zara Houshmand
Learn
from The Moon and the Leopard
By Bijan Mofid
Why should I give up the light that I've held?
Translated from Farsi by Zara Houshmand
from The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad
By Bahram Beyzaii
We are going to seek happiness for you and your children. All of us! Because one hand alone is useless. Are you ready?
Translated from Farsi by Zara Houshmand & Bella Warda
from Cuneiform
By Kader Abdolah
Hadjar bore seven children. Aga Akbar was the youngest, and he was born deaf and mute. She knew it even in the first month. She saw that he didn't react. But she didn't want to believe it. She…
Translated from Dutch by Sam Garrett
Freedom Can Be a Nightmare: An Interview with Kader Abdolah
This interview was originally published August 12, 1995, in NRC Handelsblad. A unique phenomenon in Dutch literature: Kader Abdolah, a political refugee from Iran who writes little gems of stories—in…
Translated from Dutch
from A Little Less Conversation
By Tirdad Zolghadr
To describe Tehran would be like spelling out a frenzied, hourlong dinner table discussion to a complete newcomer.
Translated from English
from Snow over Tehran
By Firouz Nadji-Ghazvini
“Your eyes are full of sadness, friend.”
Translated from Farsi by Zara Houshmand
from Borderlines–The Return
In the summer of 1947 the flight to Athens, Greece, from New York's Idlewild Airport-my first flight anywhere-involved many hours of idleness both in the air and on sometimes remote runways along…
An Empty Room
By MuXin
As the mountain crested its slope steepened. I was already sweating. A church appeared at the top of the crest. I thought I should rest there a bit before deciding when to descend. The war had just ended.…
Translated from Chinese by Toming Jun Liu
Existence
By Ahmad Shamlou
If this is life—how pure!
Translated from Persian by Zara Houshmand
Paris Lost
By Wladimir Kaminer
Our government was very generous with its citizens; it couldn't be compared to an imperialist regime.
Translated from German by Liesl Schillinger
Hitchcock and Agha Baji
By Behnam Dayani
To my grandmother, and all other grandmothers whom we never treasured as much as they deserved.On that sunny autumn Thursday afternoon, between the hours of two and seven, three unusual incidents took…
Translated from Persian by Nahid Mozaffari
A Dialogue with MuXin
By Toming Jun Liu
Toming Jun Liu interviewed MuXin in July 1993 in MuXin's home in a suburb of New York. The complete interview was published in Chinese in Lianhe bao (United Times, Taipei, January 23, 1994). Toming…
Translated from Chinese by Toming Jun Liu
Iran as Cinema
By Salar Abdoh
The movie theater I found myself in was called Freedom; it stood on the corner of two main boulevards that, like the majority of streets in Tehran, are named after martyrs of the revolution: Martyr Beheshti,…
Translated from Farsi by Zara Houshmand
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