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August 2013

Brazil

This month we showcase writing from Brazil. With the country's current upheaval in the international spotlight, the writers here provide insight into this complex nation's culture. Cristhiano Aguiar, Carol Bensimon, Horácio Costa, Orides Fontela, Angélica Freitas, Armando Freitas Filho, Rodrigo de Souza Leão, Vinicius Jatobá, Antônio Moura, Laurenço Mutarelli, and Antônio Prata contribute fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Guest editor Stefan Tobler provides an introduction and several beautiful translations. We thank the Fundação Biblioteca Nacional of Brazil and the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C., for their generous support of the issue. In our special section, we present poetry from the Faroe Islands by Sissal Kampmann, Tóroddur Poulsen, and Vónbjørt Vang.

Introduction: Writing from Brazil
By Stefan Tobler
How does a Brazilian write? How should a writer respond to a country as full of variety and stories as Brazil? And what do we in the Anglophone world know about Brazilian culture today? As you might expect,…
Four Short Tales
By Antônio Prata
PlanFind out what is the best-paid line of work. Do a cram course. Sit the university entrance exam in that field. Be top of the class. Get a job. Plug away, single-mindedly, until I have amassed twenty…
Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
Multilingual
Natanael
By Cristhiano Aguiar
IIWhen Natanael arrived, the first thing he wondered was, “Am I in the right place?” The taxi driver could not understand why my friend wanted to get out at that spot on the riverside road.…
Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
Multilingual
Becoming Ishmael
By Antônio Moura
Becoming Ishmael in Moby Dick,whenever I find myself growing grimabout the mouth, wheneverit is a damp, drizzlyNovember in my soul,it is time to take to sea.And armed with next to nothing, justthe word…
Translated from Portuguese by Stefan Tobler
Multilingual
Mermaid in Earnest
By Angélica Freitas
the cruelest part was that as beautifulas much as her features flaunteda genetic pedigree of bonafide aristocracyand her hands deftly wieldedneedlework and roast chickensand her tresses attestedto tortoiseshell…
Translated from Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan
Multilingual
from “All Dogs are Blue”
By Rodrigo de Souza Leão
Why do all crazy people have the same paranoias? They’re always being followed by a secret agent. The CIA is nearly always involved. My own case (swallowing a chip) was only possible thanks to the…
Translated from Portuguese by Zoë Perry
Sixteen Degrees on Avenida Paulista
By Horácio Costa
Isixteen degrees on Paulista            I had the verse so well structured this morningand drive in the flow of traffic               …
Translated from Portuguese by Stefan Tobler
Multilingual
from “underwater snooker”
By Carol Bensimon
It’s like taking your skates off after hours rolling about and finding that your feet and the ground no longer understand each other. You want to glide, float past people and things, but you can’t.…
Translated from Portuguese by Anthony Doyle
Hiatus
By Armando Freitas Filho
A mother’s love, a hernia lovethat even when distant, even when deadis an inheritance that crosses the gapwith the tentacles and gambitsof a spider, tantalizing, and that clings, graspson the inside:…
Translated from Portuguese by Stefan Tobler
Multilingual
In the Mirror
By Armando Freitas Filho
Under my skin, my father invades me. Quietly, slowly: in my striated nails, along the fat visible vein, in my stomach that has succumbed, in my scrotum that has loosened, he flakes off my skin that dries…
Translated from Portuguese by Stefan Tobler
from “O Cheiro do Ralo”
By Lourenço Mutarelli
Soran was an anagram. That’s what he told me. He also told me he’d paid a very high price to get his hands on the watch. He took an old pocket watch out of his jacket pocket, all gold. I noticed…
Translated from Portuguese by Zoë Perry
Vigil
By Orides Fontela
Full      moment:live birdattentive to.Tense in            the instant –immobile flight–full presencebird and         …
Translated from Portuguese by Stefan Tobler
Multilingual
Father’s Chair
By Vinicius Jatobá
The table is set, immaculate, serene. Nobody's seated yet and it will be a little while until anybody does sit down and tuck in. But the time has come for us to sit together and eat together and move…
Translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar
Multilingual
The round table is the eye
By Sissal Kampmann
that seesthe unfolding tragedy.You are wearing your glasses,your shirt is openandyou are sweating a little.Lighters, half-empty beer bottles, sugar,computers, pencils, paper, can and bottle openers,your…
Translated from Faroese by Randi Ward
Multilingual
on the bed
By Vónbjørt Vang
an empty suitcase sits wide-open wrinkled sheets a nightgown a passport an absence between pillow and head a glare of ice between mattress and thigh a stroke of shadow…
Translated from Faroese by Randi Ward
Multilingual
the expiration date
By Tóroddur Poulsen
asks mehow old i ami tell iti’m the same ageas this morning’s darknessbut this eveningi’ll be the same ageas tomorrow’s lightand all the other goodsthat have expired
Translated from Faroese by Randi Ward
Multilingual
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