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December 2010

The end of the year brings weeks of festivities, holiday cheer, and our annual celebration of genre writing. We’re countering the merriment with a dose of the macabre, greeting the long nights of winter with literary chills from round the world. In palatial villas and rustic inns, pursuing dreams and fleeing nightmares, characters are menaced by forces both supernatural and ominously familiar. Germany’s Markus Orths and Italy’s Marco Candida dispatch travelers on vacations in hell. Japanese master Okamoto Kido welcomes a hideous guest to a remote mountain cabin. Finland’s Jyrki Vainonen sees a dutiful son cultivate a gruesome garden. Madcap Catalan Quim Monzó takes fraternal devotion to a ghoulish extreme. France’s Laurent Graff’s cursed woman battles an unusual identity crisis. Serbian Dejana Dimitrevic sews up a story of obsession. Prix du Jeune Écrivain français honoree Vincent Mondiot marks a deadly annual tradition. And Brazilian Mario Sabino’s stymied artist creates a fatal masterpiece. You’ll want to read this issue with the lights on.

Elsewhere this month, Ko Un calls up past lives, Violeta Ivkovic searches for holiday trim on a tropical island, and Ioan Es. Pop drinks to (and during) Christmas Eve.

On Killing
By Markus Orths
She pressed the dead duck into my hand, then put on her bathrobe and entered the house.
Translated from German by Renate Latimer
The Garden
By Jyrki Vainonen
I poured water over the sturdy deep green sprouts growing from the middle of my father’s head.
Translated from Finnish by Lola Rogers
Delphine’s Illness
By Laurent Graff
She was born with one of the longest names on record, and now that name was shrinking, letter by letter, as surely as if it was being eaten away by gangrene.
Translated from French by Helen Dickinson
The Visitor Edward Hopper Received Two Years Before His Death
By Mario Sabino
It is like knowing you are dead every minute of your life.
Translated from Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers
from “Dream Diary”
By Marco Candida
Then Marcello showed her the stake in his hand, dirty from the tip almost to the hook at the other end, with something black dripping onto the ground.
Translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris
The Cover
By Dejana Dimitrijević
The Cover looks as if it’s alive. It moves and wriggles in Smilja’s hands.
Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tosiç
The Kiso Wayfarer
By Okamoto Kido
When they lifted the lid of the pot again, the woman’s head was nowhere to be seen.
Translated from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori
My Brother
By Quim Monzó
Only someone who’s undressed a dead person can know how hard it is.
Translated from Catalan by Mary Ann Newman
They Always Come in the Autumn
By Vincent Mondiot
The two who flanked the tallest one wore strange gas masks, giving them the appearance of insects with round, dull glass eyes.
Translated from French by Paul Curtis Daw
The Island
By Violeta Ivković
A Christmas tree doesn’t go walking around on its own.
Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tosiç
The Amigo
1. it’s rumored that the amigo, the good buddy came to town. so people hurry to see for themselves and for a minute we begin to believe as well. but in the square there’s only a man more foolish…
Translated from Romanian
The Boy in the Cave
By Esther Mujawayo
Each and every person’s eyes all shine in the sky. The sea under the sky is limpid through and through. It seems the crying of countless newborn babes can be heard emerging from the sea 230 feet…
Translated from Korean by Michaella Rugwizangoga & Souâd Belhaddad
A Monk with No Name
Today seems another good day for spreading barley or wheat to dry. He was always smiling. One of his front teeth was missing. Even alone he was always smiling. On and on he walked. Walking on and on was…
Translated from Korean