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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
Carola Johansson’s invitation to spend a weekend in her villa in Andalusia arrived on April 7. I smiled wearily because it could only have been a bad joke on the part of one of my friends. Just…
Translated from German
The Garden
That Friday when my parents finished their work in the garden, my mother’s pant-legs and the tops of my father’s boots were covered in pollen. It turned into a yellowish paste where it touched…
Translated from Finnish by Ross Ufberg
Delphine’s Illness
I don’t go often. Don’t stay long. Each time I tell myself it’s the last. I was heading toward the gate, when a large tombstone caught my eye. It was a recent one, from this year: Delphine…
Translated from French by Ye Yonglie
The Visitor Edward Hopper Received Two Years Before His Death
By Mario Sabino
Fifteen years ago I moved from my native Rome to this small town embedded on a hill called Anticoli Corrado. I left Rome not in search of a calmer life but because the daily contrast with the greats of…
Translated from Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers
from “Dream Diary”
By Dominique Manotti
Marcello had just pulled up the last tent stake with a hammer and Monica’s ice ax when he saw something on the stake that left him stunned. The stake, like the others, was thirty centimeters long,…
Translated from Italian
The Cover
By Dejana Dimitrijević
I’m starting this diary so the days won’t pass without my knowing what I did.I live in the suburbs. I knit, embroider, and crochet. I sell everything I make at the nearby farmers’ market.…
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 Naomi Long Eagleson
Midway through Christmas dinner one year, absent any illness or prior warning that might have led us to suspect some problem with his health—not even a tiny, unobtrusive one—my brother died.…
Translated from Catalan
They Always Come in the Autumn
By Vincent Mondiot
Suzanna peered outside for the fourth time that day, and it still wasn’t quite noon. Beyond the window, the surrounding plain remained as motionless and silent as it had been when she’d last…
Translated from French by Paul Curtis Daw
The Island
By Violeta Ivković
Tonight is the third Christmas. I started counting them two summers and eleven months ago when I came to the island. The previous thousands weighed me down. I’d be able to win out over the numbers—at…
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