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December 2012

(Non-Scandinavian) Crime

We're wrapping up the year with a look at crime, non-Scandinavian style. You'll find no dragon tattoos or icy fjords here, only an abundance of lawlessness from the rest of the world. In two chilling monologues, Umar Timol's murderer speaks to a dead audience, and Sergey Kuznetsov's sociopath finds killing is always in season. Rubem Fonseca's contract killer works both sides, Care Santos's exasperated writer sends a pesky journalist to his final deadline, and Italian best seller Andrea Camilleri defines a Mafia vocabulary. Washington Cucurto returns to the scene of a Cortazar crime. China's Sun Yisheng's police extract an unexpected confession. French graphic superstar David B. and Herve Tanquerelle track a bank heist; Willy Uribe's fugitive cuts to the chase; Morocco's Mahi Binebine shows a suicide bomber's first murder.  And Laurence Colchester and François von Hurter talk about publishing all crime, all the time. To skip this issue would be, well, criminal.

In our feature on New Writing from Korea, writer Kim Young-ha selects and introduces two dazzling works from Korea. Sim Sangdae observes fatal beauty, and Yun Ko-eun follows a woman whose work drives her crazy. We thank the Korea Literature Translation Institute for their generous support of this special section on new Korean writing. 

The Killer’s Monologue
By Umar Timol
OK, obviously you don’t believe me. You can’t help laughing. You tell me I’m not serious, I’m taking you for an idiot, a nitwit, I’m trying to put one over on you. Hey, did…
Translated from French by David Ball & Nicole Ball
By Rubem Fonseca
“The Walther's hot, if they catch you with it, we’ll get dragged into it. After you do the job, throw it away, in the ocean or the lake.” “Leave it to me,” I said. The…
Translated from Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers
The Shades who Periscope Through Flowers to the Sky
By Sun Yisheng
1. Heavenly Body Rocky Wang was sitting in Tianxiang Park. The flagstones were cool, and pale in the moonlight. The couple starting kissing. (This was before it happened.) Rocky put his hand in the front…
Translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman
from “Butterfly Skin”
By Sergey Kuznetsov
It is good to kill in winter. Especially if it has snowed overnight, and the ground is covered with a delicate blanket of white. You put the bound naked body on it. The blood from the wounds flows more…
Translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield
By Care Santos
I admit it: I once killed a journalist. I’ve tried to forget it, to keep quiet, to pretend, but it doesn’t make sense to continue deceiving myself. No one can escape their memories. The recollection…
Translated from Spanish by Megan Berkobien
from “Horses of God”
By Mahi Binebine
In another garage, in another slum, there’s the photo of me that Abu Zoubeir pinned to the wall alongside photos of the other martyrs: Nabil smiling beatifically; Khalil with a fixed grin; Blackie,…
Translated from French by Lulu Norman
from “Nanga”
By Willy Uribe
The day always began before dawn in Lasma. The fishermen preparing the bait and the seasonal coconut pickers making their way to the plantation. I'd hear the latter singing as they came past my hut—it…
Translated from Spanish by Thomas Bunstead
from “You Don’t Know: A Mafia Dictionary”
By Andrea Camilleri
The following are selected from Andrea Camilleri’s Voi non sapete (You Don’t Know), a Mafia dictionary of sorts, largely based on the typed notes of “the boss of bosses,” Bernardo…
Translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris
By Sim Sangdae
I grew up in a harbor town by Korea’s east coast where the hill and sea meet. Back then, the town was colorless and empty of any striking buildings. Come winter, it made for a dreary sight, cloaked…
Translated from Korean by Amber Hyun Jung Kim
The Chef’s Nail
By Yun Ko-eun
If only she had not misread “The Chef's Mail” as “The Chef's Nail,” none of this ever would have happened. It all began a few months ago, at the moment Jung misread that…
Translated from Korean by Charles La Shure
Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga’s Korea, and Korean Literature
By Young-ha Kim
Marilyn Monroe came to South Korea in February of 1954. While honeymooning in Tokyo with Joe DiMaggio, she had boarded a military plane and was en route to Seoul even before the marriage was fully consummated.…
Translated from Korean by Sora Kim-Russell