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January 2010

Long Story Short: International Flash Fiction

This month we cut to the chase with the telescoped narratives known as flash fiction. Here flash translates to both speed and illumination, as writers focus on the telling moment. The form’s popularity in Latin America is represented with work from Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, complemented by snapshots from around the world. Fantastic or realistic, grounded or airborne, these short takes confirm that brevity is the soul of wit. Capture the moment with Yoav Avni, Jose Agualusa, Andrej Blatnik, Pena Cabreira, Horia Gârbea, Quim Monzó, Sergi Pàmies, Alberto Ruy Sánchez, and Ana Maria Shua.

From “You Do Understand?”
A Day I Loved You I lay there with my eyes closed, waiting for my husband to vacate his half of the bed. To go to work, of course. He’ll get a sandwich on the corner. He’ll have a coffee during…
Translated from Slovene
Poetics of Wonder: Things They Say about Mogador
  III. Concerning Time in Mogador Nineteen They say that according to the calculations of the most ancient African astronomers, the sun slows down when it passes over Mogador, lingering there more…
Translated from Spanish
Father’s Return from War. Topics
Father went to war. Then he died in the war. When our neighbors found out the news, they looked at us, Mother and me, with pity. Later on they found out that Father did not die but he had eloped with…
Translated from Romanian
Thirty Lines
The writer begins typing cautiously. He has to write a short story. Lately everyone’s talking about the virtues of short fiction, but he, if he were honest, would confess that he detests stories…
Translated from Catalan
The Fork
This takes place one radiant Sunday in April, in a restaurant in a town at the foot of a mountain on which there is still snow at the peak. At lunchtime, when the majority of tables are still empty, two…
Translated from Catalan
The Platform
As day dawned in the small town, old Ruschel was already at work assembling the platform, with the care of someone preparing a gallows. The event was scheduled for eight p.m. sharp, and no delay would…
Translated from Portuguese
Birthday Party
The lights were down and the speakers at full volume.   “Everyone jump up and down on one foot!” came the thunderous shout of the entertainer who was dressed as a mouse. And the…
Translated from Spanish
Brine
I wake up with an overwhelming urge to cry, but, since today’s going to be a busy day, I decide to cry later. I leave for the office and arrive just in time for the first meeting of the day. While…
Translated from Catalan
If Nothing Else Helps, Read Clarice
I’m afraid of turning on the TV and, like someone going into the Underground at rush hour, of having my intelligence stepped on, whether out of carelessness or malice. “I’m so sorry,…
Translated from Portuguese
Professional
Normal people fantasize a lot about our work, which is really pretty routine and not at all like what you see in the movies. Our first jobs are perhaps the most memorable. Contrary to popular…
Translated from Spanish
Trumpet Lessons
Now he’s cold and he doesn’t believe it and he’s crying. Later there would be long mornings of playing in the sandbox and a pretty horrible memory that had something to do with a neighbor’s…
Translated from Hebrew
Multilingual
Babel in Paris
Babel loved plump women. Where there’s lots of flesh there’s lots of sweetness. Lots of warmth, heat, tenderness, there’s a caress of sunshine and a velvety splash of the sea. In the…
Translated from Russian
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