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July 2009

Memory and Lies

Image: Jon Redmond, "Escape."

This month we're presenting writing from, and about, memory. Some of these pieces are identified as memoirs and presented as truth; others blur the borders between fiction and fact, revising the past to make sense of the present. The subjectivity of memory and history, and how the telling shapes the tale, are all addressed here, as authors consider collective, personal, and literary history in producing their own true stories. See how Anna Enquist, Eduardo Halfon, André Kaminski, Eduardo Lago, Rouja Lazarova, Luan Starova, Jáchym Topol, Carles Torner, Tomá… Weiss, and Haifa Zangana determine where the truth lies.

from “Dreaming of Baghdad”
His life was short but rich, crammed with events. He was arrested at the age of seventeen, released five years later, and executed when he was twenty-four. At the foot of the mountains, the bushes burn…
Translated from Arabic
Introduction: The Tenses of Fidelity
The pieces collected here represent the many uses of memory in shaping and completing narratives. Some of these pieces are identified as memoirs and presented as truth; others blur the borders between…
from “My Father’s Books”
By Luan Starova
In those rare moments when, bent over his opened books, he considered his fate, seeking solutions to the Balkan history of his family, in those moments when he thought he was fully prepared to begin writing…
Translated from Macedonian by Christina Kramer
Aria The woman with the pencil leaned over the table to read a pocket score of the Goldberg Variations. The pencil was made of special black wood. It had a heavy silver cap that concealed a pencil sharpener.…
Translated from Dutch
from “Mausolée”
By Rouja Lazarova
1On a freezing day in February 1964 Sacho the Violin was arrested, an elegant man in his fifties, a former cabaret violinist known and loved by what remains of Sofia's bon-vivant community. Under…
Translated from French by Christine Schwartz Hartley