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Iran's Postrevolution Generation

July 2013

We continue our tenth anniversary celebration with a return to the topic of our inaugural issue: Iran. Ten years later, writers still struggle with arbitrary censorship, the weight of war, and the limited scope of a closed society; yet the new generation of writers defies these restrictions to present acute portraits of contemporary Iran. The issue includes fiction by Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar, Payam Feili, Behnaz Alipour Gaskari, Noori Ijadi, Alireza Mahmoudi Iranmehr, Neda Kavoosifar, Paxima Mojavezi, Yasser Norouzi, and Yaghoub Yadali. We thank our guest editors: Shahriar Mandanipour, who contributes a passionate introduction, and Sara Khalili, whose elegant translations bring these authors to us. Our special section showcases writing by and about translators, with two slyly subversive stories from Claude Bleton and Jacques Gélat, an essay by Suzanne Jill Levine, and an interview by David Auerbach with Esther Allen and Susan Bernofsky about their new anthology, In Translation.

The Poet, His Cut-Off Head in His Hand, Went Singing Songs and Ghazals: Literature in Iran
By Shahriar Mandanipour
Iran’s literature is wounded, but it still has blood, and in its blood lies a secret.This literature has not borne the injuries of censorship only in the past thirty-odd years. In fact, it was censored…
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
Like a Body Turned Inside Out
By Yaghoub Yadali
Borzu Alvandi will always wonder why he wasn’t martyred.
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
Green Sour Orange
By Neda Kavoosifar
With his eyes bulging, Mr. Moadab murmurs, “It’s like silk . . .”
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
Rahman’s Story
By Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar
I lost two people, I’ll take two people . . . with this very bayonet.
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
Forty-Eight Steps
By Paxima Mojavezi
I come home and I don’t let on that I’m late. I come home and like a good mother I prepare dinner, set the table, feed them, wash the dishes, put the children to bed, and sit on the sofa with…
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
The Pink Cloud
By Alireza Mahmoudi Iranmehr
On the cold morning of December 24, 1981, all I wanted to do was watch the cloud that had turned pink at sunrise. We were walking in formation up a hill and I was looking at the sky when suddenly a shower…
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
from “I Will Grow, I Will Bear Fruit . . . Figs”
By Payam Feili
Poker—like a god emerging from the fog, fragment by fragment—appears in the doorway. There is a glint in his eyes, mischievous and small. A glint produced by optic nerves, innocent and pure…
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
By Yasser Norouzi
Look! Look at what they’re doing! It’s as if they have turned into hyenas. They circle it, they growl and claw at it, but they have no guts. They’re still afraid. They cannot believe…
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
Someone is Calling “Leili”
By Noori Ijadi
I open my eyes. A narrow sliver of sun is shining on the wall, forming a diagonal line that bends at the corner and breaks. It’s a pale light. I can’t tell if it’s morning or early evening.…
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
By Behnaz Alipour Gaskari
She was now sitting half-naked in front of the door.
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
Ghost Writers
By Claude Bleton
None of the great Spanish authors produced their own works at breakneck speed. Sometimes I had to wait months for an interesting book to appear on which I could exercise my talents as a translator. Actually,…
Translated from French by Jean Anderson
The Translator
By Jacques Gélat
I am a translator. At first, it is a pleasure a bit like being an actor. You have to get used to someone else, listen to him, understand him, immerse yourself in him, except that a novel, rather than…
Translated from French by Edward Gauvin
Many Voices: A Life in Translation
By Suzanne Jill Levine
“When we first learn to speak as children, we are learning to translate.”—Octavio PazOne of the first authors I translated, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, said that I had “too much…