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Beyond Urban Legends: Contemporary Fabulism

June 2006

Some may consign fables and folklore to ages past, but these versatile forms still have magical attraction for great writers around the world. Carmen Boullosa portrays a masterly Spanish artist who conjures the world with his brush in Lepanto’s Other Hand. In Costa Rican Jacques Sagot’s “Enigma of Ursa Major,” an astronomer trains his lens on the dazzling heart of reality. Bitite Vinklers’s translations of Latvian folksongs make maps of the heavens. Pierre Michon’s “Sorrow of Columbkill” converts a warrior to a monk while his “The Madness of Suibhne” transforms a madman to a beast of prey. The underwater realm of Francisco Mendez’s “Water Cathedral” becomes a metaphysical temple where children are baptized into wonder and death. And Luminita Cioaba’s two cautionary tales, “Queen of the Night and Stone Flower” and “Birch Grove” impart traditional Roma knowledge. And if your taste in fables runs more toward sports legends, join us as we tune in to the World Cup with Alvaro Enrigue’s “Readymade.”

A barred window in a wall of stones
Photo by Michael Jasmund on Unsplash