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March 2007

The World Through The Eyes Of Writers: Without Borders, Between Covers

Join us on the frontiers of international literature to celebrate our new anthology, Words Without Borders: The World Through the Eyes of Writers (Anchor Books), publishing this month. We asked many of the best-known writers in the world to introduce favorite writers yet unknown in English. Their choices resulted in our eponymous anthology: twenty-eight fresh literary talents from Norway to Haiti with writings that range from the sinisterly sexy to the broadly comedic. Here, a sampler of other works by some of our discoveries: Akinwumi Isola's hapless evangelist parses "The Grammar of Easter," while Juan Villoro's burned-out screenwriting brothers cast themselves as "The Guilty." Feral cats are demonic in Can Xue's "Bane of My Existence" and domesticated on both sides of the checkpoint in Hassan Khader's "Nora in Wonderland." Ambar Past provides mordant marching orders in "Practice for Hangmen," Evelyne Trouillot's impoverished beggar clings to her crazed roots "In the Shade of the Almond Tree," and Gamal al-Ghitani summits the pyramids in the mesmerizing "Annihilation." For more by these and other authors in the anthology that Kirkus Reviews calls "one of the best introductions to non-Western writers there is," run to your favorite bookstore.

Too late for the book and available here only: Kenzaburo Oe recommends the English-language debut of Akutagawa Prize-winner Akiko Itoyama, praising her "sharp eye and sly wit."

The Guilty
By Juan Villoro
The scissors lay on the table. They were unusually large. My father used to use them to cut up chickens. Ever since he died, Jorge takes them with him everywhere. Maybe it’s normal for a psychopath…
Translated from Spanish by Lisa M. Dillman
Practice for Hangmen
By Ambar Past
“Ambar Past’s poetry is born out of the beauty of Chiapas.” —Elena Poniatowska
Translated from Spanish by Munda Tostón
Death Penalty
The worst is waking up in the morning thinking nothing can ever be the same and you have to get up and bathe and make coffee as always and leave for work as always as if nothing had happened though everything's…
Translated from Spanish
Weather Report
My wife was the weather woman She predicted her friends' sexual temperature without ever being wrong She announced with barometric precision the storms that threatened our neighbors She was wrong…
Translated from Spanish
Secretary of State
You washed your conscience and hung it up on a line where the clean clothes dry But drops of dirty water fell and formed a pool and then a muddy river that flowed out to sea Through that sea battleships…
Translated from Spanish