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November 2008


An Exchange on Nation and Exile
“Perhaps I am one of the last who must live out to the end the destiny of the Jewish spirit in Europe.” Why “must”? Writing from Paris in August 1948 to relatives in the new state…
Translated from German
Sweating and Swearing in “Clash of Civilizations”
In the opening chapter of Amara Lakhous's gritty mosaic, Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Parviz Mansoor interrupts his rambling monologue to comment on the way language…
Speaks about “Clash of Civilizations”
"Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio" could be called a book about translation. It's the story of people from different cultures trying to live together in one place—a…
An Introduction to Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio
By Maud Newton
“Doesn't make any difference who we are or what we are,” a cholera germ announces in one of Twain's stories, “there's always somebody to look down on!”No recent novel…
Music, Maestro Berenson, and Yours Truly
By Julio Ramón Ribeyro
Father cultivated in us an appreciation for classical music from an early age, playing Bach fugues, Mozart sonatas, and Chopin nocturnes on his old wind-up Victrola with a steel needle and humming arias…
Translated from Spanish by Katherine Silver
Out of Sight
A new publicity campaign called Colombia is Passion hopes to soothe travelers with an unlikely promise: “Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay.” A couple of months ago, the Huffington…
A Swiss Army knife
Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash
Translating to and from a Native Language
By Alexei Bayer
In this essay, Alexei Bayer writes about his first and second languages, translating into English, and being translated into his native Russian.
Brazilian Arabesques
By Milton Hatoum
At the very beginning of the twentieth century, at the height of the rubber boom, my paternal grandfather left Beirut for the Bolivian territory of Acre, where he worked as a peddler on the rivers from…
Translated from Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers
By Sebastiano Vassalli
I’m fifty-nine years old. I live in the country, in a locality pretty far removed from the places where the destinies of people living in this era are decided. I work as a writer in a peripheral…
Translated from Italian by Gregory Conti
Fragments from the Dollmaker’s Life
By Danila Davydov
1A woman tells the Dollmaker.—What happens in your shopWhy do you spend all night and day in thereIt can’t be for the sake of moneyYou wouldn’t have time to spend it anywaySo why the work…
Translated from Russian by Peter Golub
Ballad of Aunt Else’s Refugees
It's cold in Schlossberg. The stoves are full of our nails and hairs. The lift with coal and matches remained stuck in the middle of the hairdresser's by the City Gate. We had our forelocks trimmed…
Translated from Macedonian
The Truth According to Parviz Mansoor Samadi
By Amara Lakhous
I’ll tell you about Mario the Neapolitan some other time. Now you want to know everything about Amedeo—that is, start dinner with dessert? As you wish. The customer is king. I still remember the…
Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein
Scheherazade, C’est Moi? An Interview with Amara Lakhous
Algeria was imploding into civil war in 1993 when Amara Lakhous, born in 1970 in Algiers, wrote his first novel. But no bombs go off in The Bedbugs and the Pirate, the inner monologue of a Gogolian forty-…
Translated from Italian
Three Myths of Immigrant Writing: A View from Germany
By Saša Stanišiç
Migrant, immigrant, intercultural or multicultural literature today (in Germany and elsewhere) is considered a category of literature by authors who write from a perspective refracted by at least two…
Translated from German by Saša Stanišiç
For Years
By Zafer Köse
The hospital odors do not offend anymore. We have been here since yesterday morning and I am used to them. There are two beds in the room. Day is breaking. The man in the other bed is my brother. His…
Translated from Turkish by Candan Baysan