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Within (and Without) These Borders: Writing from the US

November 2017

Image: Saba Farhoudnia, Chasing Dreams, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

This month, we present work by international writers living in the US and writing in languages other than English. The eleven writers here expand both our sense of literary creativity and our understanding of life within, and without, the boundaries of this country. Marco Avilés considers immigration and privilege. Bangladesh’s Tuhin Das describes the assassins lurking in his previous life, and Burmese activist Khet Mar finds herself caught in storms raging in both her former and adopted countries. Iran’s Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar observes an oddly detailed interrogation and its horrifying result. Ezzedine C. Fishere’s gay Egyptian man impulsively comes out in public, with disastrous consequences. Hiromi Itō considers idioms and death. Osama Alomar’s miniatures sparkle with metaphor shot through with wit; in Cameroon, Alain Mabanckou is accosted by a voluble, and literate, madman. Ibtisam Azem carries the burden of memory. In lighter fare, Yuri Herrera constructs a playful homage to Julio Cortázar, and Zhang Xinxin debates the nature of hell. 

The World at Home: US Writing in Translation
By Susan Harris
This issue is not a departure but a continuation.
I Am Not Your Cholo
By Marco Avilés
In San Marcos I could be poor and cholo and I didn’t have the pressure of hiding or explaining myself.
Translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Bahaa and Shareef Escape to New York
By Ezzedine Fishere
They didn’t get any satisfaction from coming out.
Translated from Arabic by Jonathan Smolin
House Taken Over
By Yuri Herrera
The house knew how to determine what was important.
Translated from Spanish by Lisa M. Dillman
The Madman of Bonanjo
By Alain Mabanckou
You can hang a man from a tree, but you cannot hang History with him.
Translated from French by Helen Stevenson
from “The Book of Disappearance”
By Ibtisam Azem
We inherit memory the way we inherit the color of our eyes and skin.
Translated from Arabic by Sinan Antoon
Seven Stories
By Osama Alomar
A strange thing began to happen in the country.
Translated from Arabic by C.J. Collins
By Hiromi Itō
“Roadkill’s something you get used to seeing in America”
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
A dirty black chair illuminated in a dark cell
Photo by Spencer Tamichi on Unsplash
A Slice of Darkness
By Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar
“Why do you think they brought you here?”
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
After the Inferno
By Zhang Xinxin
“I’m the Girl-Homer with her eyes wide open.”
Translated from Chinese by Helen Wang
The Assassin
By Tuhin Das
Still we couldn’t stop writing.
Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha
The Sound of Snow
By Khet Mar
While snow was striking the windowpanes, my ears could only hear the sound of screaming and crying from a distant land.
Translated from Burmese by Maung Maung Myint