Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

September 2012

Writing from the Silk Road

This month we celebrate literature from along the Silk Road in an issue that features work from Central Asia, Georgia, and China. Noted Uzbek writer in exile Hamid Ismailov paints a picture of mid day in Samarkand, while from Kyrgyzstan Konstantin Kondratenko describes a visit from an unusual winter guest and Alla Pyatibratova reports from the front row of a revolution. Kazakh writer Ilya Odegov's protagonist takes some advice too close to heart while his compatriot, Debut Prize finalist Aigerim Tazhi, sketches a city waiting for salvation. Georgian writer Shota Iatashvili describes a staring match with a chess Grandmaster, and Uyghur poet Exmetjan Osman watches the ages pass by in a city park. Also this month, we feature new work translated from German: Herta Müller writing about a memory of snow, and Finn-Ole Heinrich, who finds that disability is no joking matter. 

Lovers in Samarkand
By Hamid Ismailov
(An old song that wells up in this poem) Before midday, round about eleven in the bazaar by the Boltabay post with its attached loudspeaker, the sun is just heating up. Like a wheel not hurrying to go…
Translated from Uzbek by Hamid Ismailov & Richard McKane
By Konstantin Kondratenko
It was a winter morning when the Tangerine King rolled into my room. He was perfectly round and had a golden crown on his head. Otherwise I wouldn’t have recognized him. I didn’t know the…
Translated from Russian by Semyon Akhrameev
My Story of Chess
By Shota Iatashvili
I had no idea what was wrong with the girl. She’d make her move, hold her breath for a few seconds, then move her hand toward the chessboard again and touch the piece she had just put down, as if…
Translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway
An Orange Lemon
By Alla Pyatibratova
Her day was not going well. Her cap had fallen in the dirt, and there was a gaping hole in the sleeve of her T-shirt. She hadn’t even felt it snag on anything.  And there was an angry bruise…
Translated from Russian by Rohan Kamicheril
Old Fazyl’s Advice
By Ilya Odegov
“One ought not to cause offense to people,” said Old Fazyl. “I try never to offend anyone. And one ought not to quarrel with people; it is dangerous to speak unkindly to them. Even if…
Translated from Russian by Rohan Kamicheril