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 2013

Black Markets

This month we're covering black markets: those underground exchanges of contraband that power parallel economies throughout the world. Goods both human and inanimate are traded in these shadowy venues, where everything from kidneys to diamonds is available, often at horrific cost.  In fiction and essays, Wang Bang, Abdelilah Hamdouchi, Vladimir Lorchenkov, Jason Miklian, Dominique Manotti, Dmitri Novosolov, Edgard Telles Ribeiro, and Ye Yonglie explore clandestine systems around the world. And in the latest installment of our World through the Eyes of Writers feature, Poland's Paweł Huelle salutes poet Tomasz Różycki.  

My Shadow Library: A Chinese Author on Book Piracy
By Ye Yonglie
After Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012, publishers around the world rushed to print copies of his books—none more enthusiastically than China’s infamous book pirates. In China,…
Translated from Chinese by Alice Xin Liu
from “The Good Life Elsewhere”
By Vladimir Lorchenkov
As for the kidney, I’ll slip it in there myself.
Translated from Russian by Ross Ufberg
“Let’s Deal”: A Conversation with a Diamond Smuggler
By Jason Miklian
It wasn’t even level. In fact, just about the only redeeming thing about the tilted plastic card table was the cartoonish beer logo plastered atop it. Even that was scuffed to the point of unreadability,…
from “Za”
By Jean-Luc Raharimanana
“They are saying that this man is a fridge full of organs!”
Translated from French by Sophie Lewis
By Wang Bang
She’s too young, we can’t keep her.
Translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman
By Dmitri Novoselov
The ex-con took him out to the platform of the car and with one deft movement . . .
Translated from Russian by Will Firth
Señor Capitán
By Edgard Telles Ribeiro
The fishing boat could hold thirty passengers out on the deck.
Translated from Portuguese by Kim M. Hastings
A Relentless War
By Dominique Manotti
They immediately request permission to take samples in order to trace the source of the drug.
Translated from French by Ros Schwartz
Bled Dry
By Abdelilah Hamdouchi
They were under arrest because they didn't have enough money to do business with the cops.
Translated from Arabic by Jonathan Smolin
The Guy Who Bought the World
By Tomasz Różycki
The guy who bought the world is out for a walkdown Thirty-seventh Street. No one in the leastsuspects that the deal just took place and the stockexchanges keep noting each little increase,ha, ha, ha.…
Translated from Polish by Mira Rosenthal
This Is My Room
By Tomasz Różycki
This is my room. The ice in the glass will melthere in a moment, will melt before the eye,and by the time the hand and fingers have feltwhat’s happening, an inkblot takes the page, dyessnippets…
Translated from Polish by Mira Rosenthal
In the Evening, Love
By Tomasz Różycki
The guy who bought the world has his five minutesand the bartender puts yet another markby his name. What is his name? The unknit wispsof sky, like in Grójec, like in Horyniec.And snow has covered…
Translated from Polish by Mira Rosenthal
A Letter to a Young Poet: On Tomasz Różycki
By Paweł Huelle
IOnce, on a long trip, I experienced an incident that was as trivial as it was enlightening. It happened that my luggage was lost for a couple of days while I was staying in a foreign city. Because I…
Translated from Polish by Mira Rosenthal