FICTION

  • Barcelona Streets
    Photo by Fernando Rodríguez/Flickr Zugzwang: a chess position where any move is disadvantageous. Eduard Màrquez applies the term to his characters who, he observes, “are subjected to forces and situations that prove too great for them.” While leaving the metro, bored and devoid of any desire to return home, Alberci Riner began to tail a man carrying a case for a musical instrument. Desp...
  •    July 2012
    Apologia? Manifesto? Confessional? In this stream-of-consciousness narrative, a Havana drag queen tells her story. “Fátima, Queen of the Night,” published here for the first time, won Cuban writer Miguel Barnet the Juan Rulfo prize for short fiction in 2006.  Photo by Josephine Caruana/Flickr     When I was seven years old, the Virgin of Fátima appeared to me in the kitchen of my house i...
  •   Hiromi Kawakami (b. 1958) is a highly regarded Japanese novelist. She was awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 1994 for Hebi o fumu (Tread on a snake). To date, her only novel available in English isManazuru, translated by Michael Emmerich (Counterpoint, 2010). “In the Palace of the Dragon King” stands as a sort of crystallized version of Kawakami’s fantasy...
  • A seemingly ordinary day in Nairobi ends in tragedy and forces a confrontation between a city woman and her husband's tribe. Photo: Meena Kadri The matatu minibus was doing eighty miles an hour down the highway. Passengers were squeezed in so tightly, shoulder to shoulder, they could barely breathe. In good traffic, half an hour was all it took to get from Umoja to the city centre. The d...
  •    May 2013
    Photo by Tortured Mind Photography/Flickr Once again using the lens provided by detective fiction, Leonardo Padura magnifies various aspects of Cuban reality for his readers.  “La muerte pendular de Raimundo Manzanero” appears here for the first time translated in English. News Last Sunday, October 21, at 4:23 p.m., Raimundo Manzanero, forty-six years...
  • In a haze of marijuana and beer, a vacationing photojournalist discusses the state of humanity with a West Indian boy. What are we without our addictions, our distractions, and are we doomed if we hold onto them? Photo by jgarber/Flickr “Get off your iPad,” Hugh Copley said. He was lying in a hammock tied between two palm trees. The hammock had been there forever—or at...
  •    March 2012
    Frightening dreams, rejection, and secret compromises: a middle-aged Bengali widow living in a compound struggles to maintain her dignity and independence while supporting her insolent grandson. The size of a jackfruit, a tumour sprouted on fifty-five-year-old widow Nondita Banik’s left leg, below the knee; and like a jackfruit, the tumour grew to be knobbly-rough and it weighed so heavi...
  • Marie and Frank were lifelong renters, and though moving their things out of a house was like unloading a ship, their old house didn’t sail away. It sat there, on the South Dakota plains, waiting—  Photo Nicholas A. Tonelli Frank had never been one to fight back in the heat of any moment. He would usually wait a few days and then state his opposition to some plan or an...
  •    March 2012
  •    July 2013
    Alberto Chimal published these stories in Spanish as “An Alphabet of Twitter-Stories: A Study by Horacio Kustos” (@hkustos) in summer 2012. In a self-interview Chimal published in Casa del Tiempo, he commented on his Twitter minifiction work: “The texts continue to demand a particular attention from the readers—to the delayed effect of the extremely short text, who...
  •    July 2011
    Every couple inhabit a private world of their own, and share an intimate language of words, silence, and gestures that only they understand. Such is a love story between a deaf husband and a blind wife.       Icame home to a dark, quiet flat and immediately knew something was wrong. There were unwashed dishes and feeding bottles in the washing sink, soaking in a metal gray bath of oily...
  • A Nutmeg Mannikin bird. Photo by Noel Reynolds.
    Photo by Noel Reynolds/Flickr “Birds” is one of the interrelated stories in Tianqiao shang de moshushi (Magician on the overpass), published in Taiwan in 2011. The entire collection is set in Chinese Plaza (Zhonghua shangchang) in downtown Taipei in the 1970s–1980s. I began raising birds the year I started elementary school.  Before that, I went to the wet mar...
  • Ukrainian writer Tanya Malyarchuk’s work fuses Chekhov-like psychological portraits of characters with magical realism. Many of her most fascinating narratives focus on her life growing up amid the mysterious Carpathian Mountains. Tania Malyarchuk. Photo by Taras Khimchak. My throat hurts. I can’t speak much. And to be honest, I don’t have anything to say. I think a lot, but fo...
  • Photo Shannalee/Flickr In the first translation of his work into English, South Korean writer Kim Kyŏnguk imagines an ad executive confronting a man who may be his former school nemesis. And as in other anxious moments, he craves one thing: 99 percent chocolate. There are times when I want something sweet. Like when I’m up all night waiting for an idea that...