January 2011
Image: Helena Hugo, Tractor, 75cm x 110cm, Pastel on board

The Work Force
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As the holidays end and the new year begins, we bring you back to work with tales of employment from around the world. Whether loathed or loved, work provides both livelihood and identity; and in times of economic depression and shrinking labor markets, jobs assume even greater importance, determining both personal and political stability. Whether reinventing themselves in a new economy or sticking it out in an old one, the characters here demonstrate the variety of the international work force. Colombian journalist Andrés Felipe Solano goes undercover in a Medellín factory. Milica Micic Dimovska’s shopkeepers recycle used clothes for new clients. Ángela Pradelli's suddenly jobless woman goes into business as a bather. José Pérez Reyes describes a cabbie's strangest fare. In two tales of returning natives, Djibouti’s Abdourahman A. Waberi sees an academic transformed into a spy, while Iraqi Najem Wali watches a disgraced activist turn teacher. From London, Rebecca Carter explores the tremendous cultural differences from one country to another in the art of editing. In an extract from Patrick Hofmann’s Robert Walser Prize-winning novel, an earthy butcher slaughters a pig and enlivens a family. And on the flip side, François Bon charts French factory closings, and Quim Monzó paints a portrait of Catalan work stoppages.

Six Months on Minimum Wage
By Andrés Felipe Solano
Translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee
One afternoon I counted 1,253 items of clothing. more>>>

The Bather
By Ángela Pradelli
Translated from the Spanish by Andrea G. Labinger
Olga slid her soapy thumbs behind the man's ears and then, still using her thumbs, lightly stroked his earlobes.  more>>>

In Hock
By José Pérez Reyes
Translated from the Spanish by Jethro Soutar
“You probably won’t believe it, but the strangest thing that happened to me was actually in broad daylight.” more>>>

from "Passage of Tears"
By Abdourahman A. Waberi
Translated from the French by David Ball and Nicole Ball
My mission consists in feeling out the temperature on the ground, making sure the country is secure, the situation is stable, and the terrorists are under control.  more>>>

from "The Final Cut"
By Patrick Hofmann
Translated by Mar
tin Chalmers

The butcher turned round, the kidneys in her left hand, the knife in her right. more>>>

From "Kumait"
By Najem Wali
Translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins
After reading Crime and Punishment when he was a student he had contemplated killing Umm Husayn. more>>>

A World of Editing
By Rebecca Carter
It is clear that there is a strong link between the strength of a novelistic tradition in a country and the power of the editor.more>>>

from "Daewoo"
By François Bon   
Translated from the French by Alison Dundy and Emmanuelle Ertel
“And this word, superfluous, the way it sticks to you . . .”more>>> 

Boutique Cinderella
By Milica Mićić Dimovska
Translated from the Serbian by Sibelan Forrester
She pulled on the dress playfully and it stirred there in the mirror, as if twitching with fright. more>>>

Landscape with Strikers
By Quim Monzó   
Translated from the Catalan by Mary Ann Newman
On the sidewalks lie piles of uncollected garbage in enormous black bags, some of them split open. more>>>

Also in this Issue

By Dazai Osamu
Translated by Ralph McCarthy
I took the watercolor in my hands, looked it over briefly, and ripped it to shreds. more>>>

Pedestrian of Quito
By Ulises Estrella
Translated by David Backer
Impossible to live with dead citizens / noosed to the floor of a stagemore>>>

El Terrible
By Ulises Estrella
Translated by David Backer
Life is postponed defeat / victory is death by an authentic hand.more>>>

By Ulises Estrella
Translated by David Backer
The uncertainty spread: / who will watch over those without eyes? / ears? more>>>

Rooms and Gardens
By Grzegorz Wróblewski
Translated by Agnieszka Pokojska
They will greet you with mysterious / smiles, those who were there before you. more>>>

Tablet & Pen

Book Reviews 
Thousand Dreams CoverA Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear 
By Atiq Rahimi
Translated from the Dari by Sarah Maguire and Yama Yari
Other Press, 2010

Reviewed by Shaun Randol 

To traverse the fractured mind of Farhad, the protagonist and narrator of Atiq Rahimi’s latest novel, is to glimpse the broken soul of a battered and confused country. more>>>

Recent Dispatches

The City and the Writer: In Los Angeles with Dorothy Barresi
By Nathalie Handal

Can you describe the mood of Los Angeles as you feel/see it?
The LA mood? Always charging electrically between poles of honest outrage and pleasure. It’s a union town, a sweatshop town, a Brewery Artwalk town, a suburb for gangbangers, a Banksy-paints-an-elephant-in-the-room-and-the-Jolie-Pitts-stop-by! town. Lots of hipster flash and fresh figs in season. Reginald Denny. It’s Eden—but the Kogi truck is parked outside the gates (you got the tweet too late). Fireworks over the Ferris wheel. Fire season. Jacaranda season. Raspberry bougainvillea all year round. Drought even when it’s raining. No money for public education . . . more>>>

By Susan Bernofsky
It’s been quite a fall.  Those of you who read my earlier dispatch about arriving at Queens College of the City University of New York last September to teach in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation there know how my semester started out.  Now it’s just ended, and I have all sorts of happy developments to report. more>>>

What’s So Great About Proust?
By Samantha Schnee
Last week’s hot ticket in literary London was the Royal Society for Literature’s program “What’s so great about Proust?” featuring Margaret Drabble, Ian Patterson (translator of the recent Penguin edition of book six), and Jane Haynes (a psychologist who has written on Proust), and chaired by Christopher Prendergast (who oversaw the new translations for Penguin). more>>>
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