WWB Logo                               June 2009
In This Issue
Writing from Pakistan
Also in June
WWB on the Kindle
Get Involved
Last Month's Favorites

Don't miss the most-read articles on WWB in May 2009:

Beyond Between: Translation, Ghosts, Metaphors, by Michael Emmerich

from Corridor of Dreams, by Sogil Yan, translated by Linda Hoaglund

from Sentimental Education, by Kaho Nakayama, translated by Allison Powell

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June 2009 Image

copyright Tazeen Qayyum

Writing from Pakistan

The June Issue

This June, as the world's focus turns to events in Pakistan, our guest editor, Basharat Peer, restores some nuance to our understanding of the region with a selection of literary work that shines a light on the country's unique historical and cultural heritage. 

Guest editor Basharat Peer on current events and literary heritage 
Pakistani literature is a sum of the literatures written in its various languages: Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Baluchi, and English. In the past few years, a wave of brilliant Pakistani short-story writers and novelists writing in English have earned great acclaim across the world, telling the stories of their land and people in different genres and voices. But there are writers who have inspired and paved the way for the young Pakistanis writing in English, writers whose work in Urdu, the official and most common language in Pakistan (it is also spoken widely throughout northern India and Kashmir), brought alive a Pakistan that has been invisible to those who don't read Urdu.

The First Morning 
Intizaar Hussain on the moment when two eras met and parted
Translated by Basharat Peer 
I have no definite answer to questions about why I migrated from India to Pakistan after the partition in 1947. I look back and see a crowded train rushing past lively and desolate towns and villages, under a bright sun, and in the dark of night. The train is running through the most frightening night and the passengers are quiet like statues. I strain to hear them breathe. more>>>

His Majesty 
Vali Ashraf Sabuhi evokes the Delhi of his ancestors
Translated by Nauman Naqvi 
When I was a child, until someone told me a story I couldn't sleep. One day I was down with a high fever from morning to night. My mother, Ammajan, sat by the bed massaging my head. Granny Mughlani, whose house was next door, heard the news about me, so she came over and began rubbing the soles of my feet. more>>>

The Monthly Ulloo
Muhammad Khalid Akhtar joins his uncle in the magazine "business" 
Translated by Bilal Tanweer 
If you see a small, rotund man, wearing a check suit, whose watch chain has lost all its luster, whose coat collar has a large rose in its hole, whose two innocent, nervous eyes peep from his square rimless glasses, whose face is guileless and pure like that of a suckling babe, and whose head is adorned with a Turkish cap (redder than the rose on his collar) with swaying tassels-then know immediately that this is my uncle, Abdul Baqi, BA LLB. more>>>

Pink Pigeons–Was it They Who Won? 
Fahmida Riaz remembers the dream of communism 
Translated by Muhammad Umar Memon 
An early August wind whispers through the lush green trees of Alma Ata. The tiny leaves break into applause. "What are these trees called?" I ask the interpreter. "Tuzhi," the ravishing, delicate Tatar beauty responds gently, in a distinctly American accent. Her name is Gulnaz. So beautiful, fragile-looking, adorable! more>>>

Do You Suppose it's the East Wind
Altaf Fatima returns to the landscapes of memory
Translated by Muhammad Umar Memon
The enormous weight of three hundred and sixty-five days once again slips from my hand and falls down into the dark cavern of the past. The windows in this desolate room are wide open. How improbably strange the sky looks, draped in a sheet of dense gray clouds, behind the luxuriant green trees.

The Man with Three Names 
Muhammad Asad Khan's whirlwind Pathan epic
Translated by Muhammad Umar Memon
He had three names: Majeeta, Majeed and Ma'i Dada. Those who called him Majeeta had given up the ghost during his lifetime. The few hoary old men who called him Majeed, or "Arey Maan Majeed," lingered on for a while longer. To the rest–and this included the whole town–he was at all times Ma'i Dada. His real name though, as he himself stated, was Abdul Mazid Khan Esoop Ja'i.

Elsewhere on the site, we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre this June 4 with two powerful testaments: dissident leader Wang Dan, published here for the first time in English, recalls his prison days, and Liao Yiwu interviews Wu Wenjian, an artist who speaks about the fate of the June 4 "Thugs" in the wake of the massacre. 

New Reviews 


Amerika: The Missing Person
by Franz Kafka 
Translated from the German by Mark Harman 
Schocken Books, 2008 
Reviewed by Eugene Sampson 
Does the publication of an edition that approximates the handwritten manuscripts give us a new Kafka? more>>>


Xue Spice Street

Five Spice Street
By Can Xue
Translated from the Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping
Yale University Press, 2009
Reviewed by Brendan Patrick Hughes 
Who is Madam X? Madam X sells peanuts at the stand with the red-painted sign. Madam X is an occultist, a collector of mirrors and corrupter of neighborhood children. Madam X is a home wrecker. Madam X is a threat to communal harmony and morality. more>>>

More from the Bookshelf. . .

Also in June… 

From the Blog

Twenty Years after Tiananmen 
by Wang Dan
4 June 2009
In an exclusive series for Words without Borders, dissident leader Wang Dan speaks out on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. In his first post, below, he describes the climate at the time of the demonstrations and compares it with the situation in China today. -Editors

Part One
I'm very grateful to Words without Borders for publishing an essay from my book Prison Memoirs. This is the first time my work has appeared in English. I'm pleased that Westerners will be able to read this essay on the anniversary of the Tiananmen student pro-democracy movement. more>>>

Also on the blog. . .

Profession of Faith by Yani Mentzas, Dispatches: Echoes of an Autobiography by Naguib Mahfouz by Geoff Wisner, and more


WWB on the Kindle

tinycoverWords without Borders is committed to bringing the best international literature to a wide audience, and we are always looking for new ways to deliver our content to our readers. We are extremely pleased to announce that Words without Borders is now available on the Kindle. Subscriptions are just $.99 per month, which includes both blog and issue content.

Of course content will always be available for free atwordswithoutborders.org.


Get Involved 

Call for Syllabi
Words without Borders would like to hear from high school teachers and university professors who are using the WWB Web site and/or anthologies in the classroom. As part of the expansion of our education initiatives we'd like to build a syllabi library for other educators to use as a reference and are looking for contributions. Please e-maileducation@wordswithoutborders.org

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