Chicago Review

An international journal of literature, interviews, and reviews. For academic audiences.

Articles from Vol. 48, No. 2/3, Summer

Cell Phone
They came in the night of July 20th-21st, in the half hour after midnight. There couldn't have been many of them, five, six guys maybe. I just heard voices and the racket. They probably hadn't even noticed light in the bungalow. The sleeping area is...
For Allen Ginsberg, Died 5 April 1997
You weren't there when I came to New York the first time in my life, in September 1987. I only found your factory, only the poetry workshop. People were working at copiers and a fax machine. Someone showed me the room with your bed. I hadn't asked after...
From Alle Oder Keiner (All or No One)
In retrospect I think I must have seen her first at Schonefeld, at one of the check-in counters, as Ruhle and I and the rest of the German delegates, from Koln, Braunschweig, and Essen, were standing to the side; we had just met and introduced ourselves...
From Cohn & Konig
An everyday sort of earthquake had caused the sapphire bottle of cholesterol-free mineral water from the Scottish highlands, which welcomed you to your suite at the Beverly Hilton along with compliments of the management, to vibrate off the nightstand...
From das Provisorium (the Interim)
For some unknown time he had experienced the world only in train stations. He moved from station to station, with rare interruptions, his mind retaining nothing but the images of train stations: they had become the very points of reference for his consciousness....
From der Fall Arbogast (the Arbogast Case)
Chapter 34 Klein took in the room in a glance: high ceilings, green linoleum that had been laid over the parquet floor, roll-front cabinets flanking the door to the office. There was a sink with a mirror and a towel and, in one corner, a Zeiss microscope...
From der Verlorene (Lost)
My brother squatted on a white blanket and laughed into the camera. That was during the war, my mother said, the last year of the war, at home. Home was the East, and my mother had been born in the East. As my mother spoke the words "at home" she began...
From Destillate
Cat's Cradle The fourth kitten of our black cat's litter was the weakest of the six. So weak that I even refrained from checking whether it was male or female. It got the name Puss. Puss only drank when one of its mother's teats happened to pop into...
From Deutschlandflug
Just a few moments earlier, at fourteen thousand feet, Seedorfer had been looking down at the sparsely settled plain along the Po, the snowy peaks and ridges still far in the distance. Half in play, half to test the brand new machine, he had banked over...
From Die Geheimen Aufzeichnungen Marinas (the Secret Notebooks of Marina)
The world began. Mr. Biformity and Mrs. Discord were the first couple. The woman bore four sons: Smoking Mirror, Feathered Snake, Southern Hummingbird, and Painted Bell. Each of them took on a post from which he could oversee everything and fasten the...
From Die Tochter (the Daughter)
It all started with Lebanon. In the summer of 1982, Motti was supposed to be in London, where he wanted to spend a couple of weeks before flying on to New Delhi. All his friends and classmates left the country for a while after the army, if they could...
From Friuli Friuli
Two become one One becomes flower One dies well One becomes moon One road becomes A house turns into a house Twice Easters on cheeks In all four directions suns rise With four marble-playing children the sun rolls and is glass A house melts to a speck...
From Fruhling (Spring)
The novella Friihiing is an account-in the form of a countdown-of the last 39 seconds in the life of the pharmacologist Christian Rauch, who commits suicide with his lover Gucia in Spring, 2000. Gucia, a Polish prostitute, is the daughter of a victim:...
From Im Grenzland (in the Borderland)
Im Grenziand is the story of a Kurdish man who comes into possession of a map of landmines planted during the war in the no man's land at the border. With this map, the smuggler is able to negotiate a path through the border region and bring back rarities...
From Offene Blende (Open Shutter)
Christine has been living in New York ever since she came to the U.S. illegally from East Germany in the mid- 1980s and is working in a small theater. In the mid-1990s, when she runs into Leah, a West German photographer, she pretends to be an American...
From Pathogen
A trader in quarantine: something horrible is happening inside of me when i was little i wasn't ever sick just once a wasp flew on my lip i gasped for air and nearly swallowed it in panic mental burdens carried over from childhood can prevent them from...
From Spione (Spies)
Off the farm lane now, where the green boughs descend to eye-level, isolated from the rest of the world, where the song of the lark, the cries of the farmers, even the lowing of the cattle reach their ears only distantly. They have taken their leave...
From the Church of John F. Kennedy
It was freezing winter north of Harper's Ferry. In Maryland, a large billboard invited you to leave the interstate and visit the nearby sacred Grotto of Lourdes, presumably the oldest in America. Assmann had already been to the original Lourdes in the...
Horst and His New Opel
Captain take us with you, spacious six-seater, six cylinders, panoramic windshield, stretching right back into the side panels, ride quality of the big Americans, the really big ones wheels, thirteen-inch, with super balloon tires, wide shark's mouth...
Indications
the power plant glittering, he said, quite contrary to. we walked through an arbor, the bushes trimmed. a few old rosehips among the branches, overhanging the garden edge. it was the shape of africa, he said, the birthmark on her forehead. had faded...
Introduction
Attending a literary reading in Germany today is like going to a rock concert. Not only are tickets often sold, but they're often sold out; and in the bookstores, Literaturhauser, smoky pubs, and convention halls, on television, radio, and the pages...
Journal of Repetitions
Back to the coast. In Odenthal again, in the neighborhood of a quotation that reached from Rome to Guatemala. Or you repeat the story of mere moments, the last of which stretches out between Richthofen's flight logbook and the pictures of Irmgard Keun...
Knights and Duellists
The hero steps out of the forest. He is wearing a heavy suit of armor. As he walks it clatters softly in the wind. The visor of his helmet has fallen shut, and he sees the world with different eyes. When the duellists catch sight of him, they laugh....
Language 1-8
LANGUAGE 1 My question. Howw close I am to a question. Clouds are my next hat in the moving sky. Talk on earth. How fast and beautifully I am dying. Iwas afraid in order to please you today. No sooner do I button my shirt. What did I say? LANGUAGE 2...
Laundromat
Other people go to church every Sunday, but I prefer going to the laundromat. Every Sunday, too. For me it's also a kind of ritual. Whenever "the lifestyle of the Eighties" gets discussed, the way "Eighties bars" are described always sounds like how...
Loose Leaf. Biomechanical Almanac
That a thing has as many sides as there are perspectives on it, and not the other way round, this we know. Here all metaphors lie in ambush. A bathtub, for instance, like a submarine, is a displaced womb, a metal casing with the invisible label: Rebirth....
Monument
going to pasture out of oneself at it, yes, to all the deep and solid grounds, there, our wandering has finally and of old become a ridge, while all the same every hair will count every blade of grass, painfully, again and again, in this stooping, to...
My Berlin
In 1976 I returned to Berlin after nine years. While in Turkey, I had landed in police custody following the military putsch. My friends Theo and Kati in Berlin had petitioned Amnesty International to intervene in order to bring me back to Berlin. They...
Notes Recorded on the Lofoten Islands
Between the sea and the steep rocks, there is nowhere for my airplane to land. The seagulls and the plane have nothing in common. The first eats fish, while the second swallows people. I do not bathe in the sea. The sea does not bathe in me. The rocks,...
Peanuts
1 The woman looked at the boy; he wasn't a pretty child. "Can't you see the numbers right before your eyes?" she asked, and kept on talking: "I can see the numbers: one, two, three, four, eight, ten!" Her fingers were clear and large in the air: "How...
Rhythm
Finally there. That took long enough. We get out and pay, "I'll take care of it." says Max. And then we're standing there, in the dim evening light, looking for this strange mansion. What time is it? Past eight already, crap! Where is this place? Damn...
Siberia
My father's mother once dragged her adversary out of the house by the hair. By the hair she grabbed hold of her, says my father, her black hair, and whirled her around in the hall once or twice before throwing her out. His father, my grandfather, didn't...
Signs of the Times
the omenon, he said, how it looks at us. it's always on our abstract side, he said, that we wish to be touched, he said with his back to us. facing the bookshelves, he ran his hand along the backs of the books, dictation raskolnikov, he said, you never...
Strange Matter
Just don't tell anyone how it happened. And don't say anything else about this place either. My brother is worried. We're fertilizing the garden with dung from the latrine. It's too late, the New Year has already begun, the heavy dung from the latrine...
Suleyman and Salieri
It turns out that what gets debated in the media actually does leave its mark in real life-a minor miracle I just discovered. First the media launch an exchange on a specific topic or issue, with serious papers tackling serious problems such as "The...
Summerhouse, Later
It was winter when Stein found the house. He called me, some time in early December, and said, "Hello," then nothing. I didn't say anything either. He said, "This is Stein." "I know," I said. He said, "So, how's it going?" I said, "Why are you calling?"...
That's Really No Way to Make Money
to prove how eurohip you are by making a special trip to the love parade, only someone from the east would think of something like that, or a lot of easterners together, but that's not true, because we're not from the east, we're austrian, and right...
The Dog's Visit
I'm supposed to go to a party, and the zipper at the back of my dress refuses to close. The doorbell rings. Much too early. Quickly I pull on my gloves and open the door. "You're much too early," I say, but in front of me is only a fat, shivering collie....
The Father Story
My father had a stand in Neumunster and then he hired this prick who ran the store. Satilmis was his name, a real good cook and a gambler. Gambled a lot, dice and poker, and that's the way it is in the game, sometimes you screw the other guy and sometimes...
The Lesser Half of the World
So mother, or what should I call you, Heike, Mummy, or progenitor. Don't be startled when you come in. When you see how the daughter you had hopes for is living. It's only temporary. All just temporary. Next week I'll find another place, you'll see,...
The Root of the Free Radical Is Heart
You are in the project. You're being discussed now. May there only be little black magic. You're the nautical skin. You navigate. You're in Europe. You're looking for experience and feeling. You're looking for them here. Now we're talking about your...
The Thinking of Chance
aside from quenching thirst hearing the genitive is the garters of knowledge the bestowal of an ear the doctor's order the visit of the cold lady the sighting of the sighted "what do you hear with if i have no mouth?" the law of the home-knit in genuine...
To *
TO * 1 The shortness of your breath was nothing new We let it pass and We lit up 2 On every steele's tip a thicken That's what you wanted and when sick Did not object when your big hands were stroked 3 Back into the dish you spat the soup. I fed you....
To Leap from Mountains, a Figure of Thought
of course, he said, but it's contingent on physics and chemistry. and provable by rules of mechanics, we tried to plead. he pressed the thumb of his left hand against the pulse of his right, his eyes roaming over the furniture in the room. tinny old...
Vineta
Do you remember, those times when silence was the silence of power? Do you remember, those times when we thought that silence was the silence of power? For an hour we travelled by train through the stillness. When we could have walked for five minutes...

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