World Literature Today

World Literature Today is a bimonthly literary journal owned and published by the University of Oklahoma. It has been published since 1927 and is headquartered in Norman, Okla.World Literature Today, which was founded by Roy Temple House under the title Books Abroad, attracts students, scholars and general readers of foreign books from around the world. The publication started with 32 pages in 1927 and grew to 256 pages by its 50th anniversary. In 1977, the name changed to World Literature Today and is now the second oldest literary journal of its kind in the United States.World Literature Today is the sponsor of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which is an award of $25,000 given every two years by an international jury of writers, critics and literary scholars. The publication is unique in its regular reviews of books from every part of the world, including those that are only iavailable in their native languages including Lithuanian, Esperanto, Maori, Basque, and Macedonian, before they are widely recognized. In 1975, World Literature Today published a special issue on the Greek poet, Odysseus Elytis, and four years later, in 1979, he won the Nobel Prize. The Swedish Academy cited the journal's special edition as a primary source for its decision for the prize. Two other famed writers who received the journal's Neustadt award and went on to win the Nobel include Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Czeslaw Milosz, a Polish poet. Daniel Simon is the Editor-in-Chief. The Managing Editor is Michelle Johnson.

Articles from Vol. 87, No. 5, September/October

100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared
Kim Stafford. 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared. San Antonio, Texas. Trinity University Press. 2012. isbn 9781595341365Kim Stafford's moving memoir of loss and guilt about the suicide of his beloved brother, Bret, at age forty is...
Absolution
Patrick Flanery. Absolution. New York. Riverhead. 2012. isbn 9781594488177Patrick Flanery's first novel, Absolu- tion, captures the complicated phi- losophies and mores of the educated and liberal occupants (in addition to a spectrum of others) of post-...
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Anthony Marra. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. New York. Hogarth. 2013. isbn 978- 0770436407After reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, I can only echo the amaze- ment of other reviewers: that such an accomplished novel is Anthony Marras first...
A Displaced Person: The Later Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin
Vladimir Voinovich. A Displaced Person: The Later Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin. Andrew Bromfield, tr. Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern University Press. 2012. isbn 9780810126626A Displaced Person: The Later Life and Extraordinary...
A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi
Aman Sethi. A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi. New York. W.W. Norton. 2012. isbn 9780393088908Aman Sethi's A Free Man joins such excellent recent nonfiction accounts of India as William Dalrymple's Nine Lives, Katherine Boo's Behind...
Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
MISCELLANEOUS Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. Beau Beausoleil & Deema K. Shehabi, ed. Oakland, California. PM Press. 2012. isbn 978- 1604865905Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad is a winding street about one thou- sand feet long, noted for its many...
An Elastic State of Mind: D.L.D.'S Autobiography in Poems
Ren Powell. An Elastic State of Mind: D.L.D.'s Autobiography in Poems. Eirik Lodén, tr. Stavanger, Norway. Wigestrand. 2012. isbn 9788281401150Partly a poetic biography of Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802-87), partly the por- trait of an epoch, An Elastic State...
A Phone Call from Dalian/Doubled Shadows
Han Dong. A Phone Call from Dalian. Nicky Harman et al., ed. Brookline, Massachusetts / Hong Kong. Zephyr / Chinese University Press of Hong Kong. 2012. isbn 9780983297017Ouyang Jianghe. Doubled Shadows. Austin Woerner, tr. Brookline, Massachusetts /...
At the Crossroads: In Search of the Nigerian Abiku
When the author moved to West Africa to study literary spirit-children caught between two worlds, she had only begun to suspect she might be one herself.In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole...
Complete Plus: The Poems of C. P. Cavafy in English
C. P. Cavafy. Complete Plus: The Poems of C. P. Cavafy in English. George Ecoriomou with Stavros Deligiorgis, tr. Bristol, United Kingdom. Shearsman. 2013. isbn 9781848612662When Plato compared Greeks to frogs around a pond, he probably could not have...
Editor's Note
When does a life bend toward freedom?grasp its direction? - Adrienne Rich, "Inscriptions," 1991-95In an essay on "The Homo erotics of Travel," Ruth Vanita propos- es mobility as a defining trope of queer literature: "If there is some truth to the adage...
Ending Up with a Question Mark: An Interview with David Albahari
Over the past four decades, Jewish Serbian-Canadian author David Albahari has produced a body of work that persistently questions matters of identity, language, and history. Until moving to Calgary in 1994, he spent most of his youth and adult life in...
Five Movements in Praise
Sharmistha Mohanty. Five Movements in Praise. Mumbai. Almost Island. 2013. isbn 978- 8192129518In three books published over a period of eighteen years, Sharmistha Mohanty has been showing, with increasing consistency and verve, that there is more to...
Forgetting the Bodies
With David, in HavanaI wanted to forget the bodies just as I have for- gotten the doors, the half-closed books that I held against your chest and mine, during a sum- mer that I knew was going to be final and eternal.I looked at the stairs of the Hotel...
Genesis
The first time I saw your father,I stared back into the pool at your reflectionwhile he waded through,the water moving in gentle circles away from us.The first time, I thought it was the Nilewe'd dipped our heads into,the water thick with primordial...
Heartbreak Hotel
Checking into a hotel, a traveler's thoughts turn to poverty, race, and sexuality as he explores the past and present of Rio de Janeiro.The Sambadrome in Rio is located in a neighborhood called Lapa, which is also where I happened to find the last avail-...
"Here the Sun's for Real": The Language and Politics of Translating José Eugenio Sánchez
The following essay looks at original translations of "underclown" Mexican poet José Eugenio Sánchez to explore the way that attention to postcolonial undercurrents can enrich the reading and translation of world literature.I n José Eugenio Sánchez's...
How to Fare Well and Stay Fair
Adnan Mahmutovic. How to Fare Well and Stay Fair. Cromer, England. Salt. 2012. isbn 978- 1907773280Whereas much exile literature fore- grounds educated urbanités voicing nostalgia for lost cultures, Adnan Mahmutovic portrays Bosnian vil- lagers who renounce...
In Times of Fading Light
Eugen Ruge. In Times of Fading Light. Anthea Bell, tr. Minneapolis. Graywolf. 2013. isbn 9781555976439Whatever "light" the Utopian vision of communism brought people, it fades under the grinding duress of "real socialism" as it is lived in this Buddenbrooks-like...
Is Just a Movie
Earl Lovelace. Is Just a Movie. Chicago. Haymarket. 2012. isbn 9781608461752Kangkala, a calypsonian, is the narra- tor of Earl Lovelace's Caribbean saga. A self-styled "poet of the revolution," he was active in the Black Power move- ment that, in the...
Lapse Americana
Benjamin Myers. Lapse Americana. New York. New York Quarterly Books. 2013. isbn 978- 1935520719In reading Benjamin Myers's second collection of poetry, one is struck with how frequently "neighbors" and "neighborhood" occur, sometimes specified as friends...
La Vida Doble
Arturo Fontaine. La vida doble. Megan McDowell, tr. New Haven, Connecticut. Yale University Press. 2013. isbn 9780300176698How to represent evil and torture bear- ably, enhance or put into perspective a lasting and frequently trite and polemi- cal literary...
"Music City's" Literary Scene
CITY PROFILEThe first time I stepped foot in Nashville, Tennessee's capital city, I was eager to explore the city's streets and expose myself to its well-known music culture. I wasn't disappointed. The architec- tural juxtaposition is stunning: the tall...
Nota Bene
Benny AndersenThe Contract KillerPaul Russell Garrett, tr.Norvik PressThe prolific Benny Andersen turns a failed private investigator into a bumbling hired gun in this short comic play. Andersen presents absurdist approaches to questions of life and...
Our Man in Iraq
Robert Perisic. Our Man in Iraq. Will Firth, tr. New York. Black Balloon. 2013. isbn 978936787050This postmodern, postcommunist picaresque hilariously skewers Croa- tian, Western, and global culture as it follows the rapid descent of quasi-journalist...
Perroformance Bookshop
Havana, CubaNot far from 23rd and L, where the hotel Havana Libre, the Yara movie theater, and the popular Coppelia ice cream parlor converge, Eliezer Jimenez's bookshop offers a vast selection of books to curious passersby, whether tourists or Havana...
Queer Lit
WHAT TO READ NOWThe importance of LGBT rights has been a prominent social and political lightning rod for decades. Today it is at the forefront of our politics, our history, and our culture. During this year alone, two of the worlds largest powers made...
Samba Niçoise
Jean Emelina. Samba Niçoise. Nice, France. Editions Baie-des-Anges. 2013. isbn 9782917790502Without the back-cover photograph and blurb indicating that Jean Emelina is a retired professor of the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, one would be inclined...
So the Path Does Not Die
Pede Hollist. So the Path Does Not Die. Bamenda, Cameroon. Langaa Research & Publishing CIG (African Books Collective, distr.). 2012. isbn 9789956727377This absorbing novel vividly brings the African diaspora to life. The main character, Finaba,...
So Who Has Time to Read?
Social Class and Crime Writing, Part 1Apiece of fiction is often said to "find its audience," mean- ing that certain elements of the piece appeal to a particular set of readers that has some characteristic or set of characteristics in common. Sometimes...
Summer Solstice, Berlin
WORLD MUSICSummer Solstice, 2013: Berlin. It is a perfect midsummer nights eve, not a cloud in the blue sky at 8:00 p.m. Today is also the Fête de la Musique, an annual event that began in Paris in 1982 and is now celebrated across Europe. As part of...
Sur la Scène Intérieure
Marcel Cohen. Sur la scène intérieure. Paris. Gallimard. 2013. isbn 9782070139293"A book whose center lies on the periphery, and which provides noth- ing to hold onto, would that be sheer nonsense?" asks Marcel Cohen in the first pages of his latest...
Taking Their Place: Queer Lit in the Twenty-First Century
For guest editor George Henson, it's been a long journey from reading The Front Runner in 1977 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, to writing about queer lit for World Literature Today. But just as he has found his place here, the writers featured in this issue have...
That's Absurd!
NEW BOOKSLove Is Power, or Something Like ThatA. Igoni BarrettGraywolf PressListed as one of the most anticipated books of 2013 by The Millions, author A. Igoni Barrett presents several stories, all about the absurdity that undoubtedly comes with love....
The Barbary Figs
FICTION Rashid Boudjedra. The Barbary Figs. André Naffis-Sahely, tr. & afterword. London. Arabia Books. 2012. isbn 9781906697426When Rashid and Omar spend an hour together on a flight from Algiers to Constantine, the former decides he will use the...
The Bridge of Beyond
Simone Schwarz-Bart, Barbara Bray, tr.New York Review Books Classics, 2013Born in 1938 on the southwest coast of France, Caribbean writer Simone Schwarz- Bart spent her childhood in Guadeloupe, an island in the Lesser Antilles. She later studied in Paris,...
The Dinner
Herman Koch. The Dinner. Sam Garrett, tr. New York. Hogarth. 2012. isbn 9780770437855Not since watching the film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover has bearing witness to others' fine dining been so voyeuristically uncomfort- able as reading...
The Ghost of Nikita Akulin
For Yasha & DinaTen years after Nikita Akulin suffered a fatal heart attack in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge on Halloween, dressed as a mouse on the way to a costume party with his daughter, his work had become famous. What neither man nor mouse...
The Secret Life of Vladimir Nabokov
Andrea Pitzer. The Secret Life of Vladimir Nabokov. New York. Pegasus. 2013. isbn 9781605984117The thesis of Andrea Pitzer's book on Vladimir Nabokov is an ambitious one, and its ambition is reflected in her title: The Secret Life of Vladimir Nabokov....
The Woman of Porto Pim
Antonio Tabucchi. The Woman of Porto Pim. Tim Parks, tr. Brooklyn, New York. Archipelago. 2013. isbn 9781935744740The Woman of Porto Pim is an odd sort of treasure: a collage of literary fragments that together craft a por- trait of both a place and...
This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching
This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching. Megan Volpert, ed. Alexander, Arkansas. Sibling Rivalry. 2013. isbn 9781937420420Had Plato been privy to This Assign- ment Is So Gay, he might have changed his proclamation that would banish...
Three Poems
(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)Going out to Plant SunflowersSpring sneaks past like an army deserterpedestrians still wear last year's prison garb.The sun with its many hardshipscan't shine the whole city green.A water-fed yellow-faced...
Three Poems
TodayTo the irrigation ditch, where all the carpand minnow livedCame murky water - not clean,And with that flow, those little bastardeels -Its that kind of day: a dragon s belchThe Sound of Ancient WoodOne hears the sound of ancient woodIn the heart...
Tiempo De áNgeles / A Time of Angels
verse Homero Aridjis. Tiempo de ángeles / A Time of Angels. George McWhirter, tr. Francisco Toledo, ill. San Francisco. City Lights. 2012. isbn 9780872865648With its side-by-side bilingual presentation, accompanied by Francisco Toledo's bold, whimsical,...
Time on My Hands
Giorgio Vasta. Time on My Hands. Jonathan Hunt, tr. New York. Faber & Faber. 2013. isbn 978- 0865479371Giorgio Vastas Time on My Hands is a yearlong adventure in the footsteps of a young boy in Palermo, Sicily, whose life is dramatically twisted...
Turning Thirty
On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, the narrator recounts three near- death experiences and his journey from Morocco to France. With nods toward Dostoevsky and Genet (echoing the Lazarus scene between Raskolnikov and Sonya in Crime and Punishment),...
Twelve Views from the Distance
Mutsuo Ta ka hash i. Twelve Views from the Distance. Jeffrey Angles, tr. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 2012. isbn 9780816679362Mutsuo Takahashi is one of the most prominent contemporary Japanese poets to have thematized homo- eroticism....
What Use Is Poetry?
In an address to the Yale Political Union on April 23, 2013, Meena Alexander began with a line from Shelley's 1821 essay, "A Defence of Poetry." The resolution-"Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world"-led to a lively debate. What follows...
Zywe Cienie
Barbara Toruñczyk. Zywe cié nie. Warsaw. Zeszyty Literackie. 2012. ISBN 9788360046364In 1982 a courageous young woman, Barbara Toruñczyk, launched a new Polish literary magazine in Paris. Against all odds this magazine, Zeszy- ty Literackie (Literary...
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