Browsing Tag

fiction

22

Marble by Amalie Smith

Translated by Jennifer Russell

Daniel found her in the ground. He dug her free and brushed off the dirt. He joined the pieces, logged the pigment traces: how they were distributed across her clothes and her skin.

The Birds by Vladimir Poleganov

Translated by Peter Bachev

If she just looks long and hard enough through the grimy pane of the southern window, she is sure to see one of them returning to its nest. That’s what she’s been told…

Under Pressure by Faruk Šehić

Translated by Mirza Purić

They’ve brought us to the front line. Mud and fog everywhere. I can barely see the man in front of me. We almost hold onto each other’s belts lest we get lost. We pass between burning houses. The file trudges on along rickety fences. The mud sticks to our boots, stretches like dough.

The Females by Wolfgang Hilbig

Translated by Isabel Fargo Cole

It was hot, a damp hot hell, sweat emerged from all my pores. I began excreting smells, how strange, as though something within me were starting to mold, an extraordinary fromage, as though I smelled of my eyeballs, which bulged and welled with what seemed a sort of slime, a turbidity likely rising up from my loins, a twinge from the groin that brushed my heart, stinging; it dug slowly into my brain, but I hadn’t felt its onset.

The Governesses by Anne Serre

Translated by Mark Hutchinson

And to think he’d expected them to rally round at the first puff of smoke from his cigar! That, whatever the circumstance, whatever the temptations, it was to him they would turn, him they would support with their powerful young love.

The Cheese Story

By Olga Sezneva

I check myself in the mirror one last time. Black sweater, high neck, navy blue pants that you won’t see under my long apron. Dark-frame glasses. City smart, I’d say, no different from that mevrouw I saw selling gloves in E*.

Hunting Party by Agnès Desarthe

Translated by Christiana Hills

This isn’t exactly how Tristan tells his story to Dumestre. He doesn’t tell him everything. He doesn’t use words like “stammer” or “arrogance.”

Locals

By Sverrir Norland

Just then, my old man came rushing in through the door, a violent storm of red flesh and graying hair. He sent out a deep, satisfied grumble when he spotted me, then proceeded to waddle across the room like a giant duck.

The Storm by Tomás González

Translated by Andrea Rosenberg

Javier eyed his father’s invulnerable back as the old man, sitting up in the bow, received the morning full on his face. His father was skinnier and shorter than Javier, and he was wearing a polo shirt that had started out red but had long since faded.

Geography of Rebels by Maria Gabriela Llansol

Translated by Audrey Young

in that place there was a woman who did not want to have children from her womb. She asked the men to bring her their wives’ children
so she could educate them in a large house…

The Bottom of the Sky by Rodrigo Fresán

Translated by Will Vanderhyden

My mother—known as “Fair Sarah”—died during the great influenza epidemic, when I was less than a year old. I got sick too. And against all prognoses, condemned by the doctors, I survived, and no one dared call it miracle

The Paris Syndrome by Heidi Furre

Translated by Julia Johanne Tolo

This is the globe. It’s blue, with green, orange, and yellow sections. Sometimes pink or red. It turns in the dark, and has two white spots. The North Pole and the South Pole. If you want to leave the globe you have to send an application to somewhere like NASA, and you’ll need to be good at physics, math, and chemistry.

27: or, Death Makes the Artist by Alexandra Salmela

Translated by Niina Pollari

She believes she’s very happy. She tells herself that a loving husband, three beautiful children, a red granny cottage in an idyllic countryside setting, and a newish Opel station wagon in the yard is exactly what she’s always wanted.

Starlings by Solrún Michelsen

Translated by Kerri Pierce

Truth to tell, I’ve always thought that, when it comes to the animal kingdom, starlings are the creatures that most resemble humans. Could be that’s just wishful thinking.

Excerpt from Oneiron by Laura Lindstedt

Translated by Owen Witesman

Imagine you are partially blind. Minus eleven diopters. Imagine a dark exam room at an optometrist’s office. You’re sitting in a comfortable leather chair, afraid you’ll lose your sight entirely. You’ve carefully placed your old glasses on the table. The plastic rims, electric-blue ten years ago, are scuffed now.

T. U. V. by Zeshan Shakar

Translated by David M. Smith

I kept my mouth shut and realized that Stovner was a very small place, and Tante Ulrikkes vei even smaller. I realized that in Stovner, people lived in houses on one side and housing on the other, and that the two were nothing alike, something that held true for Oslo just as much as the rest of the world.

Elín, Misc. by Kristín Eiríksdóttir

Translated by Larissa Kyzer

My hands get no cleaner than an old bathtub. My fingernails are all clipped as short as possible, but the chemicals have managed to claw their way through the dead skin, into the bone. As if there’s no enamel.

Saving Agu’s Wife

By Chika Unigwe

But suffering is not without its lessons. Here, she has learned thrift. Not the thriftiness of her mother back home in Nigeria who bargains for palm oil until she gets a good price, and boasts.

Lalana by Michèle Rakotoson

Translated by Allison M. Charette

You cannot walk fast in Antananarivo. There’s a weight in the air, a heat that makes everything slow and viscous. There’s a constant small of noxious gas, an acid odor that gets into your lungs, infests your muscles. There’s the red dust, blackened by exhaust fumes, and the perpetual suffocation of the city, so precariously perched, so dry.

Jujube by Ubah Cristina Ali Farah

Translated by Hope Campbell Gustafson

Mama built our house with flamboyant tree branches and braids of palms, mixing a paste of resin, dung and red sand to protect us from water and from the monsoons.

Fox by Dubravka Ugrešić

Translated by Ellen Elias-Bursać and David Williams

Marlene was Polish (in age she could have been my daughter) and she occasionally cleaned my apartment for ten Euros an hour. Who knows how she’d found her way to Amsterdam and from where, but in the flood of words she showered on me in her poor, strongly Polish accented English, I remembered mention of a collective somewhere in Belgium with its leader whom she referred to, reverently, as “Baba.”

O, Henry! by Georgi Gospodinov

Translated by Angela Rodel

I can see her clearly now, wandering through the New York dusk on Christmas Eve. She grabs a cab, and in less than an hour she is standing in front of an entryway in Brooklyn.

“Gollum and I” by Elena Alexieva

By Elena Alexieva

I still can’t get used to living on ground level. The fact that from my kitchen window I see the people walking between the apartment blocks almost in their actual size keeps astonishing me. Living on the ground floor means we have no terrace. But we do have bars on the windows which we didn’t put there.

The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux

Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith

She lives alone in a smoke-filled apartment. Now and again a glass of wine may be seen–hers, or that of a casual visitor. A bird lives there too, looking out of the window for hours, indifferent, distant. One day she decides to bring some plant life into her home to freshen things up…

Three Plastic Rooms by Petra Hůlová

Translated by Alex Zucker

Don’t stink and watch your weight. Those are the most important resolutions I know of. Every morning I plop myself down in front of the mirror and stare into my face, just in case it might finally tell me something I don’t know. It stares right back, as if expecting the same from me.

Voices in the Dark by Ulli Lust

Based on the novel by Marcel Beyer

Surely Mama must realize that the little ones are scared and that we older ones know she’s lying. We can’t tell her so because the little ones would be even more scared.

The Kites by Romain Gary

Translated by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

I’m not going to hide at all, my friend. The ones who hide are always the ones they find. I’ve had smallpox twice; the Nazis just make it a third time.

Dignified Kiss of Paris Streets by Bae Suah

Translated by Deborah Smith

It began in Mao’s room. Hazy, formless, faint things, things that were neither light nor shade, yet at the same time the illegitimate children of both, a moment of glittering black and dark…

Belladonna by Daša Drndic

Translated by Celia Hawkesworth

On Saturday, November 19, 2002, sixty people incarcerated in a camp for illegal immigrants sew their lips together. Sixty people with their lips sewn reel around the camp, gazing at the sky. Small muddy stray dogs scamper after them, yapping shrilly. The authorities keep assiduously postponing consideration of their applications for leave to remain.

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

One Thursday in late August, ten men gather in front of Berlin’s Town Hall. According to news reports, they’ve decided to stop eating. Three days later they decide to stop drinking too. Their skin is black. They speak English, French, Italian, as well as other languages that no one here understands. What do these men want? They are asking for work. They want to support themselves by working.

The Endless Summer by Madame Nielsen

Translated by Gaye Kynoch

The days and weeks in Lisbon, the clear, higher, harder light out here by the coast, the slightly forsaken haziness of the city, a forgotten region of outermost Europe, the sound of the street-cleaning trucks advancing slowly through the streets behind Praça do Rossio in the last hour before daybreak, like big beetles snorting hoarsely in the dust of the strangely quiet city…

Collision by Merle Kröger

Translated by Rachel Hildebrandt and Alexandra Roesch

White swathes of steam float across the deck. It wreaks. Someone has puked into the swimming pool, and fibrous chunks float on the surface. Leg of duck in a truffle reduction—the Chef’s daily special. As though in slow motion, the girl straightens up, staggers away, reeling between stacks of deck chairs and disappears into the haze.

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore

By Alison Moore

He is not in the bedroom. She can hear the shower running in the bathroom, can hear him singing in there. She would prefer not to have to talk to this man who keeps calling her Ester as if he knows her. She is still annoyed with him for being so late and not even apologizing. She is obliged to feed the man – she wants to feed him, she always wants to feed men – but she would be pleased to get away without having to engage with him.

Moonbath by Yanick Lahens

Translated by Emily Gogolak

The elusive gazes of the men, the slightly aghast looks from the women, upon the arrival of this rider, all to suggest that he was a dreadful and dreaded being.

City of Ulysses by Teolinda Gersão

Translated by Jethro Soutar and Annie McDermott

You would’ve come home and told me all about it, filled with enthusiasm and doubtless in fits of laughter. If the conversation had ever taken place.

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

By Charmaine Craig

Khin had seen him before, the young officer. She had noticed his hands, strong and clenched by his sides, and the restless way he charged from one end of the seaport to the other.

Salki by Wojciech Nowicki

Translated by Jan Pytalski

The city was rebuilt to restore its previous look, sometimes down to exact details, following a naive belief that that would turn it back into what it used to be before the war. It was an exercise in fidelity without purpose, an empty gesture of men in love with history.

The Communist by Guido Morselli

Translated by Frederika Randall

He didn’t want to drop dead in that room. In the dark. Alone, without a helping hand: it was pure misery. The sound of his breathing did not seem to be him, but a machine.

Seeing People Off by Jana Beňová

Translated by Janet Livingstone

The river draws closer and closer to the stream of gawking people. They jump onto the sandbags so they can see themselves in it. And at night they dream dreams on the shore. Dreams in which clouds of dust whirl behind herds of galloping animals.

The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories by Osama Alomar

Translated by C.J. Collins

I took the big bag that I had inherited from my grandfather down from the attic. It was brightly colored like a storm of rainbows. I hoisted it onto my back and went out into the street. I closed my eyes and began to choose samples at random from everything that was inside: humans and stones and dust and flowers and wind and the past and the present and the future.

Celestine by Olga Ravn

Translated by Sherilyn Hellberg

The face, the voice, the hands press against the wall. Celestine up in the south-facing attic, in front of the stained mirror—and there is also a dried wreath there. In the darkness inside the wall, a glimpse of Celestine’s eyes. In one eye a nettle grows. The forest around the castle sparkled like silver, carrying Celestine’s name within it. She is furious; she hunts down the guests at the hotel when they sleep. She slides down the corridors. She licks their faces. She licks the sleep out of their eyes. She cries no no when the wall closes in on her.

Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov

Translated by Angela Rodel

I’ll try to introduce to you the six hunters individually and I’ll start with him, since he was the reason they set off in that miserable weather to track wolves.

Frontier by Can Xue

Translated by Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping

Nights on the riverbank were terrifying: it was as if the violent wind would blow the boxes into the river at any moment. Mixed with this strong wind were many howling wolves.

The Magician of Vienna by Sergio Pitol

Translated by George Henson

I was in Vienna this year, after a twelve-year absence. My arrival coincided with a mass rally of three hundred thousand people who protested against the return of Nazism to the country, precisely in Heroes’ Square, the same one where one million Austrians frenziedly cheered Hitler.

The White City by Karolina Ramqvist

Translated by Saskia Vogel

Her fatigue was bright and jagged. It rained down on her, dispersing her thoughts until they were but white noise. She had no idea how long she’d slept last night.

Radiant Terminus by Antoine Volodine

Translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman

Mudugan was a typical village of thieves, built in the middle of the forest in a gap that barely deserved to be called a clearing, so tightly did the trees encircle the log houses. There weren’t any paths that had been marked to get there and it was inaccessible to anyone who didn’t know exactly where the ravines and undergrowth were. That was where Umrug Batyushin learned to live his life as a self-sufficient child, there where he learned to shoot rifles, to carve up elk, and endure cold and hardship, as well as bear the howling of the wolves…

Merman by Tea Tulić

Translated by Mirza Purić

My husband is burly, and when he walks, it’s as if his steps are yawning. He stumbles over me as if over a pet. I sometimes hide behind a tree and wait for him to turn around. Or leave. If we’re going to a birthday party, I’m the one who wraps and carries the present. If he’s had a lot of wine, the room takes on a smell which makes me put on my shoes and walk up and down the street.

Volatile Texts: Us Two by Zsuzsanna Gahse

Translated by Chenxin Jiang

Europe is disintegrating, the old lady is falling apart. She recently appeared at the Museum Festival with a terrible heap of jewelry around her neck; she’d just dyed her hair blond; above her fake gold necklace hung her wretched, worn face, and then she laughed, walked up to the bar, embraced a tall young man and kiss him artfully.

The Life-Writer by David Constantine

By David Constantine

During the funeral, and after it when the mourners came back to her house, Katrin continued in the almost rapturous state she had been lifted into by the last hours of Eric’s life. It was over, accomplished, her strength had sufficed. And now meticulously she would attend in every detail to every thing that needed to be done. She allowed advice, but followed it her way; help, but she directed it. She accepted condolences, and herself extended them to whoever had been saddened by Eric’s death.

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

As soon as he entered the sleepers’ realm, the air around him grew sharply colder, with glittering silvery particles of light falling all around him. He watched the miniature flakes floating, they danced, liberated from gravity, yet still went on falling: falling ever farther until at last they alighted on the frozen earth and disappeared.

Of Darkness by Josefine Klougart

Translated by Martin Aitken

We come no closer, only the opposite—we are moving away. Moving backwards, losing the pores of the woman’s skin, we lose the pores, the fair down of her upper lip that you discovered, the lines of her skin reminding you of some other age—youth, funnily enough, that couldn’t quite be placed.