The new issue of Asymptote is out today!
Some highlights: Reif Larson’s (author of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet) essay on Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence which was a novel before it became an actual Museum in Istanbul. Larson traveled there before reading the book. (The book’s great, by the way, if you’re still looking for a summer read. It tells the story of a man who falls in love with his younger cousin and creates a museum of her.)
The Pocketwatch is a story that borders on the fantastic from contemporary Taiwanese writer Huang Chunming. “What most appealed to Xiaoming about the watch was its hair-thin second hand. It ticked off each second, as rhythmic and spirited as goose-stepping soldiers…”
Abdellah Taïa is a Moroccan writer who got death threats in his home country when he came out as a homosexual in a newspaper interview. A few years later, when the Moroccan government was cracking down on gay writing, he penned Homosexuality Explained to my Mother. It’s addressed to his mother because he knew he “couldn’t write to a minister—he wouldn’t respond because they don’t recognize people like us." The letter touches on homosexuality, but truthfully the letter addresses all those who are ‘different’ who face an oppressive society.
There’s more, much more, of course, but those are my favorites. There’s also a great essay on Chinese writer Qian Zhongshu, a translation by poet Marilyn Hacker, and profiles of 20 young and upcoming writers working in Chinese languages.