"The West doesn’t understand radicalism. It’s anger, isolation, alienation, pain – that’s what drives young people to take up arms against the world. Not religion." Fatima Bhutto
Posts tagged "Spanish"
Polar bears in Auschwitz

Polar bears in Auschwitz

“When I was in second grade, I found a piece of paper on my desk with the words, ‘You are a Jew’. I went home and asked: ‘Mum, what is a Jew?’ She explained that people have different religions, Christians, Protestants and Jews in Czechoslovakia. I said: ‘And we are Jews?’ The answer was a...
Life on the edge

Life on the edge

Rodrigo Fuentes’ Trout, Belly Up is an extraordinary collection of tales that weave together to create a dark picture of contemporary rural Guatemala. The stories coalesce around Don Henrik, a kind but unlucky landowner of Scandinavian descent, whose abortive agricultural projects include trout, cardamom and melon farming. We hear from family members and employees how his attempts...
The cow who wanted to be a dog

The cow who wanted to be a dog

It was the sugarcane harvest and the fields were burning. You could see flames all the way from here to the mountains. Ash floated around all day, sticking to your skin, your moustache, your eyelashes. We were all black with it. On the fifth day it rained. It doesn’t rain in December, but that year...
Butterflies

Butterflies

“You’ll see, my girl is wearing such a pretty dress today,” Calderón says to Gorriti. “It looks so nice on her with those brown eyes she has – its color, you know. And those little feet…” They’re standing with the other parents, waiting anxiously for their children to be let out. Calderón is talking; Gorriti...
Sons of the jungle

Sons of the jungle

Flanking the procession of those who only recently crossed the great border, tramping beneath the thin, constant drizzle of rain that has begun to muddy the paths through the jungle, the two boys who were born here and who live nearby move at a brisk pace, without approaching or speaking to each other: travelling with...
Uncertain regard

Uncertain regard

There is a point in his novel The Distance Between Us at which Renato Cisneros describes his father’s obsession with watching the TV news, and his own ineffectual attempts as a child to compete for his attention. In passing, he speculates that his entire subsequent career as a journalist and TV presenter could be seen...
Procedures

Procedures

Maria E never knew anyone to quit smoking without claiming that they’d been on three packs a day until just the day before. Nor did she know anyone to have their appendix removed without saying the surgeon claimed that if they’d arrived three minutes later, it would have burst and caused fatal peritonitis. Similarly, she...
The masterful Margarita

The masterful Margarita

From the moment I began reading them, I loved everything about the two novellas and story collection that comprise Margarita García Robayo’s Fish Soup. I found the author’s voice incredibly compelling and felt an instant connection. I could relate to the detachment, the darkness juxtaposed with understated humour, the sense of wanting to get away,...
Moisture

Moisture

“In girls, just like in other fauna, moisture attracts all sorts of nasties.” Olga Luz was pacing from one end of the classroom to the other, her gaze fixed on an invisible point somewhere above our heads. She walked in a straight line, always the same path. As if she was afraid of getting lost,...
The solid case for ambiguity

The solid case for ambiguity

At a moment of writers’ block, “the United Kingdom came to my rescue,” declares Javier Cercas in The Blind Spot: An Essay on the Novel, that is based on his Weidenfeld Lectures at Oxford in May 2015. The United Kingdom is in fact The Telegraph, or to be precise, an article by Umberto Eco, quoting...