World Literature Today – May-August 2015
Volume 89 Numbers 3-4
The current issue of World Literature Today is a double issue that assures us a broader variety than usual. The expected material is itself several evenings of very enjoyable reading, but the content of this issue does literally have something for everyone. And there’s far more than a short review can hope to do justice, even without examples and quotes. The current issue of World Literature Today is a double issue that assures us a broader variety than usual. The expected material is itself several evenings of very enjoyable reading, but the content of this issue does literally have something for everyone. And there’s far more than a short review can hope to do justice, even without examples and quotes.
“15 Voices from Israel and Abroad” provides a fascinating perspective. The first to catch my attention is the conversation with Kenizé Mourad on “The Secret History of Female Muslim Empowerment,” which looks at her new book In the City of Gold and Silver and the research that went into it.
In addition to the focus on “New Hebrew Writing,” there are pieces on “Saving Comics in Wartime” and “Masterworks of Manga.” Yes, there are illustrations and samples! “The Showa Masterwork of Manga Pioneer Shigeru Mizuki” is an intriguing lesson in both history and art.
In the fiction section, Xie Hong’s “The End of the Game” draws interest in its focus on a simple children’s game that happens to be played on what was once a cemetery. In the crime and mystery category, J. Madison Davis’s “Playing by the Rules” comments on the protocol, or lack of it, in mystery writing:
Rules are out of the question. Even the ‘guidelines’ are suffocating for the imaginative. All writers invent within the contexts of their genres and times, but those who cannot reach beyond them are only good for a laugh.
An echo of Davis’s point can be found in the conversation with Dory Manor, “Helping Young Writers Find Their Voice,” when he states “As an editor, I am even willing to publish young, talented writers whose works still betray a degree of unripeness—in my view, this is part of the role of a journal: to allow authors to try things out, ripen, find their voice.”
In poetry, there is Frank Paino’s “Museum of the Holy Souls In Purgatory”:
But what can the dead tell us that we don’t already know?
We are born from water into fire that keeps pace
with our days in desire, and beyond our last breath
lies understanding or oblivion.
Also in the “New Hebrew Writing” collection are “Five Poems” by Saar Yachin; all of which prompt us to go online to read more of the English translations of his poetry. From “An Invitation to Sail”:
These islands emerge not through tectonics, not through magmatics,
not by the finger of God, but
dreamt in an undersea drift, these islands undress the depths.
Even this brief review should make it clear that there’s a great deal of quality to read here, and quite a bit not mentioned. The “Summer Reads” tabs and the “Nota Bene” collection in the literary review section provide a list of nearly 20 books to select for those warm days on the deck. A quick review of the “Summer Reading Guide” can prompt the reader to take any number of trips to the bookstores. Just add your interests. This one issue of World Literature Today provides a delightful summer’s reading for nearly everyone.