As the Northern Hemisphere shivers and wonders when the sun might next appear, we’re offering a break from the gloom by turning to humorous work from our archives. From political satire to broad farce, slapstick to the subtlest of ironies, the writers here demonstrate the value of comic relief. In three sardonic looks at government, Fouad Laroui’s diplomat loses his pants but keeps his wits, Hilda Twongweire’s loyal minister covers up his bosses’ assignations, and Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain’s hapless speechwriter undergoes trial by rewrite. Iharilanto Patrick Andriamangatiana eggs on a market scheme. Gabriela Wiener finds three’s company. Empar Moliner discovers a way out of marital boredom, while Saša Stanišiç and Wladimir Kaminer journey into farce. Behnaz Alipour Gaskari’s respectable matron finds herself in an anxiety dream come to life. Huang Fan’s master real estate salesman designs a blueprint for success. And Griet Op de Beeck’s dinner guest is served up a social conundrum. Elsewhere we present Francophone poetry from Algeria, introduced and translated by Marilyn Hacker.
A Pun, an Idiom, and an Expletive Walk into a Bar: International Humor
When we think of translating humor, we may think in terms of capturing jokes.
The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers
So, nichts pairs of pants and Europe awaits me at nine o’clock sharp.
It’s a well-known fact that rhyming jingles attract customers.
A Classical Education
"And Mister Mozart didn't fasten his seatbelt either," the little monster tattled.
I’ve been unfaithful on Good Friday, Mother’s Day, Christmas and even during a coup d’état.
Our government was very generous with its citizens; it couldn't be compared to an imperialist regime.
The Invention of the Aspirin
To think that by just using her imagination, they could all be hers, bores her stiff.
Weapons of Mass Diplomacy
Look, seriously, he's gonna make you rewrite it ten times.
Baking the National Cake
He feels like opening the door and stuffing the VP into one of the old closets.
A History of Condo Sales
And so our company’s gigantic neon sign escapes your sight, perched atop an eighteen-story condominium.
She was now sitting half-naked in front of the door.
What You’ve Given Up Hoping for Counts Twice as Much, She’d Discovered
In general Kathleen didn’t look at the contents of toilet bowls, but in this case it didn’t take much to notice the colossus.
Reviewed by Jamie Mackay
By fusing a dialect-laden verse with knowledge and respect for Dante’s original, the Scottish writer and illustrator has built a bridge across borders and nations.
Reviewed by Susan Aberth
Edited by Mary Ann Caws, this anthology delivers new insights into this radical movement and rectifies past omissions to its canon with more intellectually daring and provocative non-French and female voices.