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March 2019

Dreaming of Us: New Swedish Writing

Image: Catherine Anyango Grünewald, Film still from Vanity + Shame, 2011. By arrangement with the artist. 

This month we bring you Swedish-language literature from Sweden and Finland. The writers here engage with inclusivity, poverty, identity, and representation, confronting cultural stereotypes to present new perspectives on their countries. Linnea Axelsson’s August Prize-winning epic poem offers a multigenerational portrait of the indigenous Sami culture. Poet Mara Lee finds a teenage confrontation with neo-Nazis affecting her later relationships. Balsam Karam conjures a hellish prison in a futuristic setting, and Andrzej Tichý considers the people contemporary Swedish society has disavowed. In work from two Finland-Swedish writers, Mathias Rosenlund upends the stereotype of Scandinavian affluence, while Adrian Perera exposes the unthinking racism behind publishing “categories.” Poet Nino Mick interrogates identity and the limitations of bureaucracy. And Johannes Anyuru travels to Alhambra and meditates on history and Islam. We thank our guest editor, Saskia Vogel, who introduces the issue and provides several of the translations. The costs of the translations were defrayed by a subsidy from the Swedish Arts Council, gratefully acknowledged. Elsewhere we present new writing from Indonesia and the second part of our fiction serial, “The Tears of an Unknown Artist, or Zaytun Pasta.”

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Book Reviews

In “HELL,” Alasdair Gray Creates a Celtic, Wind-lashed Translation of Dante’s “Inferno”

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.

One-third Women, “The Milk Bowl of Feathers” Adds Provocative New Voices to the Surrealist Canon

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.

Recent Issues

Reimagined Communities: Writing from Wales

The Queer Issue X

No Center: Omani Writers on the Question of Identity

Behind Closed Doors: Chilean Stories of Domestic Life

Dreaming of Us: New Swedish Writing

International Graphic Novels: Volume XIII

Laughing Matters: International Humor

Another Country: Afro-Brazilian Writing

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