This month’s Words Without Borders is a treat. It is titled “Groves of Lebanon” and features contemporary Lebanese writers. You can read excerpts from Amin Maalouf’s “Origins,” Etel Adnan’s “October 27, 2003”, Selim Nassib’s “Dinner Party in Beirut,” Venus Khoury-Ghata’s “Crazy Zarife,” graphic artist Mazen Kerbaj’s “A Short Description of Lebanon,” and many more. The issue also contains an interview with Italian novelist and poet Dacia Maraini, who championed feminist issues in the 60’s and 70’s, and an excerpt from her latest novel “Colomba.” This is what she says about Alberto Moravia and her debut as a novelist:
“Moravia was for me an example of intellectual honesty and artisanal seriousness. He taught me that the writer is always naked and exposed. When I met him, I had already written my first novel and I couldn’t find a publisher for it. He read it, thought it was good, and wrote a nice preface for the publisher, who in fact published it right away. He was always generous with young writers. Just as today I try to help young people who are starting to write and can’t find publishers.” That was in 1962, when she published “La Vacanza.”
Don’t forget to read the excellent reviews of Robert Buckeye on Hungarian writer Sandor Marai’s “The Rebel,” and Alex Wenger on Andrey Platonov’s “Soul.” Platonov’s “The Return”, by the way, is hailed by Penelope Fitzgerald as one of the “three great works of Russian literature of the millennium.” Read it, you won’t be disappointed.