Whim of the Gods at Words Without Borders

May 3rd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


Penned by Patrick de St. Exupéry’s (Antoine’s son), a career foreign correspondent, the very graphic 2014 graphic novel Whim of the Gods blends fact and memory as he revisits Rwanda on the anniversary of the genocide he witnessed there twenty years ago, in 1994. Artist Hippolyte’s sensitive watercolors provide a heartbreaking counterpoint to the human devastation. Read an excerpt at Words Without Borders.

Bernard Quiriny in Bengal Lights

May 1st, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


Bengal Lights, in its latest issue (Autumn 2014), features an excerpt from Bernard Quiriny’s satire “Black Tides,” the fifth story I’ve published from his multi-prizewinning 2008 collection Contes carnivores.

Bengal Lights is a literary journal out of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Our tastes are cosmopolitan: no location, no writer, no genre is off-limits. we welcome all writers: established or beginning, grizzled veterans or fresh-faced newbies, versed in the classics or cyber-narratives. we also seek to publish quality writing from bangladesh and south asia, but above all we seek to be engaged, to be a bazaar where all genres can mingle and multiply.

We seek writing that reflects the spirit and diverse voices of bangladesh and the rest of south asia. we also want expressive writing from the wider world beyond it. we are searching for fresh voices and new talent. we seek to forge literary connections between bangladesh and the wider world.

Here’s an excerpt:

The lights went down, and the first image was projected onscreen. It showed smoke shot from a helicopter: a gigantic black mushroom, quite alarming. After that we saw the oil tanker in different stages of sinking, then the massive flood that escaped its tanks and spread over the ocean. The club members waxed ecstatic like art lovers before a stormy sky by El Greco. Philippe narrated his photos, recounting his feelings on beholding such scenes of desolation. Next came the photos taken from the coast, when the sheet of bunker fuel hit shore. If the aerial shots were still bearable for being relatively abstract, these were so repulsive as to turn one’s stomach: petroleum patties stuck to the rocks like sooty buboes, birds bogged down to their beaks, natives pathetically trying to gather the spill with rakes, and even a lost little boy, his feet in fuel oil, a gluey patty he gazed at disgustedly in his hand, not knowing whether to hurl it far away or hang on to it so as not to add to the general desolation. It was appalling. Gould came and sat down beside me, murmuring a gentle reprimand: “Remember, morality has no place here! The disaster has already happened; it’s not our fault, nor is it within our power to repair. So check your guilt at the door.” I tried as best I could to suppress my nausea; all around me, the club members were purring with pleasure. It was very strange: the sight of oil-covered animals, soiled beaches, and lichens sopping with petroleum aroused in them the same kind of reaction that pornographic pictures did in the average person. These lovers of black tides weren’t just perverts: they were in fact connoisseurs of a special kind of obscenity, akin to refined erotomaniacs whose tastes run only to sophisticated depravities.

Belgian Bernard Quiriny (1978 – ) is the author of three short story collections: L’Angoisse de la première ligne (Phébus, 2005), which won the Prix Littéraire de la Vocation; Contes carnivores (Seuil, 2008), which won Prix du Style, the Prix Marcel Thiry for fabulism, and Belgium’s top literary prize, the Prix Rossel; and Une collection très particulière (Seuil, 2012), which won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire. He has also written two novels: Les assoiffés (Seuil, 2010), a satirical dystopian alternate history of Belgium as a feminist totalitarian state, and most recently Le village évanoui (Flammarion, 2014), as well as a biography of symbolist poet Henri de Régnier, Monsieur Spleen (Seuil, 2013). His work has appeared in English in Subtropics, World Literature Today, The Coffin Factory, Weird Fiction Review, and Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2012.

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