In the margins
* Geoff Wysner, at Words Without Borders, reviews the memoir Algerian White, by Assia Djebar.
Algerian White was written as a tribute to three men. Each was a friend of the author. Each was a writer himself, in addition to his regular profession. All three were killed in the space of less than a year, and the stories of each of their deaths are at the emotional heart of the book.
* Interesting cyber-publishing venture: An Iranian novella is translated thanks to a collaboration between three websites, excerpted and put on sale online. The translator writes about the process here. The story has a stream-of-consciousness, Kafkaesque quality:
When I get to the hotel, the smiling deskman portends bad things and I am right. He gestures to a woman sitting on the couch in a corner of the lobby. And from here, I see only her salt and pepper hair and when I can almost see her profile, she sees me. There is no time to run away. Although I am really tired. I didn’t talk to a woman on the phone and I was not waiting for a woman. My thoughts are lining up. I see her hand come toward me and with no choice I shake her hand and start to say how are you, with no choice, and that is the way of life no choice, apparently. Automatically, without thinking, we go and sit down where the woman had been seated. So quickly you got to know the city.