We turn to international fiction for new voices, new worlds, and new perspectives. But beyond the new, there’s another feature that I find myself in dire need of right now: external gravity. This month we publish excerpts from two recent selections in Archipelago Books expansive map of world literature. The first story, “Igifu,” by Rwandan writer Scholastique Mukasonga, makes physical the weight of hunger (igifu) and shows how lack can become the center around which a family orbits. The second selection is an excerpt from Colombian novelist Tomás González’s Difficult Light. The novel consists of thirty three meditations on family and beauty, told by a painter looking up from the gravity well of grief. Both Mukasonga and González write with profound depth and make us question whether the center we’re wheeling around is really so central, so inescapable after all.
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