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Revolutions internationale

July 4, 2008 |  6:23 am


The website Words Without Borders is celebrating revolution the entire month of July. If it happens to be raining where you are today, or if you're inside taking refuge from a barbecue, there is plenty of reading material to keep you distracted, even entranced.

There is fiction — the Stalin of "Stalin's Wife" isn't the Stalin — and there is nonfiction, the devastating excerpt from "The Arrest of Heberto Padilla and Belkis Cuza Malé." There is even an excerpt from the French graphic novel "Chaabi," which is wonderful in this English translation, although the rendering here is a bit small.

All the pieces appear in English. Original versions are in German, Catalan, Spanish and Norwegian — the last, unexpectedly, is "Black Sky, Black Sea," about Turkey. 

If these tales make you curious about the writing of other nations — if it's still raining out there, or if the barbecue has gone cold — you can visit the page where PEN has archived many of the talks and readings from its 2008 World Voices Festival.

Meanwhile, many happy returns to the United States as we celebrate the 232nd anniversary of our own revolution.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo of Cuba's former Ministry of the Interior building in Havana by Mark Scott Johnson via Flickr