All posts tagged: 2022

Translation: The Men Go to War

Story by TOMÁS DOWNEY

Translated from the Spanish by SARAH MOSES

The piece appears below in both English and Spanish.

 

Translator’s Note

When I first read Tomás Downey’s story, “Los hombres van a la guerra,” I reread it. This was the ending’s doing: it called into question all that came prior, as the best endings do (I think here of Alice Munro). So I had an ulterior motive for translating the story: I wanted to understand how Tomás had put it together, how he’d written towards that ending. I’m not convinced I’ve figured it out. But in a sense, translating the story was studying it, and I hope that something of the circular way it works makes its way into my own writing. I hope, too, that readers of “The Men Go to War” have a similar experience: that the ending directs them back to the beginning for a second read.

— Sarah Moses 

Translation: The Men Go to War
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Podcast: Meera Nair on “The Desire Tree”

 

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Transcript: Meera Nair Podcast

Meera Nair speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her essay “The Desire Tree,” which appears in The Common’s new fall issue. Meera talks about the long process of writing this piece, which explores loss and longing through a visit to a banyan tree in Kerala, India that is said to grant prayers. She also discusses writing from memories, finding the right length for a piece, and teaching revision strategies to her creative writing students.

headshot of Meera nair next to issue 24 cover

Podcast: Meera Nair on “The Desire Tree”
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The Desire Tree

By MEERA NAIR

By the time the car stops at the end of the dirt road, we’ve been jolting along for an hour. Before us is the banyan tree we have come to see—its giant trunk surrounded by hanging roots, its distant crown shutting out the sky.

It is summer in Kerala, and the world is liquid and shimmery with heat. The roads and fields are parched, waiting, suspended in a burning delirium for the moment the monsoon will break. My aunt Sudha and I have just driven through miles of sun-blasted paddy fields, but the abrupt immensity of the tree makes the light feel shadowed, as if dusk has fallen at noon. A hushed feeling comes over me as the dark, looming presence asserts itself.

The Desire Tree
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Perfect Storms

By ALEXANDRA TEAGUE

 

The Jungle Cruise

My mother and I are on a chlorinated river that’s somehow simultaneously the Amazon, Congo, and Nile, floating languidly so we don’t run into the boat in front of us and “don’t scare the wildlife”: the kind of joke the Disney guide, in his safari hat and over-pocketed explorer outfit, keeps making.

Perfect Storms
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Operation Avalanche

By ROSSELLA MILONE

Translated from the Italian by LAURA MASINI and LINDA WORRELL 

“I am living permanently in my dream, 
from which I make brief forays into reality.”

—Ingmar Bergman, The Magic Lantern: An Autobiography

 

  1.  

Erminia danced the Charleston. My friend Gianluca told me how, almost every evening, his grandmother would pause on the threshold of the French doors that opened onto the terrace and trace out the steps. Her arms swinging, legs twisting, a toe to the front, then to the back, a heel swiveling to the side, a toe to the front again. She confined her movements to the doorway as though she wanted to go unnoticed, and yet somehow she demanded the attention of anyone nearby. Whenever I was at Gianluca’s, I always saw her singing softly to herself.

Operation Avalanche
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Which One is the Lifeline?

By ALEXIS M. WRIGHT

I could tell you,
If I wanted to,
What makes me
What I am.

But I don’t
Really want to—
And you don’t
Give a damn.

—Langston Hughes, “Impasse”

There are two cops from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department standing in my grandmother’s kitchen. We are all gathered around the kitchen island silently negotiating the power dynamics. Two Black women, two White cops. The cops have come to collect the details for the report, but I’m doing most of the talking. Grammy bears witness.

Which One is the Lifeline?
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