CULTURE

PARTY HEADQUARTERS

To buy a trip to the Cosmos, to pay a million and some for it – I’m proud of this idea. But I need to be completely prepared physically as well as financially. Medical exams, yes, and all those procedures.

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FINAL CALL

…It was an almost ordinary day. We gathered in the common room and discussed the spelling of the words cappuccino and espresso. According to a nice little old man in a checkered shirt and striped pants, I forgot his name, the spelling was "campuccino" because it originated from Campuccio, and "expresso" because it was brewed fast and they served it on express trains in the past. He was very convincing and it took them some time to change his mind. Then we passed a ball to each other and we had to be truthful. The five of us were very careful not to be.

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MATTHEW KNEALE

London-born Rome-residing Matthew Kneale has been a household name in literary circles since the success of his novel English Passengers, 2000. A story about a religious-scientific expedition that seeks The Garden of Eden in Tasmania, it is set against the background of the brutal destruction of the New World by British settlers and convicts.

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ANNABEL, An excerpt

It is a kind of painting that rather changes in character, and takes on a richness the longer you look at it. Besides, you know, Gauguin likes them extraordinarily. He said to me among other things – "That...it's...the flower."
Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to Theo Van Gogh

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THE SMILE OF THE DOG, an excerpt from a novel

John, an American, is biding his time with the family of his Bulgarian wife as he drinks, smokes and makes enthusiastic but not particularly successful attempts to understand that strange Balkan country called Bulgaria.

Maya, a Bulgarian, is acquainted with the ancient history and agrees to help with the investigation.

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FROM BULGARIAN TO ENGLISH

What was the last Bulgarian, or non-English language, book you read? Don't feel uncomfortable if you cannot answer. Only three percent of all books published annually in the United States are translations, and fiction accounts for less than one percent.

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THE APPLES

She felt fresh. She even felt confident. She'd had a small energy bar. It was more like a small wafer actually, covered with a thick layer of chocolate. The chocolate was hard and when she took a bite it broke into pieces, scattering on the ground. Better off. Fewer calories, still enough energy. She had a cigarette, too. Smoking after having chocolate sucks. The taste is vile. She had a piece of gum to fix the taste, forgot about it and presented herself to the commission as she was, gum in mouth.

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EVERYTHING HAPPENS AS IT DOES, An excerpt

This story considers itself the story of everyone. I don't know if this is true. You will be the one to decide.

I myself am certain that all stories are love stories, so I have refrained from classifying it as such.

It is simply the story of women and men who are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, loved ones and friends... or, in a nutshell, of people who are tigers and lions, oranges and lemons.

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NARUHITO DREAMED

Naruhito works as an architect. He constructs earthquake-proof buildings. Drawing and drawing and drawing all day long. Sharpens his pencil and starts over again. When he gets home his supper usually consists of rice with vegetables. Or meat, only vegetables or only rice. In fact, he doesn't really care what he eats but what matters is when he goes to bed because Naruhito loves dreaming the most. Before he falls asleep Naruhito sticks his nose into a metal thermos labeled "Himalayan Oxygen".

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VILLAGE, An excerpt from a novel in progress

it hurts right in the clock

nailed to the wall

tick-tock, tick, tick,

thump, thump, thump, thump

we barely inhale,

the time will come

soon, on the hour,

our arrhythmia is a disease

which makes us human

and keeps us from suffering

when the clock's pendulum

first strikes us

they call it time,

to no avail

a little brown bird inside

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