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The Stanley Foundation

World Press Review is a program of the Stanley Foundation.

October 2001
A New Light on Lithuanian Literature
Lithuania has been made a partner in the 2002 Frankfurt Book Fair. Frankfurt's conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes this may bring Lithuania's rich literary tradition a new, and long-overdue, recognition.

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Hanan Al-Shaykh: Only in London | The Middle East, London

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September 2001

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A Disaster Foretold: 'The Quiet American' | The Bulletin, Sydney

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August 2001

Haruki Murakami in 1996 (Photo: AFP)
The Elusive Murakami
“He has been made the subject of breathless comparisons: Auster, Salinger, Chandler, Borges. His books sell in millions to under-30s in Japan; now he is gaining large readerships worldwide. One day, his growing legions of supporters insist, he will win the Nobel Prize. Magazine editors hunt him down in vain. It seems that everyone wants a piece of Haruki Murakami.

“No wonder, as this elusive man tells me in a rare interview, he wants to hang on to himself: 'I’m looking for my own story...and descending to my own soul.' This kind of introspection is the key to his work, and the inner journey may also be the source of his appeal for young Japanese readers. Economic woes have transformed a country once famous for its discipline and formality. Young people no longer want to buy into all that. Murakami hopes that 'my books can offer them a sense of freedom—freedom from the real world.'”

Matt Thompson, writing for London's liberal Guardian, interviews the reclusive Japanese novelist. Full Story...

At a Glance:
Following the Money Trail—to Citibank
“For corrupt Mexican politicians and drug traffickers, Citibank was the bank of choice.

“On the morning of March 1, 1995, there was panic on the 17th floor of the Citicorp-Citibank building in New York City. Alarmed Citibank executives read the top story on the front pages of that day’s newspapers: Raúl Salinas de Gortari [brother of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari] had been arrested the day before in Mexico. They knew it was only a matter of time before investigators would arrive and begin to ask questions about the deposits made by Raúl Salinas at Citibank....

Antonio Jáquez, Proceso (liberal newsmagazine), Mexico City, March 25, 2001. From the June 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No. 6).

In Saramago’s ‘Cave’

“José Saramago (born in Azinhaga, Portugal, in 1922) has not hesitated to shoot poison darts at the so-called human condition or, better put, the state of humanity. La Caverna (The Cave) is more than a novel: It is an ax that breaks through the frozen ocean of our consciousness. And this is the only thing that Saramago intends to accomplish in his works: to awaken the consciousness of his readers and force them to react to the world’s problems. For the last 10 years, Saramago has managed to create a gigantic x-ray that reveals not just what we are, but also what we are becoming. Saramago is faithful to his ironclad—and at times polemical—intellectual convictions and never misses an opportunity to denounce the injustices being committed as part of the fiesta of neoliberal globalization.”

—Pablo Gámez, Arena (cultural supplement of Excélsior), Mexico City, Mexico, Feb. 25, 2001. From the May 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL.48, No.5).

Stanislaw Lem's Dark Vision
“ ‘An ocean of information is engulfing us. When I wrote my books as a young man, I was, of course, filled with illusions about the splendor of man’s rational nature. Now I have fewer of these illusions,’ says science-fiction author Stanislaw Lem. For years he had been a fervent champion of technological advances, a futurologist, an author of fulfilled prophecies, but now when he is asked about the future of our civilization, he presents a pessimistic vision.”

—Jacek Borowski, Wprost (weekly newsmagazine), Warsaw, Poland, December 24, 2000. From the March 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No.3).

Eighteen Years in Hell
“In the early 1980’s, news began to circulate in the French press. Little by little, we found out what had happened at the prison camp at Tazmamart, despite the total secrecy that surrounded the act of royal vengeance. The 58 condemned men, divided into two groups, were thrown into tiny, dark cells, without beds or care. They were given only the bare minimum of water and starchy food to keep them from dying of hunger or thirst.”

— Pierre Lepape, Le Monde (liberal), Paris, France, Jan. 5, 2001. From the April 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL.48, No.4).

Afghan Oppressions
“While the Taliban relentlessly extend their stranglehold on Afghanistan and their unprecedented repression against women, Spôjmaď Zariâb has become both a symbol of resistance and a major figure in Afghan literature. In France, she began to come to public attention in 1988 with La Plaine de Caďn (The Plain of Cain), then with Portrait de ville sur fond mauve (City Portrait against a Violet Backdrop), an adaptation for the stage presented at the Avignon Festival in 1991.”

—Agnès Devictor, Le Monde (liberal), Paris, France, Dec. 22, 2000. From the March 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL.48, No.3).

Colima's Pioneer of Gay Fiction
“A pioneer of gay fiction in the state of Colima in southwestern Mexico, writer Salvador Márquez Gileta did not live to see the publication of his novel La más exquisita agonía (The Most Exquisite Agony). The book re-creates the drama of an adolescent awakening to his homosexuality in his school and church environment in Colima. More than 15 years ago, Márquez Gileta tried to publish it in installments in the Diario de Colima, the city’s daily, but because of protests from certain conservative sectors, he did not succeed.”

—Pedro Zamora, Proceso (liberal newsmagazine), Mexico City, Mexico, Jan. 7, 2001. From the April 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL.48, No.4).

A Man of the People
“The great Nigerian novelist and essayist Chinua Achebe, one of the founders of African literature, celebrates his 70th birthday on Nov. 16. Out of his multifaceted work, the novels of his African Trilogy, written between 1958 and 1966, especially stand out. The first, Things Fall Apart, has sold almost 10 million copies worldwide and has become Africa’s best-known novel.”

—Detlev Gohrbandt, Neue Zürcher Zeitung (conservative), Zurich, Switzerland, Nov. 15, 2000. From the February 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL.48, No.2).