The Shell


"The Shell" illustration for "The Shell" by Syrian author Mustafa Khalifa.

The text has been translated from arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette and it has also been translated into chinese, by Francis Li Zhuoxiong. The bio-text from Asymptote explains in a very fine way who Khalifa is, and what the text is about:
"Mustafa Khalifa (b.1948) is a Syrian author who was imprisoned for more than twelve years by the Syrian regime for his political activities as a member of the leftist opposition to the regime of Hafez al-Assad. From 1982-1994, Khalifa was held without trial at various state security prisons, including the infamous Tadmur Military Prison, a detention center described as a "kingdom of death and madness" by poet Faraj Bayraqdar and the "absolute prison" by dissident Yassin al-Haj Salih. He is the author of The Shell, which has been lauded as one of the finest examples of Arabic prison literature, and which has been translated into French as La Coquille. He currently lives in exile, where he continues to write against the al-Assad regime." 

Read the full text here


illustration for the short story "Transglottism" from the book "Zugzwang", by Eduard Màrquez. Translated from Catalan by Lawrence Venuti.

Transglottism was the first illustration I started working on for Asymptote, in november last year. The story takes place in a stuffy library auditorium, where a student and the simultaneous interpreter, in the middle of the boredom starts and amorous affair, through the air and the airphones. It's a resourceful and amusing story and on the site there's also another beautiful short story by Eduard Màrquez, which I recommend you all to read.

 Read the full story here

Until a Hurricane Sweeps Through

"Until a Hurricane Sweeps Through",
ink and digital

illustration for Until a Hurricane Sweeps Through, by Margarita García Robayo, on Asymptote. Translated by Maureen Shaughnessy.

Here's a excerpt from the story:

"My first flight was to Miami. It was the busiest international route in the city, and also the most sought after: I competed and I won. I wanted to go to Miami because buying things is cheap and the weather is warm and because the men aren't gringos. Young flight attendants don't like gringos because they don't know how to fuck; the older ones do, but they don't fuck anymore.  
Have you been to Miami? I asked Julian. He said he had, but I could tell he was lying. Julian was watching TV in my living room, a boxing match was on. My brother was in the shower because they were going to a party. My mom was on the phone with my grandma, some relative's cousin had died. My dad had gone out to pay some traffic fines." 
Read the full story here.