Two Lines 20: Landmarks
I said before that the landscape mattered little, that my landscape was the one I kept at my side: her.
—from “The Dark” by Sergio Chejfec, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary
This 20th anniversary collection of works in translation was assembled in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an extraordinary series of revolutions destined to reshape the world order. One could detect stirrings of regional change in Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution in 2005, which brought an end to nearly thirty years of Syrian military occupation, and then again in the Iranian protests against electoral fraud in 2009. But no one foresaw the scale of unrest triggered by the self-immolation of a Tunisian fruit-seller in December 2010. Who could imagine that one act of despair would set in motion forces powerful enough to topple governments across North Africa, threaten monarchies as far away as the Gulf, and lead to civil war in Syria? —CHRISTOPHER MERRILL