Categories
Index

Borderless, November, 2021

Autumn: Painting in Acrylic by Sybil Pretious

Editorial

Colours of the Sky…Click here to read.

Interviews

In Conversation with Akbar Barakzai, a Balochi poet in exile who rejected an award from Pakistan Academy of Letters for his principles. Click here to read.

In Conversation with Somdatta Mandal, a translator, scholar and writer who has much to say on the state of Santiniketan, Tagore, women’s writing on travel and more. Click here to read.

Translations

Rebel or ‘Bidrohi’

Nazrul’s signature poem,Bidrohi, translated by Professor Fakrul Alam. Click here to read.

Motorcar

Jibonananda Das‘s poetry translated from Bengali by Rakibul Hasan Khan. Click here to read.

The Beloved City

Poetry of Munir Momin, translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

Rebranding

A poem in Korean, written & translated by Ihlwha Choi. Click here to read.

Perhaps the Last Kiss

A short story by Bhupeen giving a vignette of life in Nepal, translated from Nepali by Ishwor Kandel. Click here to read.

Morichika or Mirage by Tagore

Tagore’s poetry translated by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names to read

Rhys Hughes, Sutputra Radheye, Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, Sheshu Babu, Michael Lee Johnson, Prithvijeet Sinha, George Freek, Sujash Purna,  Ashok Manikoth, Jay Nicholls, Pramod Rastogi, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Vijayalakshmi Harish, Mike Smith, Neetu Ralhan, Michael R Burch

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

A story poem about The Clock Tower of Sir Ticktock Bongg. Click here to read.

Nature’s Musings

Penny Wilkes takes us for a stroll into the avian lives with photographs and poetry in Of Moonshine & Birds. Click here to read.

Stories

Waking Up

Christina Yin takes us on a strange journey in Sarawak, Malaysia. Click here to read.

Rains

A pensive journey mingling rain and childhood memories by Garima Mishra. Click here to read.

Khatme Yunus

Jackie Kabir brings us a strange story from Bangladesh. Click here to read.

First International Conference on Conflict Continuation

Steve Davidson explores an imaginary conference. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In Fragments of a Strange Journey, Sunil Sharma sets out with Odysseus on a tour of the modern day world. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Yesterday Once More?

Ratnottama Sengupta recalls her experiences of the Egyptian unrest while covering the 35th Cairo International Film Festival in 2012. Click here to read.

Embroidering Hunger

An account of life of dochgirs (embroiderers) in Balochistan by Tilyan Aslam. Click here to read.

To Daddy — with Love

Gita Viswanath takes us into her father’s world of art and wonder. Click here to read.

Simon Says

Ishita Shukla, a young girl, explores patriarchal mindset. Click here to read.

Welcoming in the dark half of the year

Candice Louisa Daquin takes a relook at the evolution of Halloween historically. Click here to read.

Musings of the Copywriter

In Crematoriums for the Rich, Devraj Singh Kalsi regales his readers with a dark twist of the macabre. Click here to read.

Essays

Renewal

Jayat Joshi, a student of development studies, takes a dig at unplanned urban development. Click here to read.

Once Upon A Time in Burma: Leaving on a Jet Plane

John Herlihy’s last episode in his travels through Burma. Click here to read.

A Legacy of Prejudice, Persecution and Plight

Suvrat Arora muses on the impact of a classic that has been coloured with biases. Click here to read.

The Observant Migrant

In Is Sensitivity a Strength or a Weakness?, Candice Louisa Daquin explores our value systems. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

Arundhathi Subramaniam’s Women Who Wear Only Themselves. Click here to read.

CJ Fentiman’s award winning book, The Cat with Three Passports. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Himadri Lahiri reviews Somdatta Mandal’s ‘Kobi’ and ‘Rani’: Memoirs and Correspondences of Nirmalkumari Mahalanobis and Rabindranath Tagore. Click here to read.

Suzanne Kamata reviews Iain Maloney’s Life is Elsewhere/ Burn Your Flags. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Anita Agnihotri’s Mahanadi –The Tale of a River, translated from Bengali by Nivedita Sen. Click here to read.

Meenakshi Malhotra reviews Turmeric Nation: A Passage Through India’s Tastes, authored by Shylashri Shankar. Click here to read.

Categories
Review

Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags

Book Review by Suzanne Kamata

Title: Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags

Author:  Iain Maloney

Publisher: Liminal Ink

Considering the amount time that it takes to mull over an idea, digest it, and then write a work of fiction, and the glacial pace of publishing, it seems incredible that novels set during the current COVID-19 pandemic are already in print. Then again, orders to stay home and widespread cancellation of events have given many authors unprecedented time for reflection and writing of short stories, novellas, and even novels. One such novella is the intriguing Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags by long-term Japan resident Iain Maloney.

The story takes place on Christmas Day in 2020, several months into the pandemic, and a few months after the ban on re-entry of foreign residents was lifted. Cormac, a forty-year-old Irish bar owner, has just returned from a visit to his sister in Dublin. His wife, Eri, is worried about judgmental neighbors. She tells him not to tell anyone where he’s been. This deliberate withholding of information hints at one of the themes of the book: Cormac and his wife suffer from a lack of communication. Finding themselves in close proximity for days on end, they can’t seem to get along. They may well be on the cusp of a COVID divorce.

The novella is divided into two sections. The first is told from Cormac’s point-of-view, as he goes on a hike alone while awaiting the results of a medical test. Present concerns mingle with memories of a friend lost to a drug addiction in a country that considers it a crime (“Japan doesn’t do rehab, it just does jail”), riffs on Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask and veiled women in Muslim countries, along with composed-on-the-spot haiku. In the second half, Eri, who is now the seemingly conventional owner of a language school, thinks back on her days as a fifteen-year-old high school dropout living with the punk rock band ‘Burn Your Flags’, and filming their exploits. As an act of rebellion, the band members wore their shoes inside their apartment. Earlier, Cormac tries to jolly Eri out of her midlife crisis, saying, ‘Yoko Ono is eighty-five and is still punk. You’re still punk.” But it’s not enough to dispel her malaise.

The publisher’s name is Liminal Ink Press, which seems particularly apt; Maloney’s novella perfectly captures this liminal space we’ve all been in. These characters are in-between, and the outcome of their stories is indefinite. Will Cormac get a clean bill of health? Will the couple stay together? Will the pandemic ever end? We don’t know. When the future is so uncertain, there is nothing to do but return to the past.

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Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She now lives in Japan with her husband and two children. Her short stories, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in over 100 publications. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and received a Special Mention in 2006. She is also a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/Wingspan Fiction Contest, winner of the Paris Book Festival, and winner of a SCBWI Magazine Merit Award.

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