At last!

The best of the Web's premier journal of international writing, now available in one handsome volume.

"Short stories, essays and poetry from 'parts of the world where the Internet is not yet so strongly entrenched but where
the human imagination most assuredly is...'"
- Publishers Weekly

"A thought-provoking mélange of essays and short stories…by authors who will be enriching us for years to come." 
-Foreword Magazine

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ISBN: 0-9669877-2-1

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An International Online Journal of Idea & Observation
Winner of the MILKWEED AWARD

Congratulations to Shireen Joanna for her story "Mr. Gurupadam's Affair" (Winter 2004) which has been selected as a "Notable Story" of 2004 in the storySouth Million Writers Award 2005. The list of the
top ten stories of the year will be published on March
1, 2005 at which time public voting on the best story
will also begin.

Winter 2005

Back Issues

The Black Tongue
Excerpt from a Novel 
By Anjana Basu

 Women are not born witches. Life makes them turn that way. If you want the truth of what I say, look at the facts: there are no young witches, no child witches. All the women torn or hacked to pieces in the columns of the newspapers are old. Some of them are not even witches at all. Perhaps just women like me who discovered the gift of a black tongue when everything else had failed them.

A Family Business
By Padma Prasad


The young man--Guru--came to work punctually on Wednesday morning and set up his drafting table, brushes and other materials with a rhythmic but studied care. When Kim first saw him, his shirtsleeves were tightly rolled up, his face purposeful, his fingers already moving like precision instruments.

The Stowaway
A Poem
By Amari Hamadene

Someone came here while I slept, 
Entered the room, slipped into my slumber, 
Watched me sleeping, slept with me. 
His breath was my breath, his silence my own. 

Fly the Nest
By Nandini Seshadri 

And then there his grandfather was, rubbing oil onto his bare, spindly legs. Bhaskar came to a halt as if he'd just been slapped.

Heat Wave
An Essay
By Lila Rajiva

"Monsoons Delayed," announced the newspapers unnecessarily, since now in the second week of June, even a jackass would know something was wrong. In fact, the jackass tethered at the corner of the road was rolling its limpid eyes at us as though to ask what we had done to make the weather so insufferable.

Democracy's 9/11 in Pakistan
Haikus from Borneo
By Abbas Zaidi

In Pakistan democracy has always been a weak institution. The role politicians have played in its poor maintenance is certainly blameworthy, but it is the army, in collusion with the bureaucracy, that has always ultimately undermined democratic rule.

Milne in Toronto
From a Journal

Your average Toronto security guard is big, paunchy, short-haired, in his twenties or thirties, and has the overweening impression that the whole world looks up to him or should if it knows what's good for it. 

Anando Bhairavi 
(Joy Destroyed)
A Poem
By Shakti Chattopadhyay (1933-1995)
Translated by Anjana Basu

Today, in the same room, the picture’s tilted
Unlike that lost monsoon’s last hours
There were rain-drenched flowers in the garden
Morning glory showers

The High Stool
By Abha Iyengar

In my village one learned the art of keeping one's sari in place, or the men would call out, "Look at that girl. She does not know how to conduct herself in the presence of men. See how her pallav is falling. Her mother needs to teach her a few things." 

Two Reviews
By Anjana Basu

by Khushwant Singh

At the heart of the book is a preoccupation with Indian hypocrisies – Singh has always maintained that as a race Indians are sexually repressed. Sex, of the untie-the-pyjama-string-and-let’s-get-down-to-it variety is central to every story, beginning with the Pahari miniature on the cover.

by Boman Desai

Apart from Farida’s talents, Desai describes her to us in terms of her shapely legs, her bosom and the short skits she wears in Mumbai. Perversely, in Chicago, she drapes herself in saris.

Back Issues

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The opinions expressed in Gowanus are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or editorial staff.

Copyright (c) Gowanus Books 1997-2005