* Online lit mags are publishing some of the most intriguing writing available today. Every Monday, I post a pointer to a site that offers fiction either as free content or as samples from subscriber issues. Today’s pointer is to Café Irreal.
The Cafe Irreal is a quarterly webzine that presents a kind of fantastic fiction infrequently published in English. This fiction, which we would describe as irreal, resembles the work of writers such as Franz Kafka, Kobo Abe, Clarice Lispector and Jorge Luis Borges. As a type of fiction it rejects the tendency to portray people and places realistically and the need for a full resolution to the story; instead, it shows us a reality constantly being undermined.
by Stephen Guppy
In your new life as a Babylonian astrologer, you are entrusted with the regulation and taxation of shipping. You wonder about the relevance of maritime commerce to your knowledge of the stars, but you decide not to ask the Comptroller. The question remains on your tongue like a dark patch of blight on a leaf. For several days, you search for the harbour. In the fragrant bazaars and used-car lots of the metropolis, people avoid your gaze and refuse to reply to your questions. Some try to ward off the influence of your presence with intricate symbolic gestures. Others distract you with detailed answers that have nothing to do with your questions. Eventually, you wander off.