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PostWorld Press Review, November 1999 (Ronald Hilton, USA, 11/18/99 1:12 pm)
One of the main aims of WAIS is to encourage people to know another
country's viewpoint, and that is also the aim of the World Press Review.
Although it is an excellent example of faction, its November issue
devotes a special section to world books, largely fiction. It appeared
just as French President Jacques Chirac convened in Paris a world
congress of intellectuals to protest against the U.S. attempt to impose
its culture. The issue opens with an article by the Spanish novelist
Arturo Pérez Reverte, "Meeting the challenge of the U.S. bestseller,"
Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood follows with a similar piece.
Argentinian Alberto Rangel, author of A History of Reading
accuses the English-speaking world of having a profoundly arrogant
culture. Another article describes how Indian publishers are rushing to
translate books into English, which is the only way to ensure them a
The Italian Umberto Eco sees the Internet as the great enemy. The Uruguayan magazine Tres devotes an article to the centennial of the 1899 birth of Anglophile Jorge Luis Borges an article entitled "The Solitary Imposter." I knew him and wondered how he got his great fame, but that title seems crude.
Novelists may suffer from lack of fame and cash, but my heroes are faction writers who risk their lives for telling the truth. Indonesia's Suharto ran a series of island penal colonies which do not seem to appear in the National Geographic Atlas. Pramoedya Ananta Toer describes the one where he was held in "The Voice of Indonesia's Gulags."
A similar victim was Russian Grigory Pasko who spent twenty months in jail for his reporting. Remarkably, his "View from a Russian Jail" shows an extraordinary ability to laugh about his misery. Indeed, humor is an excellent way to fight abuse. The World Press Review always has two pages of excellent cartoons. These are just some of he features on the magazine. It may be described as "Around the World in Fifty Pages."