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Albania

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Pho in Saigon, 2021
After six months in Albania, it was time to move on. Céline: “When you stay too long in the same place, things and people go to pot on you, they rot and start stinking for your special benefit.” Actually, this did not happen to me in Albania. The longer I stayed, the more I loved... Read More
Librazhd, 2021
I just had my best sleep in a long time. My dreams were elaborate, meaning my harried mind finally had a chance to iron out, at least partially, a few kinks. In one dream, I was asked to review some miserable literary text, with a few footnotes in French. As I fudged and botched this... Read More
gjirokaster-2021
Borges and Bioy-Casares created a detective who solved crimes from a jail cell. Don Isidro Parodi could help others, but not extricate himself from a false accusation. Removing themselves from the world, desert hermits were still sought out by those overwhelmed by day-to-day problems, whether financial, familial or perhaps even sexual. Nathaniel West’s Miss Lonelyhearts... Read More
kukes-2021
Five weeks ago, it looked like war would break out in Europe. With up to 150,000 Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border, The Saker concluded, “In my professional opinion, what I see is a joint preparation by the Ukronazis and the USA (along with the UK and Poland) to attack the Donbass and force... Read More
shkoder-2021
I’m in a tiny Tirana café built around a eucalyptus tree. John Belushi, the Madonna and someone’s deceased grandma charm its wooden walls. I sip a macchiato to start my day. At the bar, an old man in an old suit orders a raki. It’s not quite nine, yet he’s downing a shot of five-alarm... Read More
tirana-2021x0428
Is Albania, believe it or not, for here, you can walk around, sit inside cafes, bars or restaurants, worship at a packed church or mosque, and travel by crowded buses between cities, etc. Though you’re supposed to wear a mask in public, most folks do so with their nose sticking out, because it’s hard to... Read More
tirana-2021x
Though long-inhabited, Tirana never became a city until after World War II. In 1938, it had but 38,000 people. Further, its architectural heritage has been much destroyed during the Communist decades, so there are almost no historical churches or mosques left. A striking exception is the Et’hem Bey Mosque, completed in 1821. Only shuttered by... Read More
tirana-2021
I’m in downtown Tirana. My 7th floor room has a fridge, desk, three chairs and a wardrobe. There’s also an electric kettle, which is useful not just for hot beverages, but instant noodles and soups. Heat is love. My private bathroom is clean and new, with plenty of hot water, and strong shower jets. My... Read More
Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.