My mother was born on 20 August 1923 and christened Sheila Mary Felicity Cobon. At some stage she was told the supposed meaning of these names, or looked them up in a book. Her forenames meant by derivation Blind Bitter Happiness. As an adult Sheila found this augury ruefully amusing, or faintly ann…
Blind Bitter Happiness
Our most popular reads of 2018
Who Killed Tolstoy?
Elif Batuman travels to the International Tolstoy Conference in Russia to determine, once and for all, if Leo Tolstoy was murdered.
Abuse, Silence, and the Light That Virginia Woolf Switched On
When Virginia Woolf was thirteen, she was abused by her half-brother George Duckworth. No one believed her – not even her biographers.
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
Nell Boeschenstein on the fraught discourse surrounding post-mastectomy reconstruction.
Jillian Weise explains what being a cyborg really means.
The Man Who Lived
Snigdha Poonam reports from India, where rumours spreading over WhatsApp fuel flash mobs, political violence and murder.
What I’m Listening To
‘Obscure repertoire is a sensible hiding-place for mediocre technique.’
Everything Is Different in Your House
‘At the end of the year, an ambulance brought Suseela home from hospital to die’.
Portrait of My Father
‘I put my trophy on a high shelf, and at some stage laid it face down.’