This week’s Discoveries is full of rad poetry, translations and criticism.
‘His sheets smell of formalin. / She feels as if her insides // are outside her, in a freezer.’
‘Mass travel has liberated the form. No amount of package tours will stop ordinary life quietly continuing everywhere on earth.’
‘Mothers: our first source of love, our first heartbreak.’
A discussion of the Soviet experience, the rise of mass cynicism and the politics of Russia and the US today.
‘The wet in the air is like signal anxiety: life is about to / change.’
‘The deer were standing in snow that came almost up to their bellies. They gazed at us calmly, as if we had caught them in the middle of performing some ritual whose meaning we could not fathom.’
Six writers and translators respond to Donald Trump’s travel bans. ‘It is always easy to invent enemies; it merely takes a failure of imagination.’
‘Everyone was foreign, and so, in a sense, no one was.’
‘We do not understand why, nor did we covet such long life, but here we are, our respective addictions and madness with us to the end.’
‘Must I deny my predilection, and marry, and doom myself to a certain, shall we say, dearth of fulfillment?’
‘We want to share with you some of our favourite pieces – published by us and by others – that present clear-headed explorations of gender in our society’
Take a paws from your busy day for this week’s Discoveries – guest edited by Granta’s very own Typo the cat.
‘Breaking your family’s heart was the price you paid for rescuing your own.’ A young American begins her life-changing journey to the Soviet Union.
‘Our globalised world of easyJet and Google Translate does not seem to have fostered any greater understanding’
‘The world is teeming with demons who are always looking for ways to screw with your good fortune.’
‘Our Civilization cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness.’ A very short history of the censor-moron in the United States.
‘There is no lack of talent in this country. All we lack is decent leaders.’ Pakistan’s secular world runs against fundamentalism in Nadeem Aslam’s latest novel, The Golden Legend.
Padma Viswanathan on the absurdities of the US Border Patrol Agency. ‘The new security was going to be unpredictable, by design.’
Diane Williams reads from her latest book and discusses her approach to writing and editing, the gatekeepers of literary publication and stitching.
A collection of fan mail, featuring correspondents James Joyce, Henrik Ibsen, Anthony Burgess, Shirley Jackson and more.
‘Which bodies can go where might be the central question of our century.’
Not long before he died on 21 December 1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald recorded himself reading a version of John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.
‘Where emotions are suppressed and actions monitored, acting only becomes ubiquitous, and so convincing that we even trick ourselves.’
‘I can almost believe in the permanence of these warm days, this unchanging child whose hand fits mine. But I can feel the cold and the darkness coming.’
‘Michelle had learned a valuable lesson: Do not leave the house unless you look ready to meet Matt Dillon.’ From the novel Black Wave.
A gothic tale of love between a noblewoman and a ghost in eighth century Japan, translated by Jeffrey Angles.
A refugee family’s journey from Syria to Germany.
‘The liquid tingled, a subtle electrification, as the scent changed, bloomed, became an extension of the boy himself.’
‘Too often, a kind of travel writing – especially the novel set abroad in an exotic locale – feels like a way of allegorizing and escaping problems at home.’
After a sudden stroke, Binyavanga Wainaina and his lover travel to Nairobi to reconcile with his father.
‘How will the world end? Virus, war, natural disaster, Donald Trump in the library with the candlestick?’
Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.
A Syrian refugee visits London’s oldest houses of fashion. ‘The contemplation of the perfection of a craft, worn by a man who knew its worth, and his own.’
‘Writing about other people doesn’t have to be an exercise of power or a theft of identity.’
‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’
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