Ken Follett reads his piece, 'Bad Faith', from Granta 137, and discusses his work with Rosalind Porter.
‘Another kind of people hobgoblins / the minds of little men.’
Mona Abouissa on her experiences with Egyptian communists, and the role they played in Egypt before 1952, when they were excised from official history.
‘According to family legend, Ferguson’s grandfather departed on foot from his native city of Minsk with one hundred rubles sewn into the lining of his jacket’
We celebrate some of the remarkable people who died in 2016
‘She draws from her mind the image of a giant steel girder, pictures it smashing through the wall of the bar, obliterating everything, legs and arms reaching and waving.’
‘When the Holy Family was fleeing from Jerusalem, spiders wove such a thick web around the road that the swords of Herod’s soldiers couldn’t pierce it.’
‘Fingers twirl / composite stems whose colour / twist rock-candies, snake-ladders / precious yellow, less-rare green.’
‘I could not decide if love was real as a thing or something that could never entirely be proven, like God’
‘What sets Hoffmann’s work apart is the meeting of the joint impulses of Enlightenment and Romantic thought’
‘While the terrible pain of speech is made clear, this book ultimately reminds us that we must not be silenced.’
‘Now more than ever environmentalists need to remember what it’s like to write for that real world.’
Hoa Nguyen on why Joanne Kyger’s On Time is the best book of 2016.
‘Time is a rubber band, and in a single sentence, ghosts and alternative worlds superimpose’
‘Much like Tolkien’s, admittedly vaster, legendarium, Lewis’s world is exquisitely conceived.’
‘The beauty of The Idiot lies in its opposition to closed systems.’
‘The novel submits to an internalized discipline: it is an observation machine’
His is a force more penetrative than all the bogus machismo of Hemingway.
‘Hunt writes with brio, the visceral often blooming into the mystical.’
‘New poetic expressions can still emerge and evolve in Hebrew – an ancient and almost prehistoric language, with its grumbling sound’
‘I bought my copy for a few dollars from a second hand bookshop so stuffy I often faint on the doorstep after browsing inside, my hands swollen and red from dust mites.’
‘His room filled with the roaring of the wind, and he heard the sound of...
‘Johnson is now a ghost of history; he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, but I can’t let him disappear.’
‘David Grossman is a writer who speaks to the heart, and this is his masterpiece.’
‘Plunged inside the skin of the horse, I felt his sensory burdens, sufferings and fears: his keen sensitivity to sound, smell and touch (even the weight of a saddle)’
‘It is the novel I have read which best expresses the honest and sad truth of art: that it is often produced in precarity and performed in near silence, but that it can also redeem a life.’
‘Rivka Galchen’s debut novel is one of my favourites from the last few years.’
‘Eileen Chang writes perfectly for the romantic in an unromantic and unrelenting world.’
‘So much good poetry is being written in and about and for this ghastly time. I cling to it.’
‘What a writer, and what a vision. What a perfect book to read in preparation for the end of the world.’
‘This book is about yearning for the Sunday nights of childhood, or dreams; it is a meditation on hunger in all its forms.’
‘You'd have to have lived through that bleakness. You'd have to know with your body, your hands, your eyes, your mouth, the weight of that fear – how it’s not strictly describable.’
‘After 2016 I’m done with sentimentality, and it’s hard to think of a less sentimental book than The Piano Teacher, objectively a masterpiece, subjectively a book that changed my life.’
‘In days of such human cruelty and pettiness and stupidity, we need reminding that we are all capable of savage compassion as well as the contagion of hatred.’
‘In those spring nights, I sat by barbecue stalls in the streets of Beijing, reading this novel under dim streetlights while eating lamb skewers.’
‘O’Conner has for me the effect of nailing and then blowing up one’s most casual illusions’
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