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Best Book of 2016: Joanne Kyger’s On Time

Hoa Nguyen

Hoa Nguyen on why Joanne Kyger’s On Time is the best book of 2016.

Best Book of 2015: Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo

Valerie Miles

‘Time is a rubber band, and in a single sentence, ghosts and alternative worlds superimpose’

Best Book of 1955: The Magician’s Nephew

Josie Mitchell

‘Much like Tolkien’s, admittedly vaster, legendarium, Lewis’s world is exquisitely conceived.’

Best Book of 1900: The Autobiography of Dr William Henry Johnson

Jennifer Kabat

‘Johnson is now a ghost of history; he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, but I can’t let him disappear.’

Best Book of 2000: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

Anne Meadows

‘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.’

Best Book of 1941: Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher

Harriet Moore

‘This book is about yearning for the Sunday nights of childhood, or dreams; it is a meditation on hunger in all its forms.’

Best book of 1983: The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek

Sophie Mackintosh

‘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.’

Best book of 1964: Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr

Lisa McInerney

‘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.’

Best Book of 1965: Everything That Rises Must Converge

April Ayers Lawson

‘O’Conner has for me the effect of nailing and then blowing up one’s most casual illusions’

The Cleanse

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

‘There is foam on the sea of our blood. It is the foam of history. We are the survivors, we say.’

Here Be Dragons | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

A round-up of maps, literary, diagrammatic, chaotic and specific. Maps of London, maps of literature, maps of maps.

The Neighborhood

Kelly Magee

‘Can bad mothers be taught to be good? Or maybe, can we be incentivized to bond? To love?’

Polymorphous Perversity | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

New erotica from Anaïs Nin; Emily Dickinson’s bedroom; Isaac Asimov’s dystopias, interracial love circa 1963 and more.

The Fairytale

Jennifer Kabat

‘In Hollin Hills, we believed our flatware could change the world.’ Jennifer Kabat on the intersection of modernist architecture and espionage.

The Transition

Luke Kennard

In the not-so-distant future, middle-class underachievers are faced with a difficult choice: prison or motivational business classes.

The Fall of Rome | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

Word of the Year 2016: Post-Truth; Don DeLillo on the enemy in the White House; Leonard Cohen, the novelist; Ariel Levy’s Thanksgiving in Mongolia.

The Very Ecstasy of Love | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

Zadie on Beyoncé, Didion on diarists, Bureaucracy as Sadism, How Did They Win that prize? and more.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Werewoolf? | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

Sylvia Plath’s sass, Bob Dylan spars with Leonard Cohen, Guillermo del Toro talks vampires, Shirley Jackson scares the baby boomers

Thomas Pynchon Found! | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

The politics of outing writers with pseudonyms, the power of Nell Zink’s first sentences, and Trump fiction.

Swimming Underwater

Merethe Lindstrøm

‘When I picture my childhood, it’s like I’m swimming underwater.’ Merethe Lindstrøm’s story is translated from the Norwegian by Marta Eidsvåg, and is the winner of Harvill Secker’s Young Translators’ Prize 2016.

All that Offers a Happy Ending Is a Fairy Tale

Yiyun Li

‘If you were like me, you would know the obsession of the compulsive reader: every street sign; every bottle label’

The Unknown Known | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

A round-up of things we love, from all over the internet.

The Adventures of Amit Majmudar

Amit Majmudar

‘Never laid a snare for nothin. / Never caught a bullfrog. Broke / my slingshot wishbone, wishin. / Never had a smoke.’ New poetry from Amit Majmudar.

Who are the Campbells? | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

Our latest discoveries from the literary internet, from the new selfishness epidemic to artistic theft.

Sarandí Street

Silvina Ocampo

‘Around the kerosene lamp fell slow drops of dead butterflies.’

Three Poems

Sylvia Legris

‘Narcotic, / unworldly, a toxic doctrine / of undivine retribution.’

Three Poems

Jaan Kaplinski

‘Things didn’t remember their names and I have begun to forget them’

The Weak Spot

Sophie Mackintosh

‘There was a certain kind of teenage girl who would relish not just the killing, but the trophy taking, choosing a tooth and using the pliers herself.’

Five Things Right Now: Melissa Lee-Houghton

Melissa Lee-Houghton

‘It thrills and delights me that I can now watch concerts I would’ve given several fingers to go to in the ’90s, albeit wonky though these videos are.’

Body Language

Juhea Kim

‘Always being pulled in opposite directions was how she remained upright.’

Stripes on My Shirt Like Migratory Birds

Hoa Nguyen

‘ “I got lost in my life” / which may or may not be / misheard.’

The Tenant

Victor Lodato

‘She’d gotten so used to her loneliness, she didn’t want to fall from it now.’

The Price You See Reflects the Poor Quality of the Item and Your Lack of Desire for It

Melissa Lee-Houghton

‘I walk away from you / without glancing back, in case you see in me something I don’t.’

The Heart Compared to a Seed, c.1508 (after Leonardo da Vinci)

Sylvia Legris

‘noce, the heart—the nut that gestates the tree of veins.’

Mother and Father

Thomas Kilroy

‘Like most wars, this was a war of the young.’ Thomas Kilroy on his parents’ experience of the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish civil war.