Best Book of 2013: Tom Drury’s Pacific
‘There is a remarkable flow to the novel, like that aimless but essential drunken chatter after your third pint.’ John Patrick McHugh on why Tom Drury’s Pacific is the best book of 2013.
The Trouble With Rape
April Ayers Lawson on rape, trauma, and the difficulty of speaking out about sexual abuse.
En Route to The Promised Land
Ken Light revisits the photos he took of immigrants crossing the border between Mexico and the US in the 1980s.
Fyodor Denisovich Konstantinov
‘A piece of boxwood, gripped in a vise, / waits on the workbench for his knife.’ Poetry by Lev Ozerov, translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk, and introduced by Robert Chandler.
All Hail the Holy Bone
‘It is part angel, part lepidopteran, part Rorschach inkblot.’
No Machine Could Do It
‘In the future we have to be as interesting to the AI as our pets are to us.’
Jack Losh reports from rebel-held Bria in the Central African Republic, where fighting has forced thousands into a displacement camp.
Bohemian Rhapsody in Five Acts
Tiffany Murray on living with Freddie Mercury as a child.
The Woman Dies
‘The woman dies. She dies to provide a plot twist. She dies to develop the narrative. She dies for cathartic effect. She dies because no one could think of what else to do with her.’ Aoko Matsuda, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton.
‘Tryptamine skies and the forehand backhand falter / in earth’s revolutions’
Can infidelity make up for infidelity? New fiction from John Patrick McHugh.
‘He comes all the way here after he died and the two of you are making small talk?’ New fiction by Hiromi Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
Masculinity Is Leaving The Male Body
‘If we’re gonna imagine this beautiful queer paradise what form does a man take?’ – Seabright D. Mortimer on constructing masculine identity in genderqueer spaces.
The Restaurant of Many Orders
‘Two young gentlemen dressed just like British military men, with gleaming guns on their shoulders and two dogs like great white bears at their heels, were walking in the mountains where the leaves rustled dry underfoot.’
‘I again told him I wasn’t ready to have sex, and his only response was to lean in and kiss me. The hallway in which we walked seemed to be shrinking, closing in on us.’ – April Ayers Lawson on intimacy after sexual abuse.
How Much Heart
A triptych of flash fiction by Mieko Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by David Boyd.
On Paris Hilton and Other Undead Things
‘What sex tapes offer, on a hauntological level, is an impossible closeness to that which is neither dead nor alive.’
Though I Have Never Been to Ostia, I Have Seen the Place Where Our Dreams Died
‘like pasolini’s dream of an african oresteia let us be ridiculous’
See What You Do to Me
‘My intention was to protect myself, and not to have to go back on my word.’
‘Part of what made him interesting was that I felt he would dismiss me the moment I bored him.’
Biscotti Boys / On Men Who Wear Living as Loosely as Their Suits
‘salmaan the second son & his mama’s seventh seal by way of underwater & underemployment’
‘I was overcome by a feeling that took root then and has never left me, the feeling that in this land that was someone else’s country, I did not have a place to stand.’
The Feeling Sonnets
‘Making sense of a feeling is like building a boat from water.’
‘We started the affair in a small booth at Village Inn. I didn’t sleep the night before. You were my teacher, and we discussed my fiction.’
‘One by one they’re led into the box. They swear their oath. They confirm their name, their employment, why they were where they say they were, what it was they saw.’
‘What’s wrong is that she cannot breathe.’ Samsun Knight’s ‘The Dive’ is the winner of the 2018 Disquiet Literary Prize
Nuala O’Connor’s short story about Nora Barnacle, and her first meetings with James Joyce.
‘I hadn’t / realised it possible / that I might grow into kinder / ownership of my own looks’