‘The Armadillo Man is watching her. She gives him a good show – the best she has to offer.’
Mountains Don’t Know Borders
‘In the Balkans, the present is often perched precariously on top of the past.’
Hôtel Valencia Palace
Ce jour-là, comme chaque jour, des poissons avaient nagé au-dessus des têtes.
Valencia Palace Hotel
A story by Annie Perreault, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins, for the online edition of Granta 141: Canada.
Best book of 1936: Locos
Ingrid Persaud on why Felipe Alfau’s Locos is the best book of 1936.
The Sweet Sop
‘The memory of chocolate made the man crazy to see me. I became Reggie’s dealer. A voice on the phone would whisper, ‘Two Kit Kat’ and hang up.’
‘His sheets smell of formalin. / She feels as if her insides // are outside her, in a freezer.’
Getting Away With It
A case of Russian espionage from Tim Phillips' book The Secret Twenties: British Intelligence, the Russians, and the Jazz Age.
The False Lords of Misrule
Peter Pomerantsev takes us on a tour of the lewd, crude language of modern politics – from Trump to Putin to Duterte, Milo Yianopoulos, Boris Johnson and more.
We are living through a period of pop-up populism, where each political movement redefines ‘the Many’ and ‘the People’, where we are always reconsidering who counts as an ‘insider’ or an ‘outsider’, where what it means to belong is never certain.
Brother | State of Mind
‘We don’t often talk seriously or in depth about our childhood these days, but we know we could, and we know what good it did us.’
Marcel Proust’s letters to his neighbour, translated from the French by Lydia Davis.
The Passing of the Contemplative Life
‘she was not among those / I’d expected I might meet’
Ten Books that Changed the World
Martin Puchner on ten books that have changed the course of world history.
‘Writing about other people doesn’t have to be an exercise of power or a theft of identity.’
‘What’s in a state of mind? How do we describe emotions, or the complex relationship between individuals and the state?’
‘The push and pull of identity politics is the child of slavery and empire.’ Ben Rawlence on empire and the construction of white identity.
‘Apartheid had marked him, as it has marked all of us, in different ways. It made me hyper-aware of colour.’
Gwendoline Riley | Five Things Right Now
Gwendoline Riley on Caspar David Friedrich, sketching and Chekhov.
‘They joked about how tough they’d be by the time they got home.’
‘Like all roads, this one too comes to an end.’ A Swedish novel that looks at the realities of the immigrant experience.
Mars is a Stupid Planet
‘Even astronauts describe / our air as thick enough to slice / and spread on toast for breakfast.’
Wallace Stevens’s Memory
‘It was / a line that signaled absolute forgetting / and it made me want to weep into my drink’
‘We think of L’Auberge as more of a sanatorium than a rehab. Certainly not as a mental hospital.’ Fiction from Naben Ruthrum.
George Saunders In Conversation | Podcast
A discussion of the mind of Abraham Lincoln, the art of creating historical voices, verbal improv and writing the afterlife.
Lincoln in the Bardo
‘Must I deny my predilection, and marry, and doom myself to a certain, shall we say, dearth of fulfillment?’
De roses et d’insectes
C’est une des premières choses que je lui ai dites, J’ai des daddy issues.
Of Roses and Insects
‘The insects dissect the layers of my father’s life, our lives and my mother’s life that have collected in this sad house.’ Translated from the French by Neil Smith.
‘If you’ve come all this way here to listen to me, your life will undoubtedly get worse. I’m here to warn you, not to reassure you.’
The Peripatetic Penelope Fitzgerald
Lucy Scholes on the highs, lows and package tours of Booker-prize-winning author Penelope Fitzgerald. ‘Fitzgerald’s life can only be attributed to the caprices of fate.’
Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun
‘I began to look through archives, libraries, museums and private collections in search of images of Indigenous life that reflected integrity, strength, resourcefulness, hard work, family and play.’