How I Write My Books
Anne Serre on how she writes. Translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson.
Pajtim Statovci | Notes on Craft
‘My childhood was pierced not only by the violence in Kosovo but also by the violence my immigrant family was confronted with in Finland.’
‘I naively believed as a child that I would always have a father present, and the truth seems to be that I always will.’
‘It was through my mother that I grew more aware of my body as incredibly fraught and problematic.‘
A Man’s Life
‘I wished my family would die, my friends too, everybody I knew, because only that way could they never follow me wherever I went.’
My Enemy’s Cherry Tree
‘And the truth is, my heart was tied in knots, and pain bored into the marrow of my bones when I heard about his illness.’
The Power of a Name
‘When English is the dominant everything, you can’t help wanting to fight for the little speck of the rest of your self.’
‘It had taken Noni many years to stop wishing she’d been a woman like that.’
‘For the governesses, moving in with Monsieur and Madame Austeur was like a homecoming.’
The Pine Islands
‘Gilbert Silvester woke up distraught. Mathilda’s black hair lay spread out on the pillow next to him, tentacles of a malevolent pitch-black jellyfish.’
The Nine Circles
‘The body wants to escape suffering at all costs. The body wants to live.’
‘Touch had its own language, and the rules were the opposite of the ones I knew at home.’
New fiction from Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft.
Feeling Southern: A Patagonian Story
‘I was harbouring a southern feeling, a deep connection with the South of this real world, where I was born and will probably die.’
The Nature of Man
‘Viewed from above, the traffic was reflective as water, cars moving in wavelike shimmers over the surface of the freeway.’
‘Indigenous chefs will tell you that their dishes are Indigenous, not Canadian. With the plate, these chefs demonstrate that the food is the land, and that the land is still theirs.’ Zoe Tennant on Indigenous cuisines.
When We Returned to Pakistan
Bina Shah on growing up in Pakistan. ‘Culture shock was what they called it in those days, but to me it felt like a kidnapping.’
‘his balance / between person and / abstraction’s so stirring I want no other token for anything can happen’
‘I put the breast milk in the fridge and lie down on the bed. I pretend I am dead, underneath the earth with a bag of Cheetos.’
Best Book of 1949: The Thief’s Journal
‘To read it is to feel the alternative tempo in the rude repetitions of the thief who loves to steal.’
The Best Book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
Kathryn Scanlan on the best book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles.
Best Book of 1966: Season of Migration to the North
‘Of course, literature cannot be separated from its flesh of language and form. Nor can its tangible subject explain why it moves its reader, through the subtleties of language, or the shadowy geographies that it leaves to the imagination.’
Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson
Chris Power on the Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson.
Best Book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi
Naben Ruthnum on the best book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki's The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi.
Why Should You Be One Too?
Spencer Reece on alcoholism, homosexuality, and the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.
Kathryn Scanlan | Notes on Craft
‘I try to write a sentence as unbudging and fully itself as some object sitting on a shelf in my office.’
‘Haste did not grip the animal. He paced before me languidly, tracing small circles; then, in a single pounce he reached the fireplace’.