Root and Branch
‘I am my father’s daughter, a former prisoner of war and “suspicious person” who spent ten years in the Gulag.’ Translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon.
‘No one knows how to wait like soldiers. There is no time or place that soldiers are not waiting and waiting.’
The Kabul Markhor
‘He felt very lonely after spending the winter holed up in his cabin eating Doritos.’
‘His life was one of calculation and endeavour, of learning and watching, remembering and trying.’
‘She was Some Pig. Her eggs easily incorporated the human genetic code. All her piglets were star patents.’
An excerpt from Matt Young's memoir Eat The Apple, which explores his three deployments to Iraq as a member of the US Marine Corps.
In This Heart You Burn
‘Years later, broken-chested beneath the axle of a Ford Mustang, he’ll dream back to a night on the shores of Mimeer Lake when he amphetamined through till dawn and cracked some asshat’s nose with his elbow and gave his virginity to Isabel Crease.’
Seven People with the Same Name and their Discrete Moments
Erica Chung’s translation of ‘Seven People with the Same Name and their Discrete Moments’ by Han Yujoo is the winner of Harvill Secker’s Young Translators’ Prize 2017.
Sorry to Disturb You
The only thing scarier than ghosts are the ghosts working at a call center.
‘Given played football with single-minded purpose his senior year, the fall before he died.’
Jillian Weise | Five Things Right Now
Jillian Weise is a poet, performance artist and disability rights activist. She shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.
‘here we come / with our living // fruit baskets and / soon to wilt white flowers’
Stillness | State of Mind
‘It is half twelve and I am labouring over the word Stillen. My laptop is open on the coffee table, pushed up against baby wipes and a row of empties.’
‘I’m too tired she said / to be this happy / & we laughed without / moving our hands’
‘May it not be / that they owe their fleshiness / to the cumulative effect?’
What Terrible Thing It Was
‘Dennis with his bespectacled eyes on his phone, performing the act of emotional multitasking. While I’ve been psychotic, he’s been phone banking.’
I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness
‘The uncooperative cadence of the phrase my myspace page perfectly encapsulates the awkwardness of the early oughts when our story begins.’
‘The map of the old horizon was like being haunted by a grotesque fairy tale, something that when voiced came out not as words but as sounds in the aftermath of an atrocity.’
Morwari Zafar | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘What satellites and the internet don’t do is give a voice to experience. And that’s where travel writing endures.’
Sara Wheeler | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Mass travel has liberated the form. No amount of package tours will stop ordinary life quietly continuing everywhere on earth.’
‘We do not understand why, nor did we covet such long life, but here we are, our respective addictions and madness with us to the end.’
Better Protect America
Padma Viswanathan on the absurdities of the US Border Patrol Agency. ‘The new security was going to be unpredictable, by design.’
Since Everything Was Suddening Into A Hurricane
After a sudden stroke, Binyavanga Wainaina and his lover travel to Nairobi to reconcile with his father.
Alexis Wright | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘In my imagination I have been to many villages and cities in the world.’
‘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.’
Night of the Gnomes
‘The plan was quite simple: Güendolina would invite him into the bedroom and persuade him to make love to her until he was utterly exhausted.’
Best Book of 1926: Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel
His is a force more penetrative than all the bogus machismo of Hemingway.
Best Book of 2010: Mr Chartwell, by Rebecca Hunt
‘Hunt writes with brio, the visceral often blooming into the mystical.’
First Sentence: Javier Zamora
‘Immigration has become a physical thing, like a tumor inside us, between us.’