A question of identity
‘One of the first things a child learns is the sentiment: My country is… And so begins the homeland briefing that lasts from the cradle to the grave.’
‘‘We’ll print your book if you bring us 140 kilos of paper,’ says my friend, a publisher. ‘Where can I find 140 kilos of paper?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s your problem, you’re the writer.’’
Life and Breasts
‘My reminder of mortality came in early 2010, and I found the narrative that followed raw but completely engrossing. For the present, but only for the present, it is behind me.’
Poor Lucky Kolyvanova
‘The red girls’ school stood opposite a grey boys’ school, built five years after it as if to proclaim the rational symmetry of 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.’
‘We are nearing the conclusion of this anatomy. / We are strung between the point of ending, and / the point of having started.’
Sorry to Disturb You
The only thing scarier than ghosts are the ghosts working at a call center.
To the Ocean
‘At the desk they said they encouraged guests not to walk, but she was determined’
She had already imagined it all, so much so that when she finally did see him, she felt unable to speak.
Naples is Closed
‘Naples had always been high on the list of places I wanted to visit‘.
Best Book of 2010: Mr Chartwell, by Rebecca Hunt
‘Hunt writes with brio, the visceral often blooming into the mystical.’
‘Post-modernism, if it can be said to exist at all, had in Calvino its most seductive showman.’
Getting The Words Out
‘No, it is not confrontation but some wish to avoid it, some hasty wish to please, that betrays my flow of speech.’
The Lens Factory
‘It made him feel lopsided, this sense of being plucked at by nervousness and dread.’
Out of Ark
‘How long has it been since Noah and his passengers set off in their vessel?’
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.
‘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.’
Hungerwinter and Liberation
Jan Vegter’s remarkable visual and written record of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, translated from the Dutch by Theo de Feyter.
Maria Venegas | Interview
Maria Venegas discusses ‘Bullet Proof Vest’, her essay from Granta 108: ‘Chicago’ about her criminal father, who ‘shot a man when he was twelve years old’.
‘Chicago was the first large American city I visited after I came to the United States from my home country, Chile.’
A Child’s Book of Death and Dying
‘A fine morning mist had rolled down over Addis Ababa from the Entoto mountains, leaving a sheen on the lawn between the apartment buildings'.
Epistle to the New Age
‘I’m Bishop of Macedonia, as you will know in time if you are not lucky enough to be in time already.’
L.A. Diary: Notes from a Mexikorean Country
‘I was reassured to see that my hotel does not resemble the one in The Shining.’
Second Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth
‘Forget about football: queuing and stamping are Brazil’s national sports.’
Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth
‘In Brazil it is crucial not to be Argentinian. Add that to our Earth mission’s proceedings manual under the topic ‘Cultural Affairs’.’
Brazil: A User’s Guide
‘The Brazilian banking system was created by a Czech writer called Franz Kafka.’
Mario Levrero | Best Untranslated Writers
‘I knew he was a ‘strange’ writer, unclassifiable, with a boundless imagination, who was creating one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking bodies of work in the Spanish language.’
Final Dispatch: End in Pizza
‘Those are not prisons, they are condominiums for rich people. Or at least that is what rich people think.’
‘The seminary building, parked smack in the middle of the campus, looked west to Davis Hall (women), south to another women's dorm building, and east to the vocationless, unharnessed men of Beast Hall. What did they expect, with so many earthly reminders of flesh around us? Out of the fourteen young men who discerned the call, few, very few, made it to ordination.’