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A Brief History of Fire

Jennifer Vanderbes

‘My happiness was so deep I was afraid to speak of it.’

A Child’s Book of Death and Dying

Abraham Verghese

‘A fine morning mist had rolled down over Addis Ababa from the Entoto mountains, leaving a sheen on the lawn between the apartment buildings'.

A Lovely and Terrible Thing

Chris Womersley

‘For a moment I could not speak. I looked off into the bleak distance, then at this man, and there was something about the sad shake of his head and the way his hair flapped about on his scalp that filled me with unreasonable warmth.’

A Norwegian Nightmare

Alf Kjetil Walgermo

‘Could we somehow have avoided feeding the killer at our own breast?’

A question of identity

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘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.’

a style

Dara Wier

‘a style says conviction in indifference / conviction in style’

A Thousand Splendid Stuns

Morwari Zafar

‘More important than anything else that fateful year was the life-defining transcendence of Peter Gabriel.’

After Ida

Elise Winn

‘The year I turned seventeen, the cicada chorus was deafening, as if they were impatient for the real beginning of summer and didn’t realize they were it.’

After the Hedland

Evie Wyld

‘I feel the pull of being alone, of answering to no one, the safety of being unknown and far away.’

Alan Warner | Five Things Right Now

Alan Warner

Granta Best Young British Novelist, Alan Warner, shares five things he’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

Alexis Wright | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Alexis Wright

‘In my imagination I have been to many villages and cities in the world.’

Ali the Muscle

Johnny West

‘All individuality is collapsed by the dog-eat-dog language of ‘us and them’ into a choice between one of two separate, irreconcilable identities.’

All I Know About Gertrude Stein

Jeanette Winterson

‘The more I love you, the more I feel alone.’

American Vogue

Edmund White

‘Mumbling is proof of artistic verisimilitude.’

An Afghanistan Picture Show

William T. Vollmann

‘The windbreakers of the passengers standing at the rail fluttered violently.’

Aquifer

Tim Winton

‘Through the open window I smelt dead lupin and for a long time forgot my age.’

Arithmetic on the Frontier

Declan Walsh

‘These days the tempest of Taliban violence ripping across the frontier has shaken Peshawar to its core.’

Barrenland

A Yi

‘I no longer feared that she would entrap me; my heart would not soften.’

Beachcombing

Lucy Wood

‘He was stamped darkly onto the wide stretch of sea like a single footprint.’

Best Book of 1926: Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel

Sun Yisheng

His is a force more penetrative than all the bogus machismo of Hemingway.

Best Book of 1970: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

Callan Wink

Why Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is the best book of 1970.

Best Book of 1984: Amalgamemnon

Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh on why Christine Brooke-Rose's Amalgamemnon is the best book of 1984.

Best Book of 2010: Mr Chartwell, by Rebecca Hunt

Emma Jane Unsworth

‘Hunt writes with brio, the visceral often blooming into the mystical.’

Better Protect America

Padma Viswanathan

Padma Viswanathan on the absurdities of the US Border Patrol Agency. ‘The new security was going to be unpredictable, by design.’

Bianca Burning

C.K. Williams

‘The sexual terror lions are roaring into my ears as I make my way between their cages’

Bicske

Joanna Walsh

‘For us, discomfort is a hard feeling. / Almost as hard as hate. / Almost as hard as fear.’

Body Snatchers

William T. Vollmann

‘The All-American Canal was now dark black with phosphorescent streaks where the border’s eyes stained it with yellow tears.’

Borne

Jeff VanderMeer

‘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.’

Brass

Joy Williams

‘You’re the low-hanging fruit.’

Brazil: A User’s Guide

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘The Brazilian banking system was created by a Czech writer called Franz Kafka.’

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Bush House

Mirza Waheed

‘I first stepped into Bush House on a dreary November day in 2001. It was a trepid walk.’

Cassette-tape

Javier Zamora

‘I will etch visas on toilet paper and throw them from a lighthouse.’

Clean

Matt Young

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.