Explore essays and memoir
Best Book of 1901: The Octopus
Rob Magnuson Smith on why Frank Norris' The Octopus is the best book of 1901.
Best Book of 1955: Pedro Páramo
Louise Stern on why Pedro Páramo is the best book of 1955.
Bad Luck, Britain
‘It was a wonderful day of high summer in the Stockholm archipelago.’
Introduction: What Have We Done
‘There is an apocalyptic feeling in the air. I write the day after the news that the IS have blown up parts of the ancient site of Palmyra.’
‘To the delight of the little kids, who had seen a good deal of killing in their lives, a middle-aged man blew soap bubbles.’
Refugees and Europe: The Swedish Exception
‘What would it take to turn the downward spiral of anti-refugee policies around?’
‘Possession takes many forms, and at the heart of it is death and dereliction, invasion and submission.’
‘The brain is a bureaucratic organ with an almost neurotic determination to balance its books. To account to the department of logic for terror, it calls on the office of imagination to conjure up a worthy vision.’
A Woman’s Worth
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan on the evolution of feminist judgments in India.
‘After one hundred years, this is what I have: a daguerreotype of her in bridal finery; a few stories told and retold in plantations, kitchens, hospitals, airport lounges.’
Introduction: The Map Is Not the Territory
‘The pieces in this issue of Granta are all concerned, in one way or another, with the difference between the world as we see it and the world as it actually is, beyond our faulty memories and tired understanding.’
‘It was her last service, last sacrifice, to a husband who required so much from her throughout their life together. But we could not succeed.’
‘He said Love Jihad, or the practice of Muslims seducing Hindu girls with the aim of converting them to Islam, was an existential threat to India.’
‘There are clubs like the Breach Candy Club all over the Indian subcontinent: relics of the Raj, institutions that were set up as bolt-holes for the British, where they could retreat to row or swim or play cricket or race horses.’
‘That single moment’s intensity hasn’t been matched in my life before or since. A woman who I didn’t know has chosen to accept me, in body and mind.’
‘In Indian media and advertising, young people are mainly being projected as vessels of breathless aspiration.’