Explore essays and memoir
Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.
‘If pain is what makes others real to us, there was not another human being more real to me than my mother.’
‘I was dying to buy something, anything that would help my wife and children understand the profound surrealism and warped reality I’d experienced on my research trip to North Korea.’
‘He not only sees the World Cup as a ceasefire, but also as a series of sleights of hand that hide what’s really going on, political debauchery, spin and chicanery.’
The Magic Box
‘It never gets dark in Times Square. Sometimes I’d wake at two or three or four and watch waves of neon pass through my room.’ An essay on David Wojnarowicz's work, life and archives.
When Did I Become a Writer?
‘I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.’
Ann Beattie | First Sentence
‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’
Striking the keys of the same typewriter that once sat under J.G. Ballard’s fingers, Will Self reimagines the legendary writer’s last days.
‘Like a tiny old woman surrounded by strapping grandsons, the Maruti 800 was in fact the progenitor of all that new, muscular, vehicular variety.’
Mona Simpson | First Sentence
‘A year later, still in third person, I’d taken five days off my character’s long wait. I’d moved to present tense, though, for more immediacy.’
Be Careful with that Fan
‘I was stuck in Texas for a month. The days passed like slow-motion films.
Thing with Feathers that Perches in the Soul
‘It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?’
‘I longed to know what she was thinking, what she did all day when she wasn’t performing rituals.’
My Chess Teacher
‘The environment, however, wasn’t a hostile one. Though it was filled with the strangest guys in town, they were only there to play.’
A Place on Earth: Scenes from a War
Dense forest and formless roads lead Sundaram to the most recent sites of conflict, burnt-out villages where pigs have taken over their former owner’s homes in an ‘inversion of man and beast, of civilization and nature’.
‘It would’ve been a magical moment if my neighbours hadn’t started fucking at that very second.’
‘Peter Mitchell died on a frontier, not so much between black and white, or between the landed and the landless, as between the past and the future.’
The Emily Dickinson Series
The Emily Dickinson Series is a collection of collages by Janet Malcolm that appear in Granta 126: do you remember.
‘Rather than death itself, it is the disappearance of traces that seems unbearable and sad. The disappearance of all signs that I existed.’
‘It was in one of those listless summers after graduation that I found myself in the small Japanese town of Sasayama.’
My Avant-Garde Education
‘My response to art was quick, metabolic and revelatory, while my response to sex was a muddle of delayed reactions and missed libidinal signals.’
‘The following are some of the Japanese players who also appeared in the major leagues during the Age of Ichiro.’
Heart and Soul in Every Stitch
‘Where wealth and technology go, culture quickly follows, and soon it became acceptable, even desirable, to express an interest in Japan beyond the mere practicality offered by its products.’
Cynthia Ozick | First Sentence
‘Some stories begin with an incident, or a set of enigmatic circumstances, or a scene indelibly witnessed, or the relationship of unlike temperaments, or even something as gossamer as a mood. And then there is the kind of story that is rooted in an idea.’
‘I came home this past fall to the Chicago suburb where I’d lived with my parents from age nine until I left for college in 2008, and I moved back into my childhood bedroom.’
A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me
‘It took longer and longer for the next one to come, and then there wasn’t a next one.’
L.A. Diary: Notes from a Mexikorean Country
‘I was reassured to see that my hotel does not resemble the one in The Shining.’
Three Japanese Books
‘Each word is a snowflake falling, and with each paragraph the snow settles deeper.’
‘It was like trying to go back to before the earthquake, to before knowledge.’