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A Land Without Strangers

Ben Mauk

Ben Mauk on nationalism and xenophobia in Poland.

A Mingling | State of Mind

Siri Hustvedt

‘My empathy may become a vehicle of insight for me and therefore help me to help you or it may debilitate me altogether, make me so sad I am no good to you whatsoever.’

Alexis Wright | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Alexis Wright

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

All That Was Familiar

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

The story of two women fleeing Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.

Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence

Amit Chaudhuri

‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’

Among the Citizen Soldiers

Karan Mahajan

Karan Mahajan visits Lexington, Virginia – a centre of the Confederary – in the wake of the far-right rally in Charlottesville.

An Island Presence

Howard Cunnell

‘I can almost believe in the permanence of these warm days, this unchanging child whose hand fits mine. But I can feel the cold and the darkness coming.’

Anosh Irani | Notes on Craft

Anosh Irani

‘The interiority that we keep speaking of in fiction is built on pain’

Any Idiot Can Write a Book

Nell Stevens

A production company is looking for contestants to participate in a new TV show, modelled on The Apprentice. They are seeking unpublished writers who have completed a novel.

Best Book of 1818: The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr, by E.T.A. Hoffmann

Luke Neima

‘What sets Hoffmann’s work apart is the meeting of the joint impulses of Enlightenment and Romantic thought’

Best book of 1936: Locos

Ingrid Persaud

Ingrid Persaud on why Felipe Alfau’s Locos is the best book of 1936.

Best Book of 1969: Pricksongs & Descants

Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo on why Robert Coover’s Pricksongs & Descants is the best book of 1969.

Best Book of 1990: Anecdotes of Modern Art

Natalie Shapero

‘If I tell you a book is an encyclopedic and fast-paced tour of the interrelationship of making art and being in pain, need I say more?’

Between Great Fires

William Atkins

‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’

Between Them

Richard Ford

‘It was my child’s outlook to think most things were right. And yet if life’s eternal drama is of events seeking a more perfect state, their life and mine was not that.’

Books Do Furnish a Room

Penelope Lively

‘The shelves say something about the person who has stocked them; they say much.’

Brontez Purnell Is Everything

Michelle Tea

Novelist, zinester, dancer, go-go-boy, punk, filmmaker, actor, performer, Brontez Purnell is everything.

Brother | State of Mind

Max Porter

‘We don’t often talk seriously or in depth about our childhood these days, but we know we could, and we know what good it did us.’

Cats Explain Things to Me | Discoveries

Typo

Take a paws from your busy day for this week’s Discoveries – guest edited by Granta’s very own Typo the cat.

Chère Madame

Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust’s letters to his neighbour, translated from the French by Lydia Davis.

Chris Kraus on Kathy Acker

Chris Kraus & Josie Mitchell

Chris Kraus discusses her new biography, After Kathy Acker, which looks at the life and work of the artist twenty years after her death. 

Clown School

Nuar Alsadir

Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.

Colin Thubron | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Colin Thubron

‘The death of travel – and of the travel book – has been predicted for almost a century.’

Comfort Woman

Erika Krouse

Erika Krouse on her work as a private investigator. ‘An escort service was providing prostitutes for football recruits, directly solicited by the university.’

Coming Home to the Counter-Revolution

Jack Shenker

‘My Cairo is an inverted city, one that wears its innards above the skin.’

Crossing Borders

Carys Davies

Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.

Cyclical Wisdom | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

A mash-up of Elif Batuman | Oscar Wilde | David Lynch | Marilynn Robinson | Margaret Atwood | and Viet Thanh Nguyen

Cyprus United

Joe Dunthorne

‘The idea that football might provide an opportunity to overcome our dumber instincts seemed ridiculous now: football was a chance to set our idiocy free.’

Davos Woman

Trisha De Borchgrave

‘Did she process my gentle hand in the same way as the objectifying touch of the men before me? Did she know the difference?’

Dead in Venice

Masahiko Shimada

‘If I wasn’t a fish spawned in the Brenta river, why was I so compelled to keep returning?’ Masahiko Shimada on his many trips to Venice.

Desire | State of Mind

Andrea Stuart

‘My burgeoning sense of my own attractiveness, so fragile and recently developed, withered in this less than fertile ground.’

Doubling and Redoubling | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

Photographs, e-fiction and daylight saving time. Our favourite pieces published elsewhere this week.

Écrire Avec Facultés Affaiblies

Fanny Britt

Comme il a grandi, j’ai pensé, puis j’ai passé la débarbouillette sous l’eau tiède du lavabo de la salle de bain.

Elif Batuman | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Elif Batuman

‘The power imbalance built into travel writing is just a heightened version of an imbalance that’s there in all writing.’