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.’
‘The lemon shark / who returns to the same mangrove-lined shallows / every year to give birth.’
Five Things Right Now: John Darnielle
John Darnielle, author of the debut novel Wolf in White Van, shares five links of what he’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.
‘Well, if the Bible, Greek tragedies and Star Wars have taught me something it’s that anything of great importance will eventually come in threes.’
‘The cockroaches in my house complain because I read at night’.
When Did I Become a Writer?
‘I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.’
‘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.’
Red Space: Promoting a Socialist Destiny
Space posters were ‘visually stunning representations of the promises of the Soviet state’.
The Chronicle of the Wrinkled-Face Sheikh
‘No other inanimate object retains emotion as strongly as keys do. Fingerprints are engraved on them as if the laws of wear and tear do not apply.’
‘The viewer has to pour their own unconscious into interpreting these images, make them their own, allow themselves to be encouraged by the existence of a void.’
‘Seven corporations control the afterlife now, and many people spend their lives amassing the money to upload into the best.’
‘Life continually circled in cold inaccessible serenity around unhappy Earth’
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.
How to Get Over Someone You Love
‘Would you like to come with me for some / old-fashioned inconclusive combat?’
Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.
‘an orange plastic basket of compost / down from the top of the garden – sweet dark, / fibrous rot, promising’
‘No one knows why ripping up a name makes a person call – science can’t explain it. Erasing the name also works.’
The violence the retablos depict, the calamities of fate, weather, accidents or of illness, move us because they distil so powerfully what we already know all too well.
The Ferryman Is Dead
Here, more die than are born. There’s a refrigerator at the bottom of the lake. The ferryman is dead. No one is coming to take his place.
A Hebrew Sibyl
‘And so began what I was to become. To all these things – the admonitions and the testimonies, the rites and the annunciations – I had easily acquiesced.’
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’.
The tourists are gone. They’ve fled to Islamabad, along with the landlords and the hoteliers and the battalions of police that used to defend them, and certainty has left with them.
The Atlantic Wall
This chain of Nazi fortifications stretching from the Norwegian Arctic to France’s western frontier with Spain is one of Europe’s least acknowledged monuments.
The Alphabet of Birds
‘She is standing there, her body like a lamp, waiting for the glass to break.’
In the Shadow of the Hospital
‘All that yearning spilling down amid the treetops and roof ridges, a shadow I’d never properly considered before.’
Books and Roses
‘A golden chain was fastened around her neck, and on that chain was a key.’
‘My curiosity about lesbianism was an accomplice of my feminism: a path that allowed me to be sexual and free.’
‘I longed to know what she was thinking, what she did all day when she wasn’t performing rituals.’