The Comrades and I
Mona Abouissa on her experiences with Egyptian communists, and the role they played in Egypt before 1952, when they were excised from official history.
Russia on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
‘The Russian people suffer from a victim complex: they believe that nothing depends on them, and by them nothing can be changed.’
‘I haven’t learned very much in my life, I’ve just become a more / Choreographed disaster’
‘Six feet of man, muscled up perfect, game to the heart.’ New fiction from Jeffery Renard Allen.
‘That supremacist is the idea, in those brothers and sisters of mine, of shyness (which no one understands) being an encumbrance that they should purge as they try to find in their interaction with the world a perfect mixture of disdain, meekness and expansiveness.’
Fourth Person Singular
‘The wet in the air is like signal anxiety: life is about to / change.’
Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.
‘Maybe you heard about the sticks of dynamite he set along military rail routes, waiting for them to spark and explode.’ New flash fiction from Molly Antopol
The Secular World
‘There is no lack of talent in this country. All we lack is decent leaders.’ Pakistan’s secular world runs against fundamentalism in Nadeem Aslam’s latest novel, The Golden Legend.
Between Great Fires
‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’
The Martians Claim Canada
‘Mushrooms have long memories. Some of them are thousands of years old. However, they are not always very talkative.’
4 3 2 1: Overture
‘According to family legend, Ferguson’s grandfather departed on foot from his native city of Minsk with one hundred rubles sewn into the lining of his jacket’
A Wooden Taste Is the Word for Dam a Wooden Taste Is the Word for Dam a Wooden Taste Is the Word For
‘My friends, what I mean is, this life is shallow like a plate. It goes no further.’
‘Where emotions are suppressed and actions monitored, acting only becomes ubiquitous, and so convincing that we even trick ourselves.’
‘Yes. Oh yes. That is who we once were. The Young must never, ever allow themselves to ignore what has brought them here.’
Out of the Cradle
‘What had formerly been a sedative, a tranquilizing soporific, had morphed into a facilitator of reflection, contemplation, deliberation, even inspiration.’
‘it’s philosophy / coming from everyone at once // like a ballgown worn by the sky’
Elif Batuman | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The power imbalance built into travel writing is just a heightened version of an imbalance that’s there in all writing.’
Tara Bergin | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘If you laugh and tell me I am only speaking metaphorically, I will reply: what other way do you expect me to speak?’
The Remains of the Day
‘I am lying in the foetal position on a beach in the east of England.’
The Republic of Motherhood
‘a cardigan / soft as a creature, smelling of birth and milk’ – New poetry from Liz Berry.
The Back Way and the Way Back
Despite emerging from two decades of misrule under Yahya Jammeh, many Gambians still aspire to go ‘the back way’ into Europe.
‘Did she process my gentle hand in the same way as the objectifying touch of the men before me? Did she know the difference?’
Same-same but different | Discoveries
This week’s Discoveries features translation in all its many articulations.
A Pinch of Salt
‘When we’re close to weaning / ourselves history gives us its reasons / to return’
The Blue Clerk
‘Now you are sounding like me, the clerk says. I am you, the author says.’
Écrire Avec Facultés Affaiblies
Comme il a grandi, j’ai pensé, puis j’ai passé la débarbouillette sous l’eau tiède du lavabo de la salle de bain.
Writing While Worried
‘Just as it can spur me on, worry is adept at stifling and silencing.’
The New Me
‘But I feel sure. Making some decisions today, no doubt about that! Not thinking about certain things today, no doubt about that!’
Caravan of Freedom
When Fidel Castro died, his funeral procession was called a ‘Caravan of Freedom’, and extended 900km, from Santiago to Havana.
‘Fingers twirl / composite stems whose colour / twist rock-candies, snake-ladders / precious yellow, less-rare green.’
Microtravel: Home and Away
‘The place I thought I knew best had become unknown territory, by the perhaps not-so-simple process of taking a few steps.’