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 Mingling | State of Mind
‘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.’
A Pinch of Salt
‘When we’re close to weaning / ourselves history gives us its reasons / to return’
A Scale Model of Gull Point
Trapped in a revolving restaurant during an American revolution, Shel VanRybroek turns to tin-foil sculpture.
A Sharing Economy
‘The Paying Guest rises in the middle of the night / to turn off the radio where no radio exists’
A Suburban Weekend
‘The facts. Fern was skinnier than Liv, but Liv was blonde and tall and her breasts were enormous and thrillingly spaced.’
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.’
After Ann Lauterbach
‘The piano eyes me / from its corner – / colluding with the past’
Against the Dying of the Light | Discoveries
We celebrate some of the remarkable people who died in 2016
Alexis Wright | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘In my imagination I have been to many villages and cities in the world.’
All That Was Familiar
The story of two women fleeing Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.
All the Caged Things
‘All that thought of home gave the girl a sickly feeling, the longing of something so out of reach, something she wasn’t even sure she could any longer truly remember.’
‘My eyes were way too large. They appeared, if this is possible, independently scandalized.’
Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence
‘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 visits Lexington, Virginia – a centre of the Confederary – in the wake of the far-right rally in Charlottesville.
An Island Presence
‘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
‘The interiority that we keep speaking of in fiction is built on pain’
Any Idiot Can Write a Book
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 They are seeking unpublished writers who have completed a novel.
‘Like all roads, this one too comes to an end.’ A Swedish novel that looks at the realities of the immigrant experience.
‘The Armadillo Man is watching her. She gives him a good show – the best she has to offer.’
Assuming the Habits of the Day and Night
‘my every day is a being in of being / a mixity of worlds’
Battle of the Booker: Meet the Shortlist
The fight-to-the-literary-death that is the Man Booker continues – six authors remain in the race.
Best Book of 1818: The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr, by E.T.A. Hoffmann
‘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 on why Felipe Alfau’s Locos is the best book of 1936.
Best Book of 1969: Pricksongs & Descants
Lisa Taddeo on why Robert Coover’s Pricksongs & Descants is the best book of 1969.
Best Book of 1990: Anecdotes of Modern Art
‘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?’
Better Protect America
Padma Viswanathan on the absurdities of the US Border Patrol Agency. ‘The new security was going to be unpredictable, by design.’
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.’
‘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.’