Best Book of 1949: The Thief’s Journal
‘To read it is to feel the alternative tempo in the rude repetitions of the thief who loves to steal.’
The Best Book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
Kathryn Scanlan on the best book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles.
Best Book of 1966: Season of Migration to the North
‘Of course, literature cannot be separated from its flesh of language and form. Nor can its tangible subject explain why it moves its reader, through the subtleties of language, or the shadowy geographies that it leaves to the imagination.’
Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson
Chris Power on the Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson.
Best Book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi
Naben Ruthnum on the best book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki's The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi.
Why Should You Be One Too?
Spencer Reece on alcoholism, homosexuality, and the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.
Kathryn Scanlan | Notes on Craft
‘I try to write a sentence as unbudging and fully itself as some object sitting on a shelf in my office.’
‘Haste did not grip the animal. He paced before me languidly, tracing small circles; then, in a single pounce he reached the fireplace.’
The Canvas Bag
‘It was given to her by her Japanese captors after the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 to pack the few possessions she was allowed to take with her to prison.’
Letter of Apology
‘One can only argue with an intellectual like Konstantyn Illych if one speaks to him on his level.’
‘We have to reverse-engineer our genius so that we can appreciate the simple things.’
A young film composer turns to prostitution in a short story by Naben Ruthnum, set in a Rome of the early 1970s.
Amy Sackville | The Proust Questionnaire
‘What is your guiltiest pleasure? Is it really a pleasure if you feel bad about it?’
‘The Minutes’ by Nell Stevens is shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018.
‘I looked back and there was something wrong about his hand – how it cupped her bottom, how it probed.’
Paul Dalla Rosa | Notes on Craft
‘I feel like I’m haunting an empty building, inert, waiting for each room to burst into flames.’
‘It was a red-light district and a plywood market and a town of hoodlums in one. I’ll add one more thing: The whole place stunk of sewage.’
A new story from Terese Svoboda about love, money and power in the hands of an aging parent.
‘I wore off my tongue / like candy’ Translated from the Catalan by Oscar Holloway.
Murasaki’s Paper Trail
Martin Puchner on how Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese court, manage to write the first great novel of world literature.
Fred Pearce | Notes on Craft
‘For a hack like me, book-length meta-journalism is both a luxury and a challenge. I cannot hide my own views over 100,000 words, even if I want to.’
Editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing introduces Granta 144: genericlovestory.
‘When we have liberated ourselves, we will have to ask ourselves who we are.’
‘After the first time they had sex, Marianne stayed the night in his house.’ New fiction from Sally Rooney.
‘Because I spent a large amount of time convincing people to buy clothing they would never actually wear, it was easy to convince myself the same.’
What Silence Knows
‘Words can’t quite re-create the smell of war. I have found myself trying to wash it out of my hair, off my fingers. More than once, I have run water over the soles of my shoes.’
‘Even in a year in which Brazilians are not that excited about the competition, once the ref whistles and the match kicks off, an entire nation is frozen, hypnotised before their television screens. It’s the great truce, the great anaesthetic.’
‘Papa suddenly appears inside the door and sits down after three months of no-show-face and my happiness just vamoose.’