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A question of identity

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘One of the first things a child learns is the sentiment: My country is… And so begins the homeland briefing that lasts from the cradle to the grave.’

Zagreb

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘‘We’ll print your book if you bring us 140 kilos of paper,’ says my friend, a publisher. ‘Where can I find 140 kilos of paper?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s your problem, you’re the writer.’’

The Art of Moving On

David Ulin

‘This felt like the moment New York disappeared for me.’

Life and Breasts

Ludmila Ulitskaya

‘My reminder of mortality came in early 2010, and I found the narrative that followed raw but completely engrossing. For the present, but only for the present, it is behind me.’

Poor Lucky Kolyvanova

Ludmila Ulitskaya

‘The red girls’ school stood opposite a grey boys’ school, built five years after it as if to proclaim the rational symmetry of the world.’

The Island

Jack Underwood

‘She draws from her mind the image of a giant steel girder, pictures it smashing through the wall of the bar, obliterating everything, legs and arms reaching and waving.’

Two Poems

Jack Underwood

‘We are nearing the conclusion of this anatomy. / We are strung between the point of ending, and / the point of having started.’

Sorry to Disturb You

Jack Underwood

The only thing scarier than ghosts are the ghosts working at a call center.

To the Ocean

Deb Olin Unferth

‘At the desk they said they encouraged guests not to walk, but she was determined’

Open Water

Deb Olin Unferth

She had already imagined it all, so much so that when she finally did see him, she felt unable to speak.

Naples is Closed

Barry Unsworth

‘Naples had always been high on the list of places I wanted to visit‘.

Best Book of 2010: Mr Chartwell, by Rebecca Hunt

Emma Jane Unsworth

‘Hunt writes with brio, the visceral often blooming into the mystical.’

Italo Calvino

John Updike

‘Post-modernism, if it can be said to exist at all, had in Calvino its most seductive showman.’

Getting The Words Out

John Updike

‘No, it is not confrontation but some wish to avoid it, some hasty wish to please, that betrays my flow of speech.’

The Lens Factory

John Updike

‘It made him feel lopsided, this sense of being plucked at by nervousness and dread.’

Out of Ark

Yumiko Utsu

‘How long has it been since Noah and his passengers set off in their vessel?’

Root and Branch

Sana Valiulina

‘I am my father’s daughter, a former prisoner of war and “suspicious person” who spent ten years in the Gulag.’ Translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon.

A Brief History of Fire

Jennifer Vanderbes

‘My happiness was so deep I was afraid to speak of it.’

Borne

Jeff VanderMeer

‘The map of the old horizon was like being haunted by a grotesque fairy tale, something that when voiced came out not as words but as sounds in the aftermath of an atrocity.’

Vladimir in Love

Lara Vapnyar

‘He regretted not buying the flowers.’

Summer Reads

Various

The Granta staff shares what they’re reading over the summer.

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Maria Venegas | Interview

Maria Venegas

Maria Venegas discusses ‘Bullet Proof Vest’, her essay from Granta 108: ‘Chicago’ about her criminal father, who ‘shot a man when he was twelve years old’.

The Projects

Camilo José Vergara

‘Chicago was the first large American city I visited after I came to the United States from my home country, Chile.’

A Child’s Book of Death and Dying

Abraham Verghese

‘A fine morning mist had rolled down over Addis Ababa from the Entoto mountains, leaving a sheen on the lawn between the apartment buildings'.

Soundings

Abraham Verghese

‘On the first day of June, 1972, I was taught how to percuss the body.’

Epistle to the New Age

Gore Vidal

‘I’m Bishop of Macedonia, as you will know in time if you are not lucky enough to be in time already.’

L.A. Diary: Notes from a Mexikorean Country

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘I was reassured to see that my hotel does not resemble the one in The Shining.’

Second Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Forget about football: queuing and stamping are Brazil’s national sports.’

Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘In Brazil it is crucial not to be Argentinian. Add that to our Earth mission’s proceedings manual under the topic ‘Cultural Affairs’.’

Brazil: A User’s Guide

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘The Brazilian banking system was created by a Czech writer called Franz Kafka.’

Mario Levrero | Best Untranslated Writers

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘I knew he was a ‘strange’ writer, unclassifiable, with a boundless imagination, who was creating one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking bodies of work in the Spanish language.’

Final Dispatch: End in Pizza

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Those are not prisons, they are condominiums for rich people. Or at least that is what rich people think.’

Seminarians

Marcos Villatoro

‘The seminary building, parked smack in the middle of the campus, looked west to Davis Hall (women), south to another women's dorm building, and east to the vocationless, unharnessed men of Beast Hall. What did they expect, with so many earthly reminders of flesh around us? Out of the fourteen young men who discerned the call, few, very few, made it to ordination.’

Pariah

Viramma

‘All my children have been buried where they died’