Our Lady of Mercy
‘I was engaged in a battle of politeness, those kindly – but ferocious – skirmishes that are so common in our country.’
since feeling is first
‘The way we manage erotic knowledge is connected to our handling of unwanted truths’
Acts of Infidelity
‘Anticipation made it difficult for Ester to swallow.’ Translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel.
The Editor’s Chair: On Christine Montalbetti
‘For Montalbetti to have achieved this syntactic ease in French is a feat. For the translator to reproduce it in English requires the capacities of a medium.’
Cassiopeia (three back-to-front songs)
‘Anyway, I did not die. / I lined the sky, inside-out.’ Translated from the Georgian by Jean Sprackland and Natalia Bukia-Peters.
Shirley from a Small Place
‘The highs and lows of fame, have been far better and far worse than both mother and daughter could have hoped for. Shirley is only twenty-seven.’
‘More than once the new dog was aggressive, a stab of fire, but I did not tell the grown-ups. I feared they would take him away.’
Who Killed Tolstoy?
‘I walked along the birch-lined alleys of Yasnaya Polyana, looking for clues. Snakes were swimming in the pond, making a rippling pattern. Everything here was a museum.’
What Do Women Want?
‘What we’re arguing about turns out to be how to speak to each other at all.’
Breasts: A History
‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’
Kent Will Tear Us Apart
All the Devils Are Here was cursed with the status of a cult classic. It’s a book that people who’ve read it, especially writers, can never forget.
Jenny Bennett-Tuionetoa’s ‘Matalasi’ is the Pacific winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
‘days I talked with Zeus / I ate only ice / felt the blood trouble and burn / under my skin’
Amy Bloom | Five Things Right Now
Amy Bloom shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.
The Agony and Ecstasy of Escape
Will Boast on how Bernini's Apollo and Daphne helped him write his latest novel
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
‘You repeat this over and over. You pinch your nipples harder. Then harder and harder still. You twist them. You dare them to say Mercy. You stare into your own eyes that are watching you from the mirror.’
A Summer of Japanese Literature
From manga to crime fiction, contemporary literature to Nobel-Prize-winning classics, here are ten works of Japanese literature worth spending your summer on
I’ve Seen the Future, Baby; It Is Murder
‘It was not very comfortable, but the appeal of it was that we did not like each other.’
‘In terms of aspiration, leaving London was the new moving to London. You slogged it out, made a name for yourself, then decamped to the sticks and devoted yourself to trashing city life on Twitter while roaming the fields in pursuit of your tweedy ideals.’
Karl Kraus and Veza
‘It was natural that the rumors about both these people should reach me at the same time; they came from the same source, from which everything new for me came at that time.’
‘I like to think the ones who are worst at coloring will remember me the longest.’
‘Social services gave Mum a whole list of conditions she had to adhere to. She wasn’t allowed to be animals anymore, under any circumstances, or they would take Ghillie away from her.’
Mall Camp, Seasons 1 & 2
‘Each turn he took, there’d be another face. Each concourse held a voice, importuning, beckoning.’
The Farmer’s Son
‘I’m twenty-nine and I’ve never delivered a calf myself. But that’s all about to change’
‘I’m going to die out here he thought, I’m going to die trying to save this beast in front of my boy.’
‘There is something about the presence of coyotes that makes any place feel wilder than it is.’
The Falconer and the Hawks
‘A fine balance of precision and coiled unsparing instinct, all contained within a gossamer skein of feather, skin, muscle and bone.’
'I never worried about my flat catching fire before Poppy came along.' Caroline Criado-Perez on her pet Poppy.
An extract from Kudos, the final novel in Rachel Cusk’s trilogy, following Outline and Transit.
The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman
Sagnik Datta’s ‘The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Carys Davies | Notes on Craft
‘All good stories are both resonant and concrete; they live in the mind of the reader and reverberate beyond the pages of the book.’
‘All I can say is that the only thing in the world I want to do now, is to go out there, into the west, and find them.’