Laura Kasischke | First Sentence
‘There really was a moth I found in a toolbox (not as musical or interesting as ‘strongbox’), alive, in the attic, in that box.’
Lunch with the Surgeon
‘Last month, a plastic surgeon in Buenos Aires tried to seduce me.’
An Escape from Kampala
‘‘Be brave,’ she said, ‘pull yourself together. What you are about to see is worse than you ever imagined.’ She asked if I knew what Winston Churchill had called Uganda. He had called it the pearl of Africa.’
‘Ever notice the change that comes over / your gentle wife the minute she sets / foot in a grocery store?’
Birte Kaufmann examines the everyday, parallel world of Irish travellers.
‘She was living as herself, in herself, without ever thinking about what that meant.’
Rooms That Have Had Their Part
‘Rooms jaundiced by bad lighting, so you wondered, what is ague, and could we have it? Rooms that hummed, a hum you couldn’t quite identify, or that seemed in the end to come from your own head.’
A Mischief of Rats
‘They slept curled together in a hammock, little scraps of fur, hearts beating madly.’ Joanna Kavenna on her pet rats, Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love.
About Her and the Memories That Belong to Her
‘If I were to forget, then it would be the same as it never having existed at all.’
‘Rather than death itself, it is the disappearance of traces that seems unbearable and sad. The disappearance of all signs that I existed.’
The Moon and the Batteries
‘His full name was Mr Harutsuna Matsumoto, but I called him ‘Sensei’. Not ‘Mr’ or ‘Sir’, just ‘Sensei’.’
God Bless You, 2011
‘If the god of uranium really exists, then what must he be thinking? Were this a fairy tale of old, what would happen when humans broke the laws of nature to turn gods into minions?’ Hiromi Kawakami on the nature gods of Japan.
How Much Heart
A triptych of flash fiction by Mieko Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by David Boyd.
‘He comes all the way here after he died and the two of you are making small talk?’ New fiction by Hiromi Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
You Go When You Can No Longer Stay
‘It is not so much that we are splitting up that is really worrying me, it is the fact that she keeps quoting Martin Amis.’
The Lord in his Wisdom
‘I realize with a fresh horror that Jonathan is seeing me as the sin’
In Between Talking about The Elephant
‘I discover some rough skin on her elbow. I run my tongue along it’.
Of Bankers and Soldiers
Alex Kayser’s photographs of Swiss bankers and soldiers for Granta 35: The Unbearable Peace.
Remembering Iain M Banks
Stuart Kelly remembers Iain Banks, and assesses the influence he's had on this generation of writers.
The Bible As Literature, Literature As Scripture
'Literature and literary criticism took me away from the Church as a teenager, and literature and literary criticism brought me back to it later.'
Man Walks Into A Bar
‘I had been living abroad for twelve years and I was gaun hame, maybe forever, maybe a month.‘
Captain Scott’s Biscuit
‘Those who took anything out of any of the huts could excuse themselves in the belief that they were merely saving a relic from gradual climatic destruction’.
The Handbag Studio
‘In Los Angeles in late October of 1980, I was feeling the strange, malign electricity the Santa Ana winds bring to the city.’
In the not-so-distant future, middle-class underachievers are faced with a difficult choice: prison or motivational business classes.
That Whole London Thing
‘But London has always been impossible and yet possible and has always called me.’
‘I was tempted to let the pages blow overboard and start again...But they have very stern laws about littering at sea.’
Summer with my Grandmother
‘And this was my grandmother, this man-destroying tyrant, this magnificent perfectionist with untireable arms and unfathomable ways of seeing.’