Marcel Proust’s letters to his neighbour, translated from the French by Lydia Davis.
The Peripatetic Penelope Fitzgerald
Lucy Scholes on the highs, lows and package tours of Booker-prize-winning author Penelope Fitzgerald. ‘Fitzgerald’s life can only be attributed to the caprices of fate.’
Dead in Venice
‘If I wasn’t a fish spawned in the Brenta river, why was I so compelled to keep returning?’ Masahiko Shimada on his many trips to Venice.
Brontez Purnell Is Everything
Novelist, zinester, dancer, go-go-boy, punk, filmmaker, actor, performer, Brontez Purnell is everything.
The Sweet Sop
‘The memory of chocolate made the man crazy to see me. I became Reggie’s dealer. A voice on the phone would whisper, ‘Two Kit Kat’ and hang up.’
‘Like all roads, this one too comes to an end.’ A Swedish novel that looks at the realities of the immigrant experience.
The Tamarind is Always Sour
‘By law, the more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar are almost all excluded from Myanmar citizenship, making them the largest stateless group in the world.’
Remembering Denis Johnson
When people ask me what Denis was like, I always think about how he listened far more intently than just about any writer I’d ever met.
‘If I had no money for every time / I saw a stock photo of an empty / pocket being pulled inside-out, I’d / have no money.’
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 They are seeking unpublished writers who have completed a novel.
Mars is a Stupid Planet
‘Even astronauts describe / our air as thick enough to slice / and spread on toast for breakfast.’
George Saunders In Conversation | Podcast
A discussion of the mind of Abraham Lincoln, the art of creating historical voices, verbal improv and writing the afterlife.
‘His sheets smell of formalin. / She feels as if her insides // are outside her, in a freezer.’
Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead
‘They gazed at us calmly, as if we had caught them in the middle of performing some ritual whose meaning we could not fathom.’
Lincoln in the Bardo
‘Must I deny my predilection, and marry, and doom myself to a certain, shall we say, dearth of fulfillment?’
Cats Explain Things to Me | Discoveries
Take a paws from your busy day for this week’s Discoveries – guest edited by Granta’s very own Typo the cat.
Wendell Steavenson | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Our globalised world of easyJet and Google Translate does not seem to have fostered any greater understanding’
‘Michelle had learned a valuable lesson: Do not leave the house unless you look ready to meet Matt Dillon.’ From the novel Black Wave.
The Book of the Dead
A gothic tale of love between a noblewoman and a ghost in eighth century Japan, translated by Jeffrey Angles.
Hilditch & Key
A Syrian refugee visits London’s oldest houses of fashion. ‘The contemplation of the perfection of a craft, worn by a man who knew its worth, and his own.’
‘Writing about other people doesn’t have to be an exercise of power or a theft of identity.’
Samanth Subramanian | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The first time I ever visited a place I’d read about in a travel book was when my family took a holiday in Hong Kong in 1993.’
Colin Thubron | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The death of travel – and of the travel book – has been predicted for almost a century.’
‘Apartheid had marked him, as it has marked all of us, in different ways. It made me hyper-aware of colour.’
Gwendoline Riley | Five Things Right Now
Gwendoline Riley on Caspar David Friedrich, sketching and Chekhov.
Dance of Order
‘I am exploring how the Korean War lives and breathes in contemporary Korean society.’ Photographs from Korea by Noh Suntag.
‘The push and pull of identity politics is the child of slavery and empire.’ Ben Rawlence on empire and the construction of white identity.
‘The Armadillo Man is watching her. She gives him a good show – the best she has to offer.’
The False Lords of Misrule
Peter Pomerantsev takes us on a tour of the lewd, crude language of modern politics – from Trump to Putin to Duterte, Milo Yianopoulos, Boris Johnson and more.