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Best Book of 1926: Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel

Sun Yisheng

His is a force more penetrative than all the bogus machismo of Hemingway.

Best Book of 2010: Mr Chartwell, by Rebecca Hunt

Emma Jane Unsworth

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

First Sentence: Javier Zamora

Javier Zamora

‘Immigration has become a physical thing, like a tumor inside us, between us.’

Cassette-tape

Javier Zamora

‘I will etch visas on toilet paper and throw them from a lighthouse.’

Vladimir in Love

Lara Vapnyar

‘He regretted not buying the flowers.’

Witchcraft Today

Diane Williams

‘Two women appeared embracing two of a kind – that is each woman held onto a globular lamp base that had luster.’

The Beauty and the Bat

Diane Williams

‘I knew who she was well enough, by then – a competent woman in earnest who didn’t like me.’

Discipline

Jane Yeh

‘Her / Secrets play on continuous loop, // Like a B-movie.’

Winnie and the Innocence of the World

Joost Zwagerman

‘This is how I became Winnie’s clandestine, outcast and utterly powerless guardian angel.’

Summer Reads

Various

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

Two Poems

Grzegorz Wróblewski

‘Do you think I can get to heaven / with zero balance and a virus?’

Three Poems

Ahren Warner

‘Your promise has been extracted like the cow-horned remains of molars long-soused in a Diet Coke marinade.’

The Mountain Road

William Wall

‘Funeral homes are always cold. There were pine benches in lines like a church. They had been varnished recently and there was that heady smell. It reminded me of my father’s boat, the wheelhouse brightwork newly touched up. It was the smell of childhood.’

The Beacon & The Bane

Malerie Willens

‘In spite of my pining and missing, neither man seemed fully formed and I felt a little lonely in the presence of both.’

Cry of Machines

Kao Kalia Yang

‘Time cannot erase my memories of fear and shame.’

Eight pieces in imitation of Thomas A. Clark

Matthew Welton

‘what it is about the earth / that it won’t absorb the stream’

Reading Comprehension: Text No. 2

Alejandro Zambra

‘Which of the following famous phrases best reflects the meaning of the text?’

Fairbourne

Adam Weymouth

‘Climate change, I realise, is already here. Not the drama of it, not yet, but in the mundane.’

Best Book of 1984: Amalgamemnon

Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh on why Christine Brooke-Rose's Amalgamemnon is the best book of 1984.

Best Book of 1970: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

Callan Wink

Why Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is the best book of 1970.

Specialist

Diane Williams

‘An hour passed. Why not say twenty years?’

To the Ocean

Deb Olin Unferth

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

Five Things Right Now: Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about.

The Landlady

Geling Yan

‘After all, they were landlady and tenant; what right did he have to meddle?’

Hotel Haunting

Joanna Walsh

‘There was a time in my life when I lived in hotels. Around this time, the time I did not spend in hotels was time I did not live.’

Bicske

Joanna Walsh

‘For us, discomfort is a hard feeling. / Almost as hard as hate. / Almost as hard as fear.’

Evie Wyld | Five Things Right Now

Evie Wyld

Evie Wyld shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about.

Poem Conveyed

Jillian Weise

‘And now that he is body-less, / he speaks through us. / You could say. Although / I myself have not caught / a Pope.’

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.

A Thousand Splendid Stuns

Morwari Zafar

‘More important than anything else that fateful year was the life-defining transcendence of Peter Gabriel.’

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.’

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.’

Enzo Ponza

Joanna Walsh

‘I was still quite a small girl when I decided to kidnap Enzo Ponza.’

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.’

Exit Strategy

Ivan Vladislavić

‘The corporate storyteller is having a bad day.’