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Beirut | Dispatches

Lana Asfour

‘I was determined that this latest crisis wouldn’t keep me out of the country of my birth.’

Golden Kids Comeback

Timothy Garton Ash

'Hips. Some never have them. Most have them but lose them. A few have them and keep them.'

Notes from East Germany

Timothy Garton Ash

‘Like previous re-settlers, the East Germans now living in the West produced works in what I call the ‘Owl of Minerva’ school of literature. As the Owl of Minerva flies at dusk, so they, in flight from the system, made their reckoning with it.’

Under Eastern Eyes

Timothy Garton Ash

‘They sit around, feet in slippers, drinking wine and swapping jokes about Chernobyl. They have just produced the best journal of new writing in Czechoslovakia. It took about twenty minutes.’

Warsaw Notebook

Timothy Garton Ash

‘Underground groups are called ‘structures’. Some people offer friends the service of their ‘structures’. This makes them important. Then it turns out the structures don't exist.’

The Visit

Timothy Garton Ash

‘His language is a little stiff, polit-bureaucratic, but very far from being just ideological gobbledygook. Through it come glimpses of a real political intelligence, a man who knows about power.’

Our Mother’s New Man

Andrea Ashworth

‘To keep her eye on the cost, our mother set the clockwork oven-timer ticking when she picked up the phone.’

Where to Begin

Nadeem Aslam

‘Pages five, six and seven make her into a Pakistani, but for the first four pages she is nothing but a human being.’

Nadeem Aslam | God and Me

Nadeem Aslam

‘I loved—and continue to love—the pages of certain copies of the Qur’an.’


Nadeem Aslam

‘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.’


Diana Athill

‘My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness.’

Alive, Alive-Oh!

Diana Athill

‘She thought of herself as a rational woman, but while she could sleep alone in an empty house for night after night without worrying, there were other nights when her nerves twitched like a rabbit's at the least sound.’

God and Me

Diana Athill

‘Perhaps it’s just that the human mind is incapable of imagining anything that doesn’t begin.’

Somewhere Towards the End

Diana Athill

‘We knew that we would give each other no trouble.’