Months, days, eternity’s sojourners. Years that unfold from the cherry in flower to rice thick in the flat fields to the gingko suddenly gold the first day of frost to the red fox across the snow. The sampan pilot from Shiogama to Ishinomaki, the postman galloping from Kyoto to Ogaki, what do they travel but time? Our great journey is through the years, even when we doze by the brazier. Clouds move on the winds. We long to travel with them. For I, Basho, am a traveller. No sooner, last autumn, did I get home from a fine journey along the coast, take the broom to the cobwebs in my neglected house on the Sumida River, see the New Year in, watch the wolves slinking down from the hills shoulder deep in white drifts, look in wonder all over again, as every spring, at the mist on the marshes, than I was ready to set out through the gate at Shirakawa. I stitched up the slits and rips in my trousers, hitched a new chin strap to my hat, rubbed my legs with burnt wormwood leaves, which puts vigour into the muscles, and thought all the while of the moon rising full over Matsushima, what a sight that would be when I got there and could gaze on it.
Fifty-Seven Views of Fujiyama
40 Years of Granta
From the editor’s desk
Correspondence from our archive, from Kazuo Ishiguro, Kingsley Amis, Doris Lessing, Martha Gellhorn and more.
How to Write About Africa
The late Binyavanga Wainaina's iconic satire is one of Granta's best-loved essays.
Angela Carter is best known for her adaptations of fairy tales, and ‘Cousins’ is one in her quartet of wolf stories.
The Roads of London
Nobel Prize-winning Doris Lessing on her life, lovers and landlords in 1950s London.
Dreams for Hire
Nobel Prize-winning Gabriel García Márquez’s encounters with a clairvoyant in Vienna, Barcelona and Havana.
On the Island of the Black River
William Atkins visits the remote island of Sakhalin, following in the footsteps of Anton Chekhov.
‘As I lay on the mattress, the white toe pads of the gecko floated up before me, against the vastness of the blue-black night. Rather than a presence, it seemed to me more like a trace, a barely discernible odour that flooded in on the air.’