I hate the man who stood back to back with me for the hour-long journey from Düsseldorf to Cologne. I didn’t see his face or his hands; I just felt his shoulder-blades and sometimes his elbows, when he explained something particularly keenly to his companion. He talked for the whole hour. His voice was quite impersonal–I would hardly recognize it again–and yet I hate him. I don’t wish him dead, but I would like to see him spend the next two hundred years listening only to his own voice, a gramophone recording of his own words, the ones he spoke from Dusseldorf to Cologne. First it was currency reform, and from there it was German efficiency, which has been suppressed because there was no currency reform. But it couldn’t be suppressed. No, nothing could suppress German efficiency and German workmanship. And German science and German soldiers. And the German armed forces and German confidence. And German toilet-seats. Nothing in the world could suppress all of that.
‘When I think of menopause I don’t think of hot flashes; I am not here to talk about hot flashes.’ Mary Ruefle on menopause.
Urvashi Butalia on the life of transgender Mona Ahmed and her search for a feminine identity.
The Weak Spot
‘Murder class was the new thing, but of course they didn’t call it that. They called it Specialised Life Skills for Girls.’ – Sophie Mackintosh
woman is a construct
‘woman is basically meant / to be a residential complex’ – A poem by Angélica Freitas, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan.
Rachel Cusk on motherhood, marriage and separation.
A Letter to my Sons: War’s End
‘No, it's not easier for you than it was for us: don't let them tell you otherwise.’
The Kabul Markhor
‘He felt very lonely after spending the winter holed up in his cabin eating Doritos.’
Stillness | State of Mind
‘It is half twelve and I am labouring over the word Stillen. My laptop is open on the coffee table, pushed up against baby wipes and a row of empties.’