Concede the heat of noon in summer camps. The quarters wavering in bottled heat, cots lined up in the big dark rooms that are pitch black if you walk in out of the sun. Black, quiet, empty, and the screen door banging shut three times behind you. Allowed in alone only if you are faint. Perhaps the heat has come over you, settled in from above and sucked your insides until you must lie down to sleep in the empty cabin while the rest are at hiking or canoes or archery. Now you lie there sleeping and the room is heavy and warm, but cooler than noon, the rough wooden walls exuding shade. The cots are precisely mute. Identical and different in olive green blankets, each pulled tight and tucked. In your mind, you see the bodies lying there, each in its own future. You are frightened because it is you here with the future. And they are scattered along Mud River walk, obscured by dense leaves, their occasional cries no louder than the sounds of the invisible birds. Or they are standing in line before bright targets stretched across baled hay. They are holding taut straight out, pulling back on the strings with all their strength.
In Summer Camps
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.
‘She was sliding down on the seat under him and it was like the soundtrack at the drive-in – a surface closed over her.’
Termite’s Birthday, 1959
‘It's like by the time he was born there was too much to know.’