We were at our regular swimming-place which is partly pebbly beach and partly big flat rocks when there came along in the shallows among the rocks by the shore a stocky young woman in a hooded wet-suit top with a diving mask and a snorkel and flippers and a speargun and a big sheath-knife strapped to her right leg. She was nosing among the underwater rocks in an ardent and serious way like a dog at a rabbit hole. She fired the speargun, then held up the spear with an octopus writhing on it. It was a mottled pinky-brown and its head was about as big as two clasped hands.
One Less Octopus at Paxos
‘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.
The Devil’s Kitchen
‘I'll now describe this artefact as precisely as I can because I want to make it perfectly clear that when I bought it there was no reason for me to think that it was anything more than what it appeared to be.’
The Man with the Dagger
‘I thought the story would be the most likely place to look for Dahlmann, so I went there.’
A Conversation with the Head of Orpheus
‘Far, far away in the night are live human beings whose breathing can be heard as they speak, and they're looking at their illuminated dials as I look at mine at this end of the darkness that curves with the night miles to the heave and swell of the ocean dawn.’