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
‘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.’
Longreads for the Lockdown
Doctors, solitude and the stones within us – for fiction about isolation, it has to be Haruki Murakami. Translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin.
Plague Diary: March
‘Things have changed without seeking permission.’ A plague diary of this March, by Gonçalo M. Tavares, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.
‘Our view of the morning’s entertainment was restricted by the width of the door frame.’ Bruce Chatwin writes about his imprisonment during a coup in Benin.
The Leech Barometer
‘A leech bodes this: you will, sooner or later, overflow yourself. ’ Rebecca Giggs on leeches and the borders of the human body.
The Lost Performance of the High Priestess of the Temple of Horror
‘Her eyes fluttered open and I felt like I was at the edge of the mouth of a cave, with every intention of jumping in.’ For pure escapism, lose yourself in the nineteenth-century Paris of Carmen Maria Machado.