Last thing, I watch the night mail go out. The back windows of my house gaze down into the yard of Islington’s main post office—a great block of Edwardian red brick, its façade an uncompromising array of windows, its only architectural flight of fancy the peculiar stunted campanile at each end of the building. A wrought-iron plaque on my garden wall, boundary with the post office yard, reminds me that the wall is the property of the Postmaster General, 1909. At night, the yard and the row of back gardens glow in the light of the post office’s orange sodium lamps—best in rain when the glow turns to gilt, sharply gilded foliage and glittering lakes on the tarmac of the yard.
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.