A husband was a leech. Sucked, sucked your substance, and no feedback ever, and where were you to refuel? All the batteries, the cardiac muscles pumping in the red blood, the blood from the arteries, rich in oxygen, were all for him to plug in to. You, run-down you, were on the circuit of the veins. Seven alarm rings children get up Mummy Mummy let me in I’m in a hurry hammering at the door (not even time to shit in peace) where has the hairbrush disappeared to you pig you took it Mummy did you get my blouse ironed where are my trainers have you seen my swimming trunks we need fifty pence for the hoop teacher ordered for us no she wants change she did say she wouldn’t accept notes and and you’re not going to school on an empty stomach come on have a bite not hungry (hope to goodness he’s not about to fall ill got exams to invigilate no way of getting out of that) who’s taken the matches again no milk left shit bet Daddy drank it during the night hurry up you’re going to be late again and the little swine have made a mess of their bedroom again here we go tidy up sweep up dust up and my God where have I put my BM 545 cards I bet the porter has thrown away those essays now I’m in for it and into the tube racing along the overheated corridors those draughts of dust eternally stewed and stewed again and into another train among other barely visible ghosts the colour of dust stewed like the air and up staircases smeared with graffiti and into a classroom where the chairs screech and someone has written on the wall facing your desk Prof=SS and the infuriating whispers and giggles of that gang of idiots at the back of the classroom and the passionate quests and requests of the lost dogs begging for a little attention who would gobble you up bones and all if you gave them the chance which you do but too often and the ugliness and the queuing and the lavatories where you take care not to sit on the cold enamel the seats having been torn away long ago to prove something what you’re not sure and stare at the scrawls prick and cunt and I like them like that and many-talented y.m. seeks y.m. to give him a good suck and back home tube again and again sagging under the weight of your briefcase then later on of the fruit and veg butter et al. you should count yourself lucky and queuing at the butcher’s where you get propositioned by the local drunk and don’t say I’ve lost my keys again and washing and ironing and aren’t I fed up to the back teeth with nice economical little dishes which you have to stew and stew again like dust to hell with family fare and good housekeeping and the doctor your son is six pounds overweight here is a leaflet to explain to you how to balance your meals (you old bugger, who’s asking for advice?) thank you doctor how kind.
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.
Night on Fire
‘I know what’s going to happen and I know that it’s going to be bizarre.’
The Resurgence of the Monstrous Feminine
‘Despite the sheer and uncommunicable amount of violence enacted upon the female body throughout history, it’s woman as terroriser, as beast, that we keep coming back to.’
Fatima Farheen Mirza on navigating gender roles in a Muslim family, wearing hijab and learning how to box.