The first time I ever visited a place I’d read about in a travel book was when my family took a holiday in Hong Kong in 1993. I was twelve, and I’d found and read a yellowing edition of Ian Fleming’s Thrilling Cities only the previous year. In Hong Kong, the inaugural stop on his itinerary, Fleming received a Tiger Balm massage, messed around with chopsticks, played fan-tan in Macau, and discussed the Bretton Woods agreement. Given my age, I could partake in only one of these thrills. I concentrated hard, during my trip, to see if the city felt in any way like Fleming’s Hong Kong, but in vain. Much later,
Samanth Subramanian | Is Travel Writing Dead?
Rebecca Giggs watches the slow death of a beached humpback whale.
As a child, Primo Levi discovered the surprising brutality to raising tadpoles.
Witness: Butterflies on a Wheel
Anthony Doerr on the most marvellous thing he's ever seen: the migration of butterflies in Wyoming.
The loss of a cat leads to recollections of other losses in this memoir by Mary Gaitskill.
Hilary Mantel grew up with a dog she called Victor and a brother she called pig.
‘There are clubs like the Breach Candy Club all over the Indian subcontinent: relics of the Raj, institutions that were set up as bolt-holes for the British, where they could retreat to row or swim or play cricket or race horses.’
Fishes and Dragons
An excerpt from ‘Fishes and Dragons’ a Lithuanian literary chinoiserie that addresses the interpretation by a European of Qing dynasty culture and art.
'Childhood felt like a waiting room, a transitory phase between birth and the life we wanted.'