I grew up in the semi-tropical south, dotted by wet paddy fields, but I always wanted to go to the north, the solemn and tough north. According to the geopolitics of China, the north represents culture and power, while the south retains rotten feudal traditions and trivial domestic comforts. I spent the first nineteen years of my life in the southern Chinese province called Zhejiang, a green hilly region south of Shanghai. There, everything was about agriculture. During the day people toiled in the rice paddies beside their buffaloes; at night three generations ate noodles while listening to the chickens in the backyard.
Well Done, No. 3777!
‘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.
Best book of 1947: L’Écume des Jours by Boris Vian
‘In those spring nights, I sat by barbecue stalls in the streets of Beijing, reading this novel under dim streetlights while eating lamb skewers.’
The Price of Freedom, Including VAT
‘I had lost my native country, now I was going to lose a continent.’