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!
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.
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.’