"There is no centre anymore. We live in a multipolar world, and culture reflects that." Fatima Bhutto
Sanaë Lemoine: Brittle love

Sanaë Lemoine: Brittle love

Sanaë Lemoine’s debut novel The Margot Affair is narrated by the illegitimate teenage daughter of leading French actress Anouk Louve and prominent politician Bertrand Lapierre. Margot has grown up under a shroud of silence and shame, and as she emerges into adulthood she treads an independent path that threatens to...
Yun Ko-eun: Into the wreckage

Yun Ko-eun: Into the wreckage

Yun Ko-eun’s disconcerting and darkly funny novel The Disaster Tourist follows the misfortunes of Yona, a disgruntled coordinator for the travel company Jungle. Yona’s employer organizes guided tours to destinations that have been traumatized by disaster – earthquakes, floods, fires and war, amongst dozens of other categories. When she threatens...
Jean-Baptiste Andrea: The child within

Jean-Baptiste Andrea: The child within

Jean-Baptiste Andrea’s A Hundred Million Years and a Day is the fictitious story of fifty-something Stan, a middle-aged fossil-hunter who, in the summer of 1954, is driven to undertake a hazardous expedition to a mountain glacier to discover the whereabouts of a mythical ‘dragon’; a probable dinosaur skeleton embedded beneath...
Nick Bradley: Tokyo calling

Nick Bradley: Tokyo calling

Nick Bradley’s debut novel The Cat and The City offers a dizzying ride through the underbelly of a Tokyo normally invisible to outsiders. Artfully combining different styles of popular storytelling – from horror, Sci-Fi and fantasy to detective fiction and even manga – the lives of a disparate band of...
Enter Officer Anderson...

Enter Officer Anderson…

Cops are easy. All you have to do is show him your ID, explain you’re a congressman. There will be some perfunctory chit-chat, and you will make the officer feel important, for you know, like, providing the civil service that he provides, and he may or may not write you...
Deb Olin Unferth: Free the birds!

Deb Olin Unferth: Free the birds!

Deb Olin Unferth’s ferociously funny novel Barn 8 drops Brooklyn teenager Janey Flores into the utterly alien environment of rural Iowa, where she is recruited into a thankless job as an auditor for the US laying-hen industry. Appalled by the grim conditions in the vast chicken barns, she and her...
Playing God

Playing God

Nikita Lalwani’s latest novel You People poses the tantalising question: in a world where the law is against you, how far would you be willing to lie for a chance to live? Set in London pizzeria where half the kitchen staff are undocumented immigrants, it is a witty and humane...
Petina Gappah: Follow the body

Petina Gappah: Follow the body

When British explorer David Livingstone died in 1873 in a small village in present-day Zambia, he was accompanied by an entourage of around seventy African guides, porters and helpers, who came to the remarkable decision to carry his remains over 1,500 miles to the coast at Bagamoyo to be transported...
Camilla Bruce: Away with the faeries

Camilla Bruce: Away with the faeries

Camilla Bruce’s debut novel You Let Me In is a gripping, genre-shifting psychological thriller written in the form of a long letter-cum-memoir from missing, 74-year-old romance novelist Cassandra Tipp to nephew and niece Janus and Penelope – her only living heirs. In the letter, she tells dark parallel tales about...
Latest entries
Shooting

Shooting

On one of the training courses I got sent on the instructor said, “The thing about guns is that they’re a great way to turn money into noise.” Everyone nodded. It seemed like a smart thing to say. I guess he was trying to get us to appreciate the wastage in firing your gun off...
A visit to the trenches

A visit to the trenches

One day I heard that some of the British drivers were going to visit the trenches in the University City, and I implored them to let me go with them. My good friend Jack agreed, provided I could get my pass fixed up. For this I needed a recommendation from somebody in a position of...
Dante's nose

Dante’s nose

Early in the morning of September 1321, Dante died of malaria in Ravenna. Looking at the images (pictorial or sculptural) that we have of him, and considering the corpus of his work, especially the impact he was to have on our understanding of European culture in the centuries to come, one would think this would...
Here and there

Here and there

One of the things we do as poets is to try to preserve experiences, people, places important to us, in an effort to save them from time’s erasure. In Passport to Here and There, I’ve been more conscious of this than in some of my other books and felt that a short introduction to my...
Sleepwalker

Sleepwalker

Martin can still hear the way Vickie screamed that night when they’d set the bone. He winces. She was just a little girl, then. Downstairs, pots and pans knock against each other. The cupboard closes. A passing car smears a phantom window over his walls. It leaves behind darkness and the gray outlines of things...
Atlantic

Atlantic

Married as we were to your brown untourist beaches, unconcerned with the many shores you touched, as children, we thought that you, Atlantic, belonged to us, your below-sea-level offspring.   See us playing cricket, turn-down bucket making wicket – ball a spin-off of empire – lost in the applauding waves for six. At Easter, to...
Inside and out

Inside and out

Clarence knew man lived in the shadows and that he’d lived in them for so long he didn’t even realise he lived in them. That, more to the point, man was shadow. Had become it. Had evolved to be it. That’s how disconnected man had become in our hero’s eyes. Man had castrated himself long...
Home truths

Home truths

‘You can’t downsize a potato field… agus sé sin an fhadhb,’ the Chief called from his tractor that night when I went out with a sandwich. The Chief ’s parents – who were burnt to slags in a hay barn when he was a youth – were Gaelgoirs. He kept on the bit of Irish...
Modern fiction

Modern fiction

Reading Andrea Marcolongo’s The Ingenious Language: Nine Epic Reasons to Love Greek in certain ways lives up to its English title in providing an epic experience (the Italian original’s simpler 9 ragioni… emphasises the more light-heartedly catchy, yet didactic underpinnings of the text, rather than its epic claims, significance or proportions). As Marcolongo reminds us...
Enough to drown a man

Enough to drown a man

It was New Year’s Eve, and the night belonged to Deacon. A bulb buried and lying dormant inside of him was finding its way to flower. He beamed at his girlfriend Clara, as if to say: Look at the world I can give you. Look at the men in tuxedos and women in sequined gowns....