“I feel that literature is not about having somebody cuddling you on the sofa, sometimes it has to be about punching you in the stomach.” – Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen untamed

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen untamed

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s debut novel One Night, Markovitch is a dazzlingly funny and tender story about love, betrayal and mythmaking. Set before, during and after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, it centres around an unremarkable man who agrees to an arranged marriage to a beautiful woman to help her escape Nazi Europe...
The sculptor

The sculptor

Scott McCloud’s first graphic novel in almost a decade is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond. David Smith is a young sculptor who is literally giving his life for his art. Thanks to a deal with Death, David gets his childhood wish: to sculpt...
Tony Juniper: Green growth

Tony Juniper: Green growth

Tony Juniper’s latest book, What Nature Does for Britain, sets out to undermine the received folly that protecting nature is somehow bad for the economy and, via first-hand accounts from around the country showing how environmental damage is under repair, builds a persuasive manifesto for a greener nation. We sit...
Talking to the deads

Talking to the deads

When the Pico burned and I saw my grandfather cry, my curiosity in him grew and I wondered about who he really was. And I thought about what we’d seen when we went into his room. What did we see in grandfather’s room? Well, after all those people were taken...
Coming of age novels

Coming of age novels

These books have nothing and everything in common. They come from different times, different genders. Their stories are as diverse as the way they are told. Some were written for adults, some for young people. The windows they provide into adolescence are varied, each refracting something distinct. But then: there...
Dorthe Nors: Voices in the mist

Dorthe Nors: Voices in the mist

One of Denmark’s most inventive and acclaimed contemporary writers, Dorthe Nors’ story collection Karate Chop and her novella Minna Needs Rehearsal Space are now published together in a special back-to-back edition. Her spare, poetic, ominously disturbing stories present disconnected lives at critical moments of change – while the novella is a playful...
Lissa Evans: Laughter in the dark

Lissa Evans: Laughter in the dark

Lissa Evans’ riotously comic Crooked Heart tells the story of bright ten-year-old orphan Noel Bostock, who is evacuated to St Albans from London to escape the Blitz. He is taken under the wing of sharp, unscrupulous Vera Sedge who, as soon as she claps eyes on Noel, hits on a...
Latest entries
One day he will stay

One day he will stay

It’s been two days, no word. She can still feel him. His touch is still on her. Her cunt still aches. His stale body odour still clings to her. It’s been two days since she was ensnared in his embrace; naked, and crushed under his weight. Inside he came and her body got to work...
The world's pendulum is Antigone's heart

The world’s pendulum is Antigone’s heart

Ivo van Hove’s production of Antigone at the Barbican reminds us of what theatre is all about. Why tragedy and the Greeks are still crucial to our understanding of our humanity and inhumanity, why they still present us with a timeless meaning, an ethics of eternity. Ivo van Hove has given us a haunting, eerie...
The poet

The poet

Bella Markovitch spent an entire year in the home of the poet. Several days after their first meeting, she got used to the chopped liver smell, and now smelled it only when they fought. Every morning, after the poet left for work, Bella packed all her clothes in a bag and was ready to leave...
I looked for you, I called your name

I looked for you, I called your name

The first thing that went wrong was the emergency landing. My husband and I were both reading In Flight Magazine and enjoying the complimentary wine in first class – I’d never flown first class before, but it was our honeymoon and we thought that was what we were supposed to do; drink in the daytime,...
War stories for children

War stories for children

“Maybe humans aren’t such a terrible animal after all,” reflects a whale that daydreams about aeroplanes in the sky and fatefully falls in love with a Japanese submarine. As the whale insouciantly navigates the sardine-filled waters of nature, the human sea-routes of warships and submarines and the airways of military planes are rife with death...
Time, self and story

Time, self and story

Fifty years after Marshall McLuhan’s ground-breaking The Medium is the Message, Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist examine the unstoppable impact of technology on contemporary culture. Touring a world redefined by the internet, decoding and explaining what they call the ‘extreme present’, The Age of Earthquakes harnesses the images, language and perceptions of...
Keeping the magic

Keeping the magic

We translators are used to becoming experts on subjects we know nothing about, describing sights we’ve never seen and speaking in voices that are not our own. But translating the Equatorial Guinean novel By Night The Mountain Burns, by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, seemed to require a bigger leap of faith than usual. How could...
The old she-wolf and the little girl

The old she-wolf and the little girl

In Manchuria, now north-east China, a large she-wolf and a girl just four years old squatted in a sorghum field. The wolf was sturdily built, but she was old and patches of her fur had fallen out and most of her teeth were missing. The little girl wore a white shirt with red baggy pantaloons,...
Where science meets literature

Where science meets literature

Chair of judges Bill Bryson has announced the shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize, one of the quirkiest – and richest – literary awards in the UK. Open to both fiction and non-fiction, the prize was set up in 2009 to celebrate books that engage with any aspect of medicine, health or illness. Worth £30,000,...
Female killers

Female killers

When she goes to bed, which is earlier and earlier now, he stays up at the computer. He checks the weather, reads an online tabloid, and plays backgammon with someone who says he’s a retiree. Who wins is an open issue, and shortly after midnight the retiree logs off. So then he surfs around, visiting...