"Our technology has outpaced us to the degree that human understanding is no longer at the centre of it." Olivia Sudjic
In the shadow of Poe

In the shadow of Poe

It’s commonplace to credit Edgar Allan Poe with inventing the modern mystery story with his trio of tales featuring the Parisian detective C. August Dupin. Poe’s innovation explains why to this very day the annual awards given by the Mystery Writers Association are called the Edgars. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...
Diksha Basu: On the money

Diksha Basu: On the money

Diksha Basu’s debut novel The Windfall is a highly entertaining Indian comedy of manners. Family, friendship, identity, romance, a Swarovski-embellished sofa, worthless sons and insecurity in all its forms make up this sharp comic tale. The Jha family are new millionaires, thanks to the sale of Mr Jha’s internet start-up...
After shock

After shock

On 4 July, a little under six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, I joined a packed audience of over 2,000 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall for an engaging and impressive keynote speech by Naomi Klein based around her latest book No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock...
Olivia Sudjic: Between dreams

Olivia Sudjic: Between dreams

Olivia Sudjic’s debut novel Sympathy is a dazzling examination of the morals and customs of our gadget-led lives, a sharp and slippery tale of unreliable identities and assumed connections. It’s narrated by 23-year-old Alice Hare, an unhinged Englishwoman in New York who becomes obsessed with the online presence of 32-year-old...
Hari Kunzru: Between the grooves

Hari Kunzru: Between the grooves

It’s Hari Kunzru’s first press trip to London for a few years, this time to discuss his fifth novel, White Tears. It’s that rare beast: a novel of ideas that is also a transfixing thriller. The morning after he arrives from New York, we meet in a room just off...
Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin is an acclaimed Argentinian short-story writer whose compact debut novel Fever Dream is shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. A disorientating and utterly gripping psychological thriller and an unsettling exploration of family ties, panic and dread, it is told in spare dialogue between a woman called...
Latest entries
Never a dull word

Never a dull word

In April 2015 a delightful story by Fleur Jaeggy, ‘The Saltwater House’, appeared in my inbox. As I read it the Italian seemed to turn into English spontaneously in my brain. It had been sent by a friend in Milan to a friend in New York who then forwarded it to me. It was a...
Cat

Cat

Observing others is always interesting. On a train, in airports, at conferences, while waiting in line, when sitting across from someone at a table; on any occasion, in fact, that people flow into. Even someone who doesn’t travel or is very much alone will at some point go out on the street for half an...
Best intentions

Best intentions

S.V. Berlin’s debut novel The Favourite is a compelling story about rivalries and secrets as siblings Edward and Isobel are thrown together after a long absence by the death of their mother and the need to sort through the family home. She shares her tips for realising your writing ambitions.   1. Read, read, read...
Description

Description

Joseph and his friend Kevin were driving to New Paltz for a hike. Kevin was driving with one hand, elbow out; Joseph had his whole arm out, hand on roof. They had finished their MFAs in creative writing weeks earlier and they felt great. Kevin had just published an essay in a big-deal magazine that...
Cretan love song

Cretan love song

Imagine you’re part of the Minoan civilization, just hanging out with your effete painted face down by the water’s edge on the north shore of Crete, circa 1600 BC. Biting flies knit the breeze around your head. Wavelets slap discreetly ashore. When the volcanic island of Thera detonates seventy miles to the north, the concussion,...
Summer at Sheep's Head

Summer at Sheep’s Head

Nick Laird’s latest novel Modern Gods is a provocative tale of two Northern Irish sisters who trying to negotiate unexpected challenges of faith, family, guilt and repentance – both at home and in the depths of a Papua New Guinea rainforest. He answers our quickfire Q&A on a recent London visit. Where are you now?...
Not selling anything

Not selling anything

“Hello, my name is Belle. I am calling on behalf of—” They hang up. “Hello, my name is Ariel. I am calling behalf of Krippler Incorporated, a market research institute. Today we are conducting—” “On behalf of wha’?” replies a woman with a heavy southern accent. “On behalf of Krippler Incorporated, a market research institute.”...
It is us they burn

It is us they burn

In the course of the 2005 youth riots that broke out across France, thirty-two libraries were burnt down or so badly ravaged that their contents had to be thrown away. If one looks at the period covering 1996 to 2013 the tally rises to more than seventy. Libraries come under attack in the banlieues again...
Doctor's orders

Doctor’s orders

A few days ago, I was fished out of the Seine just in the nick of time. Two feet from the bank, to be precise, but that’s more than far enough to sink into the mud and float to the surface a couple of weeks later, limp and soggy as the hunks of bread people...
Under the hammer

Under the hammer

It was late spring, and for several weeks I had been trying to make modest inroads into the living room. Bit by bit, over several years, my wife had succeeded in exiling my fabulous collections to one room of our apartment and now the ‘study’ was where all my treasures were stored. But I had...