"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
Contexts
Lewis and Ernest and Hadley

Lewis and Ernest and Hadley

Lewis scooped a handful of mail from the pile on his desk and riffled through it, his eyes scanning the senders’ names on the envelopes. He recognized some as American bankers, undoubtedly asking him to impress on the French that their war loans must be repaid. And some as French officials, reminding him that the...
Intimate tales

Intimate tales

The 2018 Litro Summer Literary & Arts weekender showcases stories from South Korea and India, from the pride of New India to the hidden voices of Korean women who are quiet but strong. Over the second May bank holiday weekend, we champion a sea change in female-led narrative, as voices and confidence bloom. These are...
Passing the acid test

Passing the acid test

I discovered Tom Wolfe’s work in Mummy’s living room. Though I couldn’t understand a word of that electric kool-aid business, I am now reliving it: the allure of a bright blue paperback, holding it in my hands. The sugar cube on the cover looked like something recently soaked in Grand Marnier by my mother, the...
The solid case for ambiguity

The solid case for ambiguity

At a moment of writers’ block, “the United Kingdom came to my rescue,” declares Javier Cercas in The Blind Spot: An Essay on the Novel, that is based on his Weidenfeld Lectures at Oxford in May 2015. The United Kingdom is in fact The Telegraph, or to be precise, an article by Umberto Eco, quoting...
Against poets

Against poets

At twenty years old they already have some important experiences behind them: they’ve published poems in journals and anthologies, taken part in workshops, written articles for school yearbooks, and maybe they have granted one or two premature interviews. They already have their first books ready, and they’re about to come out from emerging publishing houses....
Outsiders within

Outsiders within

Somewhere in the world, there is always a refugee crisis, people on the run from famine or conflict or natural disaster. I began writing my novel The Boat People in 2013 when the Syrian War was in its second year, just as the life rafts started to appear on the Mediterranean. As I wrote and...
Six white robins

Six white robins

The Beggar and Other Stories is a very unusual collection, and in fact an arrangement not directly intended to appear as such by its author. Its compiler, Gaito Gazdanov’s newest translator Bryan Karetnyk, has orchestrated a truly unconventional array of layers of both fiction and reality, of narrative experiences and of perspectives of vision and...
Answers without questions

Answers without questions

The Dictionary of Animal Languages is a single-voice narrative that moves concurrently on two planes of being; it stretches itself over dual dimensions of time and space, and lays claim on a bifocal understanding of the self. Not a dichotomised self, but a fully alert, almost live-wire vivid, split consciousness, whose strands interlace ineluctably, creating...
We need to talk about nanny

We need to talk about nanny

My ex-husband and I moved from Berkeley, California to Kensington in 1994. I was the proverbial deer in headlights, having not a clue how the world functioned beyond the scope of my somewhat limited life experience. The word naïve doesn’t really cut it, as I was too naïve to notice my own naïvety. In truth,...
Recapturing infinity in the present

Recapturing infinity in the present

“Am I the same person?” asks Fela Rosenbloom, whose narrative of her early life in Łódź, and her internment in no fewer than six German labour and concentration camps, prefaces her husband’s longer, very different account of the 20th century. Miracles Do Happen is a joint memoir of war, Jewish life, community and identity, survival...