"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
August 2013
But not me

But not me

Reproduced below is the first letter Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., wrote to his family after being released as a prisoner of war in 1945. It recounts his witnessing of the firebombing of Dresden, an experience that would shape his later work including Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). The horrors of war are delivered in a devastating deadpan and a...
Pelé's perfect feint

Pelé’s perfect feint

The television set was a big old picture-tube contraption. The sequence of moves that you saw that Sunday could not have been more than ten seconds long, but with Murilo’s interruptions it lasted for several minutes as he unhurriedly provided a commentary, pressing play, pause, rewind, play, on what at the time had been commentated...
Summer round-up

Summer round-up

Still meaning to catch up with some of those recently released books you haven’t quite found time to read? Look no further if you’re searching for some last-minute inspiration before you pack your suitcase or load up your Kindle and head for the beach. Here’s a brief rundown of some favourites from the last six...
Lolita in reverse

Lolita in reverse

I spent the night before my first day of teaching in an excited loop of hushed masturbation on my side of the mattress, never fall­ing asleep. To bed I’d worn, in secret, a silk chemise and sheer pant­ies, beneath my robe of course, so that my husband, Ford, wouldn’t pillage me. He always wants to...
Doors

Doors

A robin has laid an egg in a hanging plant on the porch, and the wife doesn’t wish to disturb it. So she locks the front door and asks the husband to avoid passing through. Instead, he should use the side door, the one that leads through the mud room and into the kitchen, whenever...
A dip in the Ladies' Pond

A dip in the Ladies’ Pond

Lottie Moggach’s chilling and finely crafted debut novel Kiss Me First tells the story of a socially awkward young woman drawn into an online community run by a charismatic web guru who entices her to impersonate a suicidal stranger. Bookanista finds out what makes her tick. I wrote this book for people who find the...
Frédéric Beigbeder: A life in fiction

Frédéric Beigbeder: A life in fiction

Frédéric Beigbeder’s fictionalised biography A French Novel is a meditation on family, memory, the writing process and criminal justice. Sparked by his arrest and confinement in 2008 for snorting cocaine from a car bonnet outside a Paris nightclub, it’s an engaging reflection on an advantaged but fragmented life on the Basque coast and in the...
The Adventure of the Spotted Tie

The Adventure of the Spotted Tie

It was a cold wintry evening when I last called upon my friend Mr Sherlock Holmes. I found the great detective in his usual pose, hunched over his writing desk, a smoldering pipe in hand. He glanced at me coolly. “I see you haven’t had much luck at the dog track,” he said. I gasped,...
Through a child's eyes

Through a child’s eyes

Penelope Delta was born in 1874 in Alexandria, where there was then a thriving Greek community. She belonged to the Greek aristocracy of her time, both extraordinary in its endeavours, and, like high Victorian and Edwardian society, decidedly structured in its make-up. She could easily have walked out of a novel by E.M. Forster, Marcel...
The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement

The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement

After graduating from Cambridge in 1791, William Wordsworth travelled to France and found himself swept up in the ideals of the French Revolution (and, not unconnected, into the arms of the passionately rebellious Annette Vallon, with whom he fathered a daughter). The subsequent Reign of Terror and counter-revolution would modify his views on revolution as...