"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
August 2014
Balloon night

Balloon night

Timkin’s wife left him during a blisteringly cold Thanksgiving week, two nights before their annual Balloon Night party. There was no time for Timkin to call their guests and cancel; nor would he know where to call in many cases. It was the sort of event attended by people from all corners of their lives...
Here be sea monsters

Here be sea monsters

In the year 1560, near the island of Mannar on the west coast of what was then Ceylon, a group of Dutch fishermen caught seven mermaids and seven tritons. By some marvellous chance, the personal physician to the Viceroy of Goa was on board the vessel at the time of their capture, and he dissected...
Nikesh Shukla: Superhumour

Nikesh Shukla: Superhumour

Meatspace is the second novel from Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author Nikesh Shukla. It follows Kitab Balasubramanyam (‘Kit’ for short) as he deals with heartbreak, unemployment and an online namesake-turned-stalker. When Aziz, Kit’s brother and flatmate, leaves him to track down his doppelgänger in America, Kit finds it harder and harder to maintain his...
This scatter must be gathered

This scatter must be gathered

On the night of 8 June 2014, a pack of ten terrorists raided Karachi airport. They were well trained and equipped with an arsenal of grenades, suicide vests, a rocket launcher and automatic weapons. They broke through the airport security guised as security personnel. As the attack unfolded, I sat in disbelief in front of...
On destiny

On destiny

As prestigious as he is chaste, a certain person called P likes abstract art, chamber music and Petrarchian poetry. He has devoted two-thirds of his life to a rigorous study of the arts; the remaining third, to dreaming about them. Scrupulousness and serenity are the hallmarks of P’s domestic existence. Very occasionally, he permits himself...
Claudine

Claudine

On a warm night in May I went out to do karaoke at a tiny bar downtown. Because it was a weeknight I left early, just past midnight. It was too early and too nice out to justify taking a cab. A limo sprouting bachelorettes from its roof passed me, trailing squeals that echoed in...
Damaged hero

Damaged hero

Based on Jussi Adler-Olsen’s award-winning novel Mercy, the first in the bestselling Department Q crime fiction series, The Keeper of Lost Causes is a powerful and gripping thriller starring Nicolaj Lie Kaas (The Killing), Sonja Richter (The Homesman) and Fares Fares (Zero Dark Thirty, Safe House). Carl Mørck (Kaas) is a troubled detective who is...
Erwin Mortier: History is debate

Erwin Mortier: History is debate

Erwin Mortier’s meticulously crafted novels about memory, language and identity are acclaimed across the world and his latest, an attempt to plug a surprising gap in Belgian literature about the Great War, was immediately dubbed a modern classic. I catch up with him on the release of the English-language edition. MR: Your first three novels...
Biblio bibelots

Biblio bibelots

Patricia Ferguson’s gripping and life-affirming new novel Aren’t We Sisters?, the sequel to The Midwife’s Daughter, examines the transformative power of buried secrets, unlikely friendships and unexpected connections among three women in the fictional Cornish town of Silkhampton, where a killer is on the prowl… She shares her literary trinkets. Where are you now? At...
The body speaks

The body speaks

The girl on the TV screen is smiling, nervously. She’s talking about all the things she used to do: art class, cheerleading. “I was always so active,” she says. And then you see something’s wrong, her words halting, her head jerking. “Everyone was always so happy to be around me.” A pause, her eyes troubled....