“If space flight gets to the point that it’s like jet travel, I’m definitely there. It may just be we actually can’t get very far. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try." Michael Chabon
Extracts
Something burned here

Something burned here

The cabin was on a steep slope. It was as remote as it was old. An alpine hut from the eighteenth century. The bathroom had been added at a later date, but the living room was still heated by a wood-burning stove. The snow lay heavy on the pitched roof and on the railing at...
Time to go

Time to go

Clara, patron saint of television and eye disease, stood three feet tall in the church at the end of the road. The road was known generally as la calle, for it was the only one in the village, narrow, sprouting caminos and footpaths as it went. Scattered along it were one church, one store and...
First night

First night

We’re hiding in the powder room at the St Regis hotel. This is what working in what amounts to a rat’s nest for the past decade has done to us, I think, looking at our reflections in the mirror. Ten years in a piece-of-crap studio in the armpit of Bushwick with full view-and-sound of the...
Swarm

Swarm

Caterpillars? Easy, thinks Katya. Even these, thick-clustered, obscuring a tree from bole to crown and shivering their orange hairs. Caterpillars she can deal with. Still, it’s a strange sight, this writhing tree: a tree in mortification. Particularly here, where the perfect lawn slopes down to the grand white house below, between clipped flowerbeds flecked with...
A night in the barn

A night in the barn

David Hare’s The Red Barn, his latest sell-out play at the National Theatre, is a bold adaptation of Maigret creator Georges Simenon’s hitherto obscure novel Le Main, which is also now released by Penguin Classics in a new translation. In the depth of winter in 1950s Connecticut, Donald and Ingrid Dodd (Isabel in the novel)...
Human rights and wrongs

Human rights and wrongs

The Old Familiar Faces are unhappily gathered at a once-elegant four-star golf resort and conference centre to which tourists no longer come. In the reception area and in their workshop room, the Jacaranda room on the second floor, banners proclaim the theme of their workshop: “Assessing, Analysing and Evaluating the Impact of Political Violence on...
Remembering

Remembering

Austin Wright’s sleeper hit Tony & Susan, first published in 1993, received high praise from a new generation of readers and reviewers when it was re-released by Atlantic Books in 2010. Now it’s coming to a cinema near you in Tom Ford’s gripping adaptation Nocturnal Animals, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. Here’s how it...
The age of nylon/Off the Azores

The age of nylon/Off the Azores

A vast confluence of causes determines the most unlikely result. Forty-eight people, forty-eight agents of uncertainty enfolded within a series of innumerable reasons, fate is always a question of perspective. A modelized aeroplane in which forty-eight story fragments form a world. An impromptu survey whose description goes beyond the very conformity of studies. A census...
The promise

The promise

In a crumbling park in the crumbling back end of Copacabana, a woman stopped under an almond tree with a suitcase and a cigar. She was a round woman with a knob of grey hair pinned at the nape of her neck. After staring for a minute up into the tree, she bit into her...