“The war started when I was sixteen. There were enormous numbers of sex-starved troops all over the place. We were rather thrown to the wolves and we had a sort of gay time which was very punctuated by friends dying.”
“People often say that writers end up writing the same book over and over, but my interests, my obsessions, don’t have exclusively to do with mothers and daughters; it’s more to do with identity.”
“Behind every gleaming doorknocker is a little knot of human beings struggling with problems… snakes slithering around a leafy paradise, where everyone else seems to be so happy.”
“I think fiction only works with compassion – once you have that then you can move between observation, which might be detached without empathy, and imagination.”
Launching our latest strand, Suzanne Berne picks out a perfect sketch from recent Nobel Prize winner and mistress of the form Alice Munro, Sophie Hannah weighs up Herman Melville’s ever-popular proto-slacker Bartleby, Charlie Hill and Andrea Gillies admire Katherine Mansfield each from a different angle, Katherine Hill is utterly mesmerised by Lorrie Moore, Rebecca Mascull suitably awed by Raymond Carver, and Karin Salvalaggio explains how a much-anthologised and widely analysed Joyce Carol Oates classic continues to inform her own writing.
Plus new fiction in translation by Alba Dedeu and João Anzanello Carrascoza, New Voice Ben Philippe, round-ups of the year and into spring by contributing editors Fiona Melrose and Lucy Scholes, and a competition to win great book prizes from Whitaker’s and Bloomsbury.