“Everything I’ve ever written is my attempt to transform what is ugly and painful or difficult into something that’s beautiful and transformative, like the phoenix rising from the ashes.”
“In the afternoon the Sunday Telegraph did an interview with me about ‘My Perfect Weekend’. I told them what I liked doing to hens. One lady was sick and fell off her chair.”
“People do not change over time. The elderly are, in reality, aged tikes. Conversely, the young are juvenile codgers… by and large who you are at eighty-five is who you were at five.”
“I saw his head practically open up, all blood and everything and I kept on shooting. That’s about all of it. I’m just sick of it, kid.” – Abraham Zapruder
“What counts is that a child experiences the magic of the story through the narrator’s voice or through the wide eyes of the father or mother who reads it to them at bedtime.”
“My ideal dinner guests? Eudora Welty, Grace Paley, Flannery O’Connor, Maeve Brennan – a small gathering of witty grandes dames who have seen the other side.”
“When he opened the invitation he was surprised and almost displeased. It meant he’d have to admit to himself that the divorce and Sheila’s remarriage still stung his heart, or else he’d have to test his ongoing pain against the new reality.”
“A friend’s dad recently asked his daughter ‘What do you think of my life?’ It can be quite a sad question. But if my parents asked that, my answer would be easy – I can only hope I do life as well as they have.”
New fiction from Angola by Saramago Prize winner Ondjaki, a redemptive revenge story from new voice Amanda Block, a literary murder mystery from Charlie Hill, a fresh start for Iceland’s Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, a chilling microstory by Barcelona’s Eduard Màrquez, and an extract from a new translation of Curzio Malaparte’s war-weary Italian classic The Skin.
Albert Alla’s diary drifts from Paris to the South Pacific, Susan Choi and Nina Stibbe each offer essential writers’ tips, there’s a Q&A with Oscar Zarate, along with sample pages of his new graphic novel The Park, and W.B. Gooderham presents a selection of eye-opening dedications found in second-hand books.
We delve into the past with John Berger’s brief study of André Kertesz’s On Reading, and dip into Susan Sontag’s freshly published unexpurgated Rolling Stone interview, while John Sutherland glimpses into the bold new future of digital reading.