“You have one body and one life to live and you only get this one shot – and that reality can drive you crazy.” Ottessa Moshfegh
Laura Beatty: Insight and wonder

Laura Beatty: Insight and wonder

One comes away from meeting and talking with Laura Beatty with a combined sense of awe and the closest human affinity and immediacy. She possesses a formidable mind, a very composed and elegiac conversational style that one may only call a delicately poetic oral prose. The beginning of a thought...
The sea journal

The sea journal

The sea has been an endless source of fascination, at once both alluring and mysterious, a place of wonder and terror. The Sea Journal contains first-hand records by a great range of travellers of their encounters with strange creatures and new lands, full of dangers and delights, pleasures and perils....
Ottessa Moshfegh: Just one shot

Ottessa Moshfegh: Just one shot

Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a New York Times bestseller shortlisted for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize, is a darkly hilarious novel about narcotic hibernation and moneyed oblivion. The unnamed narrator is a recent graduate from New York’s Columbia University who has given up her underpaid job...
Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West

Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West set out to be the ultimate Western – a celebration of the power of classic Hollywood cinema, a meditation on the making of America, and a lament for the decline of one of the most cherished film genres in the form...
Anti social

Anti social

Adam Leroux had managed to avoid most of social media. Facebook, the company that owned Instagram, had another social media platform which was also called Facebook. The company was named for the platform, which had started out as a student project at Harvard University. The Harvard version of Facebook, the...
Stepping into the dark

Stepping into the dark

A lifelong passion for gothic novels led Sara Collins to give up a career in law and test her mettle as a fiction writer. We catch up with her in the midst of a whirlwind US tour ahead of publication of her hotly anticipated debut The Confessions of Frannie Langton....
Confessions

Confessions

David Means is the author of the highly acclaimed story collections A Quick Kiss of Redemption (1991), Assorted Fire Events (2000) The Secret Goldfish (2004) and Spot (2010) as well as the Man Booker-nominated novel Hystopia (2016). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Zeotrope and Best American...
Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto’s second novel The Runaways is a provocative, astute and ever-timely exploration of what makes three young people in Pakistan and England reject the society that raised them and sign up to the war against the West. Anita, growing up in a sprawling Karachi slum, aims to better herself...
Ece Temelkuran: Disrupt the disrupters

Ece Temelkuran: Disrupt the disrupters

 Desperate, confused, bored and exhausted. These are all words that most of us could relate to when we think of modern-day politics. Have we lost the plot? According to Ece Temelkuran, a prominent critical political commentator, we most certainly have but we are not alone. In her ominously titled...
Sheena Kamal: The rage that simmers

Sheena Kamal: The rage that simmers

It All Falls Down is the second in what will hopefully turn out to be a long-running series of crime novels by Canadian author Sheena Kamal. Once again focused on an enigmatic female protagonist named Nora Watts, it is a worthy follow up to Kamal’s critically acclaimed debut Eyes Like...
Latest entries
A vision of eternity

A vision of eternity

There are infinitely more than fifteen ways of looking at Dante – we can see him as a historical figure, a radical maverick, the conscience of a Church and a State in dire crisis. He is the writer of poetry that many have come to see as the ultimate representation of the sublime, as well...
God's rib

God’s rib

When I think about my own death, the moment it happens is always the same. I’m wearing a plain, colored shirt and a matching pair of pants, cut from thin material that’s easy to pull on. It’s early in the morning and I am happy, I feel the same sense of contentment and satisfaction as...
Where the wise and wild things are

Where the wise and wild things are

Amanda Brettargh is a quiet torrent of a woman. A conversation with her starts sotto voce, her Australian lilt making you think of vast landscapes and limitless horizons. And this would also sum up exactly her vision of Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, a weekend of talks, activities and workshops dedicated to children, to children’s imagination...
In the midst of life, we are

In the midst of life, we are

Think of the word Iran. Think of a place, a landscape, a face, a history, a culture and perhaps a taste. What comes first into the contemporary mind is perhaps the tragic story of a mother torn away from her husband and daughter; subjected to imprisonment and negotiations, as though she were a criminal or...
Landing a whopper

Landing a whopper

I knew a young man once, he was a most conscientious fellow, and, when he took to fly-fishing, he determined never to exaggerate his hauls by more than twenty-five per cent. ‘When I have caught forty fish,’ said he, ‘then I will tell people that I have caught fifty, and so on. But I will...
Kitchen

Kitchen

What would you do if I died right now, here, you asked. Your hand still resting on my thigh. Your eyes focused on the ceiling – on the splash of curry sauce to the left of the light which doesn’t work. We could have been in a field. A wooden spoon dug into my back....
Polar bears in Auschwitz

Polar bears in Auschwitz

“When I was in second grade, I found a piece of paper on my desk with the words, ‘You are a Jew’. I went home and asked: ‘Mum, what is a Jew?’ She explained that people have different religions, Christians, Protestants and Jews in Czechoslovakia. I said: ‘And we are Jews?’ The answer was a...
Restless days and nights

Restless days and nights

Here we are in the big, barren guest room. Swarms of flies and bluebottles echo inside it, birds with long beaks like horns, the noise of their songs overlapping. Mum delicately stretching her ash-blonde hair on the bed. Her nightdress is a robe. Are we still going sailing? The build-up of rough stones in a...
A complex complicity

A complex complicity

“I’ve forgotten such a lot. Most of it, really. Certain things stick of course, although I’ve no idea why. I don’t understand how it works. I read something and then I go across the room to check what’s for dinner and completely forget what I’ve just read. I think, wait a minute, I’ve only just...
From The Country Between Us

From The Country Between Us

Carolyn Forché’s The Country Between Us bears witness to what she saw in El Salvador in the late 1970s, when she travelled around a country erupting into civil war. Documenting killings and other brutal human rights abuses while working alongside Archbishop Oscar Romero’s church group, she found in her poetry the only possible way to...