"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
Rachel Heng: Forever people

Rachel Heng: Forever people

Rachel Heng’s remarkable debut novel Suicide Club imagines a disturbing not-so-distant New York in which death is put on hold for those with wealth and power and the determination to cling on, while the majority are left gawping at the gates of immortality. Lea is a 100-year-old ‘lifer’ with a...
Reading art

Reading art

David Trigg’s Reading Art: Art for Book Lovers is an enchanting compendium of artworks that celebrate books and reading through 2,000 years of art history. Featuring almost 300 artworks from museums and collections around the world, it is an inspiring homage to the written word. A stunning survey of painting...
Tara Isabella Burton: My sister's keeper

Tara Isabella Burton: My sister’s keeper

I have this friend on Facebook. Man, she just about glows in the dark. For the past five years, she’s been adding sparkle to my feed with posts about her opulent lifestyle. From the stream of articles she posts on her timeline (in Salon, National Geographic Traveler and Vox, to...
The masterful Margarita

The masterful Margarita

From the moment I began reading them, I loved everything about the two novellas and story collection that comprise Margarita García Robayo’s Fish Soup. I found the author’s voice incredibly compelling and felt an instant connection. I could relate to the detachment, the darkness juxtaposed with understated humour, the sense...
Tishani Doshi: Saying it out loud

Tishani Doshi: Saying it out loud

Tishani Doshi’s Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods is an unflinching, tender, witty and wise collection of poems about danger, memory, beauty, time and tide, and transient but treasured joy. I catch up with her at the start of a marathon book tour that takes her from London and...
Around the world in 80 trees

Around the world in 80 trees

Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – as well as raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup. In Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori uses...
Other worlds

Other worlds

I love a good dystopia as much as the next reader. Throw me into a destroyed civilisation with a handful of plucky survivors struggling to stay alive, and I’m right in there with the can opener and home-made water filters. But sometimes I struggle to understand how that world came...
Teeth

Teeth

From vampires and tooth fairies to barber-surgeons and professional dentists, Wellcome Collection’s summer exhibition traces the evolution of our relationship with our teeth and what they say about us. Featuring over 150 objects from cartoons and caricatures to protective amulets, toothpaste advertisements and a range of chairs, drills and training...
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Piercing prisms and Persian perspectives

Piercing prisms and Persian perspectives

“The truth of memory is strange, isn’t it? Our memories select, eliminate, exaggerate, minimize, glorify, denigrate. They create their own versions of events and serve up their own reality. Disparate but cohesive. Imperfect yet sincere.” Thus begins a compulsive, fiercely resisted, yet inevitable journey into memory in this in many ways extraordinary novel – the...
Girls are coming out of the woods

Girls are coming out of the woods

Girls are coming out of the woods, wrapped in cloaks and hoods, carrying iron bars and candles and a multitude of scars, collected on acres of premature grass and city buses, in temples and bars. Girls are coming out of the woods with panties tied around their lips, making such a noise, it’s impossible to...
The truth about love

The truth about love

The Carmelite School for Girls, like every other school in Syria, was plastered with posters of Hero-President Hafez al-Assad, whose mustachioed face was used to ornament school notebooks, various textbooks, and the almost worthless lira coins. In the beginning, and to Patricia’s silent horror, Dunya became a child victim of brainwashing by the state, swallowing...
Lewis and Ernest and Hadley

Lewis and Ernest and Hadley

Lewis scooped a handful of mail from the pile on his desk and riffled through it, his eyes scanning the senders’ names on the envelopes. He recognized some as American bankers, undoubtedly asking him to impress on the French that their war loans must be repaid. And some as French officials, reminding him that the...
A family feud

A family feud

It was Monday, July the tenth in the year 1499. A restless moment in a restless world. Rodrigo Borgia reigned as Pope Alexander the Sixth, a pontiff as fond of corruption and debauchery as he was of pomp and ritual. In Florence a brief republic was struggling to emerge from the ruins left by the...
Intimate tales

Intimate tales

The 2018 Litro Summer Literary & Arts weekender showcases stories from South Korea and India, from the pride of New India to the hidden voices of Korean women who are quiet but strong. Over the second May bank holiday weekend, we champion a sea change in female-led narrative, as voices and confidence bloom. These are...
Passing the acid test

Passing the acid test

I discovered Tom Wolfe’s work in Mummy’s living room. Though I couldn’t understand a word of that electric kool-aid business, I am now reliving it: the allure of a bright blue paperback, holding it in my hands. The sugar cube on the cover looked like something recently soaked in Grand Marnier by my mother, the...
Tremors

Tremors

Around 7:30 am When she returns from a long run she finds her neighbours standing almost naked in the compound. Men in morose Y-front underwear, women crouched behind parked cars or hidden inside rings formed by other women who are not bare. Through the gaps in the cordons she sees flashes of naked thighs, waists,...
The solid case for ambiguity

The solid case for ambiguity

At a moment of writers’ block, “the United Kingdom came to my rescue,” declares Javier Cercas in The Blind Spot: An Essay on the Novel, that is based on his Weidenfeld Lectures at Oxford in May 2015. The United Kingdom is in fact The Telegraph, or to be precise, an article by Umberto Eco, quoting...
Against poets

Against poets

At twenty years old they already have some important experiences behind them: they’ve published poems in journals and anthologies, taken part in workshops, written articles for school yearbooks, and maybe they have granted one or two premature interviews. They already have their first books ready, and they’re about to come out from emerging publishing houses....