"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Posts tagged "fear"
Big brothers

Big brothers

Since my teenage years, I have been fascinated by the works of Orwell, while casting a critical and selective eye over them. I have always considered that his great masterpiece is Animal Farm; I was always less engaged by 1984. The idea behind 1984 was undeniably powerful; but, as so often with novels that expound...
The existentialist and the minestrone

The existentialist and the minestrone

Kit’s mobile rings at exactly 2.00 pm. ‘Why is everyone booking a time to ring?’ ‘It gives a structure to the day,’ says Sarah. ‘The day mightn’t want structure.’ A robin crashes against the bay window in Kit’s first-floor living room. ‘Ouch,’ she says. ‘What?’ ‘It’s the robin who flies into my window. I try to...
Every animal has its own madness

Every animal has its own madness

Plague diary, 25 March 2020. Sometimes, in the terrible world, people open their front doors just slightly and spit as foreigners pass. Foreign, I’m told, in one of the Slavic languages, means mute. Whoever does not speak my language, is mute. Whoever does not have my history, is mute. “Virus detected in the sewers in...
A neighbourly word

A neighbourly word

All around them, all this time, things were changing and continued to change. As Mrs Glass said, the place wasn’t the same. If she hadn’t lived right through the changes, she told her friend Mrs Fletcher, she wouldn’t have recognized it, she would have walked up the street and right past her house and not...
Beyond the abyss

Beyond the abyss

I was only a few months through an MA in Creative Writing and I already wanted to quit. My partner was driving me to the train station at the time. I had the money in my hand ready to pay for the expensive journey that would get me all the way from South Wales to...
Claire Messud: Craft and fusion

Claire Messud: Craft and fusion

I meet Claire Messud at the London Review Bookshop one sodden evening in September when she is London to promote her latest novel, The Burning Girl. Her normal speaking voice is gentle anyway, but tonight she is speaking particularly softly so as not to disturb book browsers in the shop’s basement. I’m conscious we don’t...
Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin is an acclaimed Argentinian short-story writer whose compact debut novel Fever Dream is shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. A disorientating and utterly gripping psychological thriller and an unsettling exploration of family ties, panic and dread, it is told in spare dialogue between a woman called Amanda who lies dying in...