“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Out

Out

Three flashes of lightning illuminate the night, and I catch a glimpse of dirty terraces and dividing walls. The rain hasn’t started yet. The sliding glass door of the balcony across from us opens, and a woman in pajamas comes outside to bring in the clothes from the line. I...
Robbie Arnott: Untamed nature

Robbie Arnott: Untamed nature

In the heat of a Tasmanian summer, with the world at war and his brothers away on secretive missions in the Pacific, 15-year-old Ned West traps, shoots and skins rabbits to sell their pelts in the hope of saving to buy a small boat. As his father and older sister...
Pascal Engman: Contact at any price

Pascal Engman: Contact at any price

According to Wikipedia, an incel, or involuntary celibate, is “a member of an online subculture of people who define themselves as unable to get a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one.” United by a lethal form of misogyny, male adherents are becoming increasingly emboldened. Deadly attacks from Toronto to...
Looking back and moving on

Looking back and moving on

LEONE ROSS’S MESMERISING third novel This One Sky Day recounts events over the course of a single “strange day, full of surprises and moments with sharp teeth” across an imaginary Caribbean archipelago called Popisho. It’s a place peopled by seers and healers, rebels and dancing ghosts; a beautiful, twisted world...
Rijula Das: The constant smallness of being

Rijula Das: The constant smallness of being

Set in Calcutta’s notorious red-light district Sonagachi, Rijula Das’s debut Small Deaths resists lazy stereotypes. Years of research have provided Das with an intimate understanding of the power dynamics at play between the madams, pimps and police, and how their often-cruel manoeuvrings have devastating consequences for the endless stream of...
Latest entries
Festival fever

Festival fever

Shaun Bythell, who has been running The Bookshop in Wigtown for over twenty years, dips back into his diaries for more hilarious day-to-day encounters with the dedicated antiquarians, casual visitors and frequent browsers who come by to interrupt the anticipated contemplative idyll of his working life with requests that range from the curious and insightful...
Endless adventures

Endless adventures

LIFELONG BOOK LOVER and former travel and lifestyle editor Simon Savidge is a regular contributor to several literary and lifestyle magazines and newspapers, as well as presenting on Sky Arts Book Club with Andi Oliver and Elizabeth Day, and on his own YouTube channel. He explains how each room in his house is dedicated to a...
The closeted and the curious

The closeted and the curious

Having previously published The Last Ballad (2018) and When Ghosts Come Home (February 2022), Faber has now released Wiley Cash’s early novels A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy for the first time in the UK. A Land More Kind Than Home is a Southern Gothic thriller about the charismatic...
Down on Disneyland

Down on Disneyland

DOMED BLUE CEILING, a phantom ocean. The Little Mermaid hangs from a wire, waving her hands in greeting, her tail swishing sinuously in her wake. Her stomach bulges from the harness beneath her bodysuit. Down on the ground, visitors brandish cameras, contorting themselves to keep her in their sights. A puff of smoke and Triton,...
Communicating evolutions

Communicating evolutions

Audrey Schulman’s The Dolphin House is an engrossing fictionalised account of a singular episode in modern science. In the mid-1960s, a NASA-funded project led by neuroscientist Dr John Lilly saw naturalist Margaret Howe live in confinement with a dolphin named Peter in a flooded house on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, to investigate...
Into the lagoon

Into the lagoon

As soon as her head was under the surface, the dolphins’ noises filled her. Sound, bright as light, hard as touch. Ping-pong balls bouncing down metal stairs. Dolphins are constant vocal innovators, playful geniuses with unspeakable power, the Maria Callases of the sea, their sounds unworldly and pure. A gospel group on helium, hitting the...
The best time

The best time

Catriona Ward’s Sundial pushes the boundaries of psychological horror in pleasing ways. The prose is intelligent, highly observed and exquisitely toxic. Nothing is taboo. Children are slapped, dogs shot, the illusion of the perfect family shattered, and sisterly bonds broken. The writing is austere but substantial, the characters extreme but believable, and the settings beautiful...
Female pirates and punk icons

Female pirates and punk icons

In 1981, six months before the ill-fated wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, Vivienne Westwood staged her first fashion show in collaboration with her partner Malcolm McLaren. The name of the collection: Pirates. With bravado and swagger at the core of the collection, the show was a huge success, both critically and financially....
White desire

White desire

Weary and defeated, I collapse onto the damp floor of my cell and think about those people who swarmed the seas like repellent jellyfish and heaved themselves up onto foreign shores. They were interviewed in half-hidden, half-open offices on the outskirts of the city. It was my job, and that of many others, to interpret...
Ten books about revenge (sort of)

Ten books about revenge (sort of)

I’m going to play a little fast and loose with the concept of revenge here – in some cases there’ll be a subtle massaging, in others I’m just going to riff. If anyone is unhappy about this, might I suggest they consider a course of action via which they hurt or harm me in return...
Soon you will wake

Soon you will wake

It started ages ago, a thousand centuries ago, but let’s skip all those yesterdays and begin last Tuesday. It is a day you wake up hungover and empty of thought, which is true of most days. You wake up in an endless waiting room. You look around and it’s a dream and, for once, you...
from It Must Be a Misunderstanding

from It Must Be a Misunderstanding

Mexican poet, teacher and translator Coral Bracho was born in Mexico City in 1951. She has published several books, two in English thanks to poet-translator Forrest Gander, who has put this composite volume together, the first extensive compilation of Bracho’s work to be published in the UK. A wide selection from Bracho’s earlier collections is...