"To write anything worth reading you have to put everything you have into every sentence. There can be no lazy thinking, no clichés, no borrowed tropes, no third-hand experience; there can be no hiding.” Miranda Darling
Posts tagged "extract"
Meeting Monsieur

Meeting Monsieur

Drawing on Victor Hugo’s cryptic diary entries and letters from his wife, Catherine Axelrad’s Célina builds a snapshot of a teenage chambermaid in the Hugo household during the author’s exile in Guernsey, who was apparently prey to the great man’s gargantuan sexual appetites. With a mix of mischief, naivety, pragmatism and curiosity, Célina’s account of...
A lady falls

A lady falls

She let out a sigh as she fell, an exhalation so sweet and soft that not a soul heard it, not even the cop who’d passed by the building not two seconds before; it was the smashing of china and the subsequent thud of her body landing hard against the stone steps three storeys down...
A sitting duck

A sitting duck

The plan… It had first taken shape in Renfield’s mind one morning over a month before when the 29-year-old reporter, on the staff of the Evening View, had been having a casual 10a.m. cup of tea in the canteen at Glasgow police headquarters. The big room, reserved for sergeants and constables, with pressmen having an...
A time for reading

A time for reading

It is the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday in March. She has just woken up from a nap. The snow is no longer falling but its brightness is still being projected onto the ceiling of their apartment. It is rather lovely. The cat is watching her from a pouffe opposite the sofa with...
O is for Oblomov

O is for Oblomov

Oblomov is the infamous anti-hero of the Russian writer Ivan Goncharov’s eponymous novel, published in 1859. He is best known for being an incorrigible slacker. We first encounter him wrapped in his threadbare Oriental dressing gown, refusing to get out of bed. His eyes glide wearily across the dusty objects in his derelict bedchamber. Around...
At the museum

At the museum

The glass door slid open without a hitch. That was only natural, the woman realized. They were automatic doors. She glanced around the main entrance. The building was immaculate, and looked to have been designed with considerable attention to architectural aesthetics. It reminded her of a hospital. Whiteness and curves. She wondered whether people associated...
A fresh start

A fresh start

Dinah Glover arrived in Tokyo to take up residence in a block ambitiously named Maison du Parc. The building was surrounded by concrete and clad in more concrete, pink and stuccoed. It was long and squat, like the egg casing of a huge insect. Dinah had come on a work visa sponsored by Saitama Denki...
The sparks of an obsession

The sparks of an obsession

I WAS EIGHT WHEN I REALISED that stories were not simply magic; that they didn’t arrive into the world already formed. Like puppies or babies or films. Two months before that birthday, the very first non-Congress government had swept to power in India, and with it, the end of the Emergency which had suspended civil...
Here or there

Here or there

Dan proposed to me the evening of his mother’s funeral. After saying goodbye to the last of our friends at the end of the wake, he grabbed a half-consumed bottle of wine and led me to the back of his parents’ yard, down by the compost bin and dying vegetable garden, where we squatted beside...
Fairies and angels, the old nest, purple emperors

Fairies and angels, the old nest, purple emperors

1 JULY:  I was joking to a friend the other day that after a year watching kingfishers I’d be well equipped to start looking for fairies, or even angels. I felt there were similarities in that they might be all around us but most people have never seen one. I reckoned that the waiting, seeing...
Catastrophe on the shore

Catastrophe on the shore

The boat had seemed large at the dock, but now that they’re rumbling away from Big Island, it seems flimsy and ludicrously small. Luda tries to think of the last time she’d been on a boat before coming to the islands. Years ago. Someone’s thirtieth birthday on the thick, marshy water of the Hopeturn River...
A menacing charmer

A menacing charmer

They had come out on to the parade now, and he led Meg into a glass-sided shelter facing out across a sea so smeared and spangled by lights that it seemed as much a man-made structure as the parade itself. “Now tell me what it’s all about,” commanded Freddy; and without forethought or caution, Meg...