Fiction | Blood Brothers by Jessica Andrews

When we were splattered with freckles and tied up in pigtails, we picked sharp rocks from the garden and pushed them into each other’s wrists, our flesh tender and white like peeled crabs. I remember the way our wounds looked, mushy and filled with pieces of grit. ‘Now we are blood brothers,’ I said. She looked at me from behind her nose. ‘Blood sisters,’ she pouted. We got changed on the back seat of the car every Wednesday night as my mam drove us from school […]

Interview | Radu Oreian: ‘Microscripts and Melted Matters’

As I wandered through the pacific silence of Nosco Gallery, London, I came across the universe of Radu Oreian’s art – and ‘universe’ really is the proper word for it. His works are often massive both in scale and scope. The longer you look, the more you’ll find of the following: sea creatures, bodily fluids, thumb prints, flush plasma, veins and arteries, infinity in pointillism – even nostalgia for your childhood dreams. ‘Microscripts and Melted Matters’ represents a contemporary […]

Interview | Emma Donoghue on writing hunger

Set in Ireland in 1858, seven years after the potato famine, The Wonder tells the story of an English nurse who is hired to spend two weeks observing an eleven-year old girl, who, her parents claim, has not eaten for months. Based on the almost fifty cases of ‘fasting girls’ – of women who claimed to be surviving without food for months on end in Europe and North America between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries – Donoghue’s novel anticipates the invention of anorexia […]

Review | The Sweet Indifference of the World by Peter Stamm

Christoph and Magdalena. Chris and Lena. Peter Stamm’s latest novel, The Sweet Indifference of the World, is a short, sophisticated tale for the post-truth era, in which four identities become irreparably intertwined. Our narrator, the middle-aged Christoph, invites a young woman named Lena to meet him in a Swedish cemetery: ‘I hadn’t left any number or address, only a time and a place and my first name: Please come to Skogskyrkogården tomorrow at two […]

Interview | Teresa Grimes, Director of Tintype on Essex Road 6

Currently illuminating the window of Tintype gallery, on the Essex Road, in the London borough of Islington, is the sixth edition of the Essex Road project, which commissions eight artists each year to create a moving image work in response to the road itself. At the helm of the gallery is Director Teresa Grimes, who has created a dynamic programme featuring UK-based and international contemporary artists, including exhibitions, talks, workshops, performances and walks […]

Essay | Dostoevsky and Poor Folk by Patrick Maxwell

Wilfred Owen captured the national spirit best when he talked of the ‘drawing-down of blinds’, surely the most succinct depiction of English melancholia. The English spirit – distinct from of Britishness, though also a part of it – is one of deep decline under the shadow of former empire. It is the spirit of T. S. Eliot’s line ‘winter’s afternoon | In a secluded chapel’ in ‘Little Gidding’; of the quiet introit sung by an evensong choir, backing away into the cathedrals’ dingy corners […]

Review | Not Working by Josh Cohen

At the start of Not Working, Josh Cohen reflects on the experience of caring for a friend’s rabbit, Rr. Expecting to develop some relationship with Rr., Cohen, a practicing psychoanalyst, finds himself frustrated with the rabbit in the same way that small children are, when confronted with babies or domestic pets who prove indifferent to their affections. Over time, however, he develops a begrudging respect for the fluffy insolent […]

Review | In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

People, generally speaking, do not want to read a memoir on abuse. It’s not that readers do not care for the subject; in fact, caring is what makes it hard. Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House is noteworthy for many reasons, but for this most of all: Machado will keep you reading when you most want to turn away. Three hundred or so pages packed with emotional manipulation and physical terror is, unsurprisingly, a challenge for readers […]

Interview | Jane Draycott on sound poetry, translation and poetic process

‘It’s dark in here and forest green: Britannica, sixteen oak trees in a London living room, / the little girl, my mother, in the bookcase glass. / Italy, Ithaca, Izmail, Japan, each page a mainsail, / turning, HMS Discovery – none of the rivers of southern Italy is of any great importance.’ – Jane Draycott, ‘Italy to Lord’. British poet Jane Draycott is interested in sound poetry and collaboration. Her translation of the Middle English poem Pearl won the Stephen Spender Prize […]

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