Essay | Come Back West, Magic Realism, We Need You Too

In 2016, Roisin O’Donnell published an article in The Irish Times which addressed the curious fact that so few Irish writers wrote in the magic realist mode. Putting in a plea for magic realism, she argued that “Ireland, with its healthy litany of bread-crusts-make-your-hair-go-curly superstitions, along with its hand-me-down myths […]

Review | Grace Under Pressure: David Foster Wallace on Tennis

Many writers have played tennis: Nabokov, Frost, Pound, Hemingway, Theodore Roethke, Randall Jarrell, even Solzhenitsyn in Vermont and Martin Amis today. Like poetry, tennis has strict rules and requires technical skill. It is individual yet social, aesthetically pleasing, intellectual, at times erotic. Despite its formal rituals […]

Interview | Robert Lundquist: Never say sorry or common words again

My Father was a boxer. He taught me how to box when I was nine. This commonality, and the need to impress him, informed a great deal. When Charles Bukowski at an event asked me to ‘take it outside’ over a girl, I said okay. I was 21 and shy. Everyone at the party kept telling him […]

Review | Patience by Toby Litt

In every first-person narrative readers are ultimately trapped in the mind of the protagonist, doomed only to know what they know. In Patience, author Toby Litt takes this concept further by sharing the story of Elliott, who is himself trapped in his mind, as his disability inhibits most of his physical movement […]

Interview | Varun Grover: Of Paper Thieves and Nuclear Ducks

One of Varun Grover’s cats is called Chhenapoda, which translates to “Roasted Cheese” in English and is a beloved dessert from Odisha in eastern India. The writer and comic, who likes to name his favourite felines after confectionary, is perhaps best known instead for his biting satire […]

Fiction | We Can Be Friends by Lauren Sarazen

There was a cluster of coats and hats careening over the railing, and when I got closer I could see what they were looking at. The basin, which had been full of water the last time I’d passed, was drained to the dregs and men in coveralls and tall rubber boots were crawling around in the sludge […]

Essay | W.H. Auden: The Man Who Spoke for the Dumb by Patrick Maxwell

One of the hallmarks of a great artist is their often lugubrious disdain for their own work. The reclusive French composer Paul Dukas was self-critical to the degree that he only allowed fifteen of his works to be published. Needless to say, they have become much loved […]

Interview | Gryphon Rue on Calder Stories

Calder Stories at the Centro Botín, Spain, is a major exhibition spanning five decades of Alexander Calder’s career, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and organised in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, New York. The exhibition, which considers little-known works within Calder’s oeuvre, includes a custom-finished series of ‘object ballets’ on screen and headphone. These can […]

Essay | On the Benefits of Dancing Naked in Public

In the pub, Jemima raises both her arms above her, then swings one back, turning her head to follow the arc it makes in the air. “Something like that,” she says, sitting back down and taking a chip from the plate between us.
We are attempting a reconstruction. What we are attempting to reconstruct is a theatre show called Trilogy, made by an artist called […]

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