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Review | In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

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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

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'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 [...]

Review | Jake Wood-Evans: Relic at Discovery Centre, Winchester

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Relic is a new body of work by British artist Jake Wood-Evans, presented by the Hampshire Cultural Trust, in collaboration with Unit London, at the Discovery Centre, Winchester. Comprising 17 of his works in total, the show draws upon themes of mortality, the formation of memory, and religious experience. Wood-Evans cites a variety of influences from the European canon of art, including J.M.W Turner, Peter Paul Reubens, and Titian [...]

Review | Old Food by Ed Atkins & Dark Satellites by Clemens Meyer

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Want to feel young? Fitzcarraldo Editions – whose small roster of authors includes two of the last five Nobel laureates for literature – is less than five years old. Its first book, Matthias Enard’s Zone, was published in August of 2015, which makes the independent publishing house exactly three months younger than Mad Max: Fury Road [...]

Review | Machines Like Me and The Cockroach by Ian McEwan

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For fans of Ian McEwan’s writing, 2019 presented two rough-cut diamonds: Machines Like Me and The Cockroach. Not without their flaws, as some critics noted, they are nonetheless highly enjoyable and sure to leave even the ultra-demanding and fastidious reader hankering for more. The novels differ in more ways than one. Firstly, there’s size: Machines Like Me clocks in at a reasonable 306 pages, while The Cockroach, a much slimmer work [...]

Fiction | Exposition by Nathalie Léger tr. Amanda DeMarco

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She enters. She is roused by anger and reproach. She bursts onto the right of the image as if it were a backdrop masked with curtains. One hand clutches a knife against her waist, which gleams obliquely across her belly. Her face is cold, her mouth thin, lips tight, eyebrows knit, her gaze is clear and hard, her hair is slicked into two little severely parted plaits. The knife, whose handle disappears into her balled fist, vibrates at the very center, nearly absent from it [...]

Review | The Dressing-Up Box and Other Stories by David Constantine

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David Constantine’s fifth collection of short stories, The Dressing-Up Box and Other Stories, is ostensibly about loss, conflict and loneliness. His characters are driven to the edge as they struggle to engage with the world and must deal with their suffering. Yet, throughout the collection, the author clings to the promise of hope during turbulent times [...]

Review | Fairview at the Young Vic

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Fairview is an innocuous title for a play. It has the ring of a sleepy American backwater, a kind of every-town. The curtain comes up and we are faced with the ground floor of a suburban house. The walls are orchid pink, the dining chairs gleaming white and, in the centre of the stage, Beverly (Nicola Hughes) is peeling carrots. She lip-synchs and dances along to the song playing on the radio, then adjusts her makeup in front of an imaginary mirror hanging on the fourth wall [...]

News | Poetry Prize 2019: Sharon Black wins award for second time

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The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2019 awarded first place to British poet Sharon Black for a second year running, after her latest poem ‘Avocado’ impressed our panel of judges during this year’s competition. Lucy Binnersley, assistant editor of The London Magazine, praised ‘Avocado’ highly, commenting on the poem’s “startling and tender, invocatory power,” as a reminder of the “profound ability...

Review | The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada

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Picture a large office, staffed with hundreds of employees. Each worker has their own cubicle, placed in long rows throughout the space to make a corporate honeycomb; their heads are quietly buried in their work. They’re next to each other, but not touching or talking. Their corporate workspaces embody the paradox of the cubicle: a part of something, but also completely isolated [...]

Fiction | “Smack” from Salt Slow by Julia Armfield

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The following text is an extract from the story “Smack”, taken from Julia Armfield’s debut collection Salt Slow, published by Picador: 'The jellyfish come with the morning – a great beaching, bodies black on sand. The ocean empties, a thousand dead and dying invertebrates, jungled tentacles and fine, fragile membranes blanketing the shore two miles in each direction. They are translucent, almost spectral, as though the sea has exorcised its ghosts [...]'

Review | Bridget Riley: The Eye’s Mind

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Bridget Riley didn’t invent Op Art. The phrase first appeared in Time Magazine in 1964 in response to Julian Stanczak’s exhibition Optical Paintings. Defined as a form that uses visual trickery to challenge perception, it was a natural successor to Futurism, Constructivism, Vorticism and even Dadaism, liberated by Impressionism. But Riley made it what it is now [...]

Fiction | Sell Your Past and Buy Yourself a Future! by Maurizio Ascari

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This story is an extract from My Europe, edited by Anna Johnson and Anna Vaught, Manningtree, Patrician Press, 2018, pp. 13-22. Maurizio Ascari Sell Your Past and Buy Yourself a Future! I had been thinking of selling my house for a while. Since I retired I had cherished the idea of relocating and starting a new life. Far from the northern city...

Essay | On Angela Carter by Sharlene Teo

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I was thirteen when I first encountered The Bloody Chamber, back in the humid and claustrophobic childhood bedroom that I shared with my older sister in Bukit Timah, Singapore. I remember idly scanning my sister’s bookshelf; plywood, festooned with glow-in-the-dark plastic stars. I spotted a bent orange spine on the second shelf [...]

Review | Big Love by Balla & The Night Circus and Other Stories by Uršul’a Kovalyk

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Though Balla, one of Slovakia’s most prominent contemporary novelists, has been compared to Kafka, he might more reasonably be called a nihilistic Etgar Keret (Israeli author of The Nimrod Flipout and multiple other collections of surreal short stories), given the thoroughly ironic [...]

Essay | Becket back in the cathedral

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Great drama has a way of always being relevant whenever it is performed, even if, like T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, it isn’t performed very often. The play is, of course, about the assassination of Thomas Becket, but with undertones of the shadow of Fascism over Europe. Next year sees the 850th anniversary of the event [...]

Review | Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš

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On the face of it, Flesh-Coloured Dominoes is a book of two novels spliced together: its chapters alternate between two wildly different narratives. One is a bildungsroman of sorts that sees the Second World War through the eyes of an unnamed first-person narrator, a young orphan growing up in Riga; the other is set in the 18th century in Vidzeme – part of modern-day Latvia – and aptly centres on a very literal, very macabre case of conjoining two odd halves to make a whole [...]

Fiction | Mr. Cahill by William Roberts

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  The little party wandered slowly along the rows of the hillside garden, pausing in the warm afternoon Northern California sun to examine one vegetable vine or plant after another, chatting amiably together in low voices about fertilizers and slug repellents and the various ways to control aphids and blackfly and other common predators. Five people – two men, a...

Review | What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson

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The joy of an episodic form is it can be appreciated multiple ways. You do not need to agree with every constituent part to enjoy the whole, and you do not need to enjoy the whole to find a constituent part you enjoy. In Marylinne Robinson’s new collection of essays What Are We Doing Here? there is enough strong...

Review | Known Unknowns at The Saatchi Gallery

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In the current exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery, Known Unknowns, you are not meant to know of the artists. If you do, you’re missing something of the point. Part of the joy as you walk through the works of these 17 contemporary artists is the discovery. These are the curated hidden gems. These are the recommendations from those in...

Review | Black Book by Gideon Rubin at The Freud Museum

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The Freud Museum, in Freud’s old house, is a five-minute walk from Finchley Road tube station, away from the main road on a residential street. Other than the small sign and the two blue plaques which bear the names Sigmund and Anna Freud, the house blends into those on either side. Freud’s house, in which he probed the human...

Review | ‘My Generation’ – The 1960s Through the Eyes of Michael Caine

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My Generation Presented by Michael Caine On cinematic release from 14th March 2018 As the sun rises with a vivid pop art palette over the River Thames, over the East End, over the then still fully operational docks of the Port of London, the full complement of raised dockside cranes heralds the dawn of the 1960s as the bright pink, gold, sapphire...

Essay | Re-reading Frankenstein by Alice Dunn

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It is tempting to read Frankenstein as a means of understanding Mary Shelley. 200 years after the novel was first published, Alice Dunn asks, is that a bad thing? Things most of us know about the novel Frankenstein: that its author Mary Shelley first thought of the idea for it during a ghost story competition among friends (Lord Byron,...

Review | A Walk Through Essex Road IV at Tintype

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  When walking the streets of London, its minor and major roads, its arteries and veins, begin to enmesh themselves with the walker’s brain. Over time they become an abstract map of the tendrils of frontal and parietal lobes, projected out over the landscape. Walking down main arterial roads, like Upper Street in Islington, is like traversing the well-trodden parts...

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