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Cold Storage

Oliver Sacks

‘Uncle Toby was alive, but suspended, apparently, in some strange icy stupor.’

The Cage of You

Kerry Howley

‘They treated their bodies like some exotic animal they’d found fast asleep, beings they needed to wake to truly know.’

Look-Alikes

Nadine Gordimer

‘From under the bushes and behind the grandstands they had gone, or someone had found a way to get rid of them overnight; somewhere else.’

Cary Grant’s Suit

Todd McEwen

‘North by Northwest isn't a film about what happens to Cary Grant, it's about what happens to his suit.’

LA Women

Douglas Brooker

‘I was bored. That was how it started. Anything I ever did that amounted to anything–or not–has always been the result of being sick of doing something else.’

The General

Isabel Hilton

‘The kitchen telephone would ring and it would be Gustavo Stroessner, the General's son, bellowing in that strange accent down a fuzzy line from Brazil, like an unruly fictional character nagging for a larger part in the plot.’

Kashmir’s Forever War

Basharat Peer

‘Yes, the gun was from Pakistan, but the stones are our own. That is our only weapon against the occupation.’

Frank’s Place

Richard Williams

‘Marilyn Monroe spent a couple of nights at the Cal-Neva. Sinatra knew she was in a bad way.’

The Magic Box

Olivia Laing

An essay on David Wojnarowicz's work, life and archives.

Do Fish Feel Pain?

James Hamilton-Paterson

‘Our mistake in this debate is to think that these issues can be resolved by science and ethics and the passing of nice clear laws’.

A Guide to the City of Beirut

Fawwaz Traboulsi

‘In Beirut, a well reveals layer upon layer, generation after generation, of ruins.’

Patna Roughcuts

Amitava Kumar

Amitava Kumar returns to his hometown of Patna

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

A Brief Guide to Gender in India

Minal Hajratwala

‘Please be creative. This is only the beginning.’

Coming Down

Ved Mehta

‘I was besieged by family memories.’

Meat Country

J.M. Coetzee

‘What the imagination cannot encompass is death. Death, it says to itself, is the end of pain. Death is a relief.’

Delinquent in Derry

Nik Cohn

‘Across the river, in a Catholic enclave in the Waterside district, there was a disused funeral home in which, three nights a week, at 6d a shot, contraband teen movies could be sat through and sometimes seen, according to the state of the projector.’

Seven Days in Syria

Janine di Giovanni

‘I had come to Syria because I wanted to see a country before it tumbled down the rabbit hole of war’

Night

Alice Munro

‘I read books as usual, nobody knew there was a thing the matter with me.’

The Road to Abyei

John Ryle

‘Bor is a long way from Khartoum – more than 700 miles. There were other hostile groups on the way and precious little food.’

Arithmetic on the Frontier

Declan Walsh

‘These days the tempest of Taliban violence ripping across the frontier has shaken Peshawar to its core.’

Antediluvian

John Biguenet

‘To the inexperienced, hurricane stories always sound like exaggerations.’

The Press Officer

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

‘The threat of Fujimori was well hidden. There was nothing we could do: the die was cast.’

West

Caryl Phillips

‘Curling herself into a tight fist against the cold, Martha huddled in the doorway and wondered if tonight she might see snow.‘

Life and Breasts

Ludmila Ulitskaya

‘My reminder of mortality came in early 2010, and I found the narrative that followed raw but completely engrossing. For the present, but only for the present, it is behind me.’

How to Read the Comics

Ariel Dorfman

‘Unlike the other comic strips in the magazine, ‘The Adventures of Mampato’ was conceived, illustrated, and entirely produced in Chile.’

Love Jihad

Aman Sethi

‘He said Love Jihad, or the practice of Muslims seducing Hindu girls with the aim of converting them to Islam, was an existential threat to India.’

Essex

Norman Lewis

‘Essex is the ugliest county. I only went there to be able to work in peace and quiet and get away from the settlers from London south of the river.’

(nostalgia)

Juliet Jacques

‘I ended up piecing my life together through other people.’

People Don’t Get Depressed in Nigeria

Ike Anya

‘I open the newspaper and the word ‘Nigeria’ catches my eye.’

The Writing of ‘Or Shall We Die?’

Ian McEwan

‘There was too the challenge, as I saw it, of writing a singable English, simple and clear, that could express public themes without pomposity and private feelings without bathos.’

First Sentence: Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’