At Home

Jane Miller, 4 June 2020

It’s​ april, and beyond our back wall a line of ambulances is queuing up to deliver sick passengers to the hospital. We are self-isolated, safe in our fortress, as we wait on our order...

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In Beijing

Long Ling, 4 June 2020

I replied no to each question and then asked: ‘What if someone hides this information?’ Without looking up she said: ‘Nobody can hide. Everything is under control.’

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Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana, 4 June 2020

In late March, Yonas heard that another rescue boat, the Alan Kurdi, was on its way to Libyan waters. But he didn’t manage to get on board. On 7 April, the boat, crammed with 150 migrants, headed...

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Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice, 4 June 2020

The feeling of being unsafe is more acute in a world where everyone is beginning to feel unsafe. To be seriously ill in ordinary circumstances is to measure one’s distance from health. To be seriously...

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Diary: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps

Iain Sinclair, 21 May 2020

The poet’s London was a literary mausoleum edited from quotations. And then, in growing excitement, a place actually experienced from a number 14 bus, before he struck out in whichever direction...

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Bournemouth: The Bournemouth Set

Andrew O’Hagan, 21 May 2020

‘Remember the pallid brute that lived in Skerryvore like a weevil in a biscuit,’ Stevenson wrote. Yet his three years there, the only period he spent in England, were the best years of his...

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‘The matter of your work is yours entirely and I don’t think you have it in your power to “hurt” me,’ Elizabeth Hardwick told Robert Lowell. ‘I mean that I cannot see...

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Diary: The 1956 Polio Epidemic

Patrick Cockburn, 7 May 2020

The poliovirus was worse for the very young; for the coronavirus it’s the old who are hardest hit. In both cases respiratory aids – the ‘iron lung’ and the ventilator – have...

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Towards the end of the correspondence a self-consciousness creeps in. Responding to ‘Parker’s Back’, one of O’Connor’s last stories, Gordon’s self-deprecation borders...

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Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster, 2 April 2020

I’d always thought people were being metaphorical when they said that Mexico City was sinking, or at least that the evidence of it would be invisible to anyone other than a hydrologist or an engineer....

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Diary: ‘Mummy est morte’

Christopher de Bellaigue, 19 March 2020

‘Christopher?’ my father said. ‘I’ve got bad news.’ He said this in French, the language he used when talking to me. I knew exactly what he would say, he would say Bill Ladd’s...

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The lads come on and on: The Stud File

Kevin Brazil, 20 February 2020

By​ the time Samuel Steward began to write his autobiography in 1978, at the age of 69, he’d had sex more than four thousand times with more than eight hundred men. Each encounter was...

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Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner, 20 February 2020

So I’d been reading Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction, and was telling her about the diagram that shows how taste in interior decoration correlates with social class. ‘Not for me!’...

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Diary: In Monrovia

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 6 February 2020

Corruption and hypocrisy tend to be systemic: if you see them at the top you’re sure to encounter them at the bottom. Liberia has been rebuilt with impressive speed; the road networks are now even...

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Which Face? Emigrés on the Make

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 6 February 2020

Perhaps Soviet dissent was always less remarkable as an actual political movement in the domestic context than for the magnified reflection it gained in international media.

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Imperial Graveyard: Richard Holbrooke

Samuel Moyn, 6 February 2020

He was an exceptional shit of a human being, even aside from the defects born of extreme ambition. None of his cult followers has ever squarely denied it, and his enemies never fail to mention it.

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Much of a Scramble: Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade, 23 January 2020

Ray Strachey​ is remembered, if at all, for The Cause, her history of the women’s movement, published in 1928. But reading that book – which is dedicated to Strachey’s friend...

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What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud, 23 January 2020

Bin Laden’s wives and daughters were excluded from leadership on grounds of their gender, but their brothers were unsuitable for other reasons. Siham’s son, Khalid, doesn’t seem to have...

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