In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

The Inequality Engine

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

Two Prose PoemsJohn Ashbery

A Linnet

It crossed the road so as to avoid having to greet me. ‘Poor thing but mine own,’ I said, ‘without a song the day would never end.’ Warily the thing approached. I pitied its stupidity so much that huge tears began to well up in my eyes, falling to the hard ground with a plop. ‘I don’t need a welcome like that,’ it said. ‘I was ready for you. All the ladybugs and the buzzing flies and the alligators know about you and your tricks. Poor, cheap thing. Go away, and take your song with you.’

Night had fallen without my realising it. Several hours must have passed while I stood there, mulling the grass and possible replies to the hapless creature. A mason still stood at the top of a ladder repairing the tiles in a roof, by the light of the moon. But there was no moon. Yet I could see his armpits, hair gushing from them, and the tricks of the trade with which he was so bent on fixing that wall.

The Bobinski Brothers

‘Her name is Liz, and I need her in my biz,’ I hummed wantonly. A band of clouds all slanted in the same direction drifted across the hairline horizon like a tribe of adults and children, all hastening toward some unknown destination. A crisp pounding. Done to your mother what? Are now the ... And so you understand it, she ... I. Once you get past the moralising a new winter twilight creeps into place. And a lot of guys just kind of live through it? Ossified soup, mortised sloop. Woody has the staff to do nothing. You never know what. That’s what I think. Like two notes of music we slid apart, far from one another’s protective jealousy. The old cat, sunning herself, had no problem with that. Nor did the diaphanous trains of fairies that sagged down from a sky that suggested they had never been anywhere, least of all there. At the time we had a good laugh over it. But it did hurt. It still does. That’s what I think, he slapped.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences