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August Kleinzahler: Selling Up, 11 February 2010

... Children are nowhere to be seen these days. Nor are their parents, who go to and from their homes in sleek SUVs with clouded windows. The only people you see on the streets are domestics, pushing prams or walking dogs, and gardeners, Mexican and Central American. It’s a much wealthier neighbourhood than it was, and the wealth is on display. A young ...


Emily Witt: Burning Man, 17 July 2014

... it had something to do with the inadequacy of the old ways that governed our lives in our real homes, where we felt lonely, isolated and unable to form the connections we ...

Astonish Mould and Mildew

Andrew O’Hagan: Bless this House with Less, 10 October 2019

Hinch Yourself Happy: All the Best Cleaning Tips to Shine Your Sink and Soothe Your Soul 
by Mrs Hinch.
Michael Joseph, 288 pp., £12.99, April 2019, 978 0 241 39975 0
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... the general rise of British clutter.* Mass Observation had been asking people to describe their homes. ‘Carol Daniel,’ Sandbrook writes, was a 29-year-old Tesco shelf-stacker, living at an end of terrace house in Havering, Essex, with her husband and children. Their living room has an armchair, an orange three-section sofa, a birdcage, a fish tank and a ...

Yum-Yum Pickles

Alex Clark: Claire Messud, 6 June 2002

The Hunters: Two Short Novels 
by Claire Messud.
Picador, 181 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 0 330 48814 7
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... whose employers ‘required her silence about her previous life’. She cleans other people’s homes and sheathes her own furniture in plastic, to keep off the dirt and dust. Her unswerving rhythms and routines are an attempt to protect her from the drift of life. But Messud sets the slow passage of the decades against the immediacy of the moment, subtly ...

What will she say?

Misha Renou: Myanmar’s Election, 5 November 2015

... by both houses and the military (a quarter of the seats in the Hluttaw are reserved for the army, a provision of the 2008 constitution intended to help it retain its grip on power). Aung San Suu Kyi herself can’t become president: anyone with a foreign spouse or children is barred (her two sons are British citizens, as was her late husband). The ...

The Undertaking

Thomas Lynch, 22 December 1994

... are neither here nor there. They go off upright or horizontally, in Chevrolets and nursing homes, in bathtubs, on the interstates, in ERs, ORs, BMWs. And while it may be that we assign more equipment or more importance to deaths that create themselves in places marked by initials – ICU being somehow better than Greenbriar Convalescent Home – it is ...


M.J. Hyland: A memoir, 6 May 2004

... Brisbane, and he’d run out of money. It was 3 a.m. A few months earlier he’d handed in his ATM card in an attempt to control his addiction. He’d arranged with the bank that he could only withdraw cash over the counter, during business hours. And now he was broke, living in a dosshouse, and desperate for some money so he could continue playing pokie ...


Diana Stone: Nightmares in Harare, 7 March 2019

... passing, not unkindly but with the interest of a medical practitioner, that I have unusually fat arms for a thinnish person. As old age has given her a tendency to repeat herself, she notes this in passing a few dozen times. It has at least the advantage of being true. A Giant African Land Snail makes its way into the house and halfway to my bedroom before I ...

The Day After

Neve Gordon, 7 May 2015

... From east Atatra to Salatin Street. From west [unclear] to Jabalia Camp. You must evacuate your homes immediately and head toward southern Jabalia town along the following road: Falluja Road, until 12 noon, Sunday 13 July 2014. The IDF does not intend to harm you or your families. These operations are temporary and will be of short duration. Any ...


David Craig: In the Barra Isles, 30 October 1997

... desperate to increase the income from their land forced many thousands of small tenants from their homes by a mixture of bribery, threats and the torching of their thatch, their roof-timbers and their looms. Chrissie MacPherson, the landlady, was the daughter-in-law of the Coddy – Barra’s famous memorialist or seanchaidh, whose stories were edited into a ...

Unoccupied Territory

Edward Said: A new opening for Palestinians and Israelis, 7 January 1999

... whose capacity to earn money or travel has been greatly curtailed since Oslo; whose land and homes are under constant threat; and whose life under Chairman Arafat’s dreadful Authority (buttressed by CIA and Mossad support) has become a nightmare. At least it was possible to render in images the tiny bit of territory – about 3 per cent – controlled ...

At the Polling Station in Kibera

Daniel Branch: The Elections in Kenya, 24 January 2008

... clashes’ of 1992 and 1997, hundreds were killed and thousands forced from their homes as politicians exploited tensions within individual communities over access to resources. Ethnicity camouflages tremendous class conflict in contemporary Kenya. In the Rift Valley and Mombasa, Kikuyu traders, entrepreneurs and farmers have caused great ...

Nowhere to Hide

Patrick Cockburn: A report from Iraq, 22 February 2007

... next to the school.’ Adil is under attack by the Shia militiamen of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army; they now hold Hurriyah, which used to be a mixed district. The Jadriyah district of east Baghdad, which lies in a loop of the Tigris, is almost entirely Shia but is considered one of the safer areas – not that this is saying a great deal. I stay here when ...


Adam Reiss: On a Dawn Raid, 18 November 2010

... headquarters for a large police search operation to be carried out today across a number of homes and businesses. The station is a low-rise office block with added extras (such as cells) and if you’re familiar with the recently defunct TV show The Bill, its interior won’t come as a surprise: it’s a series of neon-lit, low-ceilinged corridors with ...

The Israelis were shooting from one direction, the Palestinians from the other

Nathan Thrall: Life and Death in Palestine, 1 December 2016

The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine 
by Ben Ehrenreich.
Granta, 448 pp., £14.99, August 2016, 978 1 78378 310 6
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... Palestinians out of a population of 1.3 million joined irregular forces or the Arab Salvation Army; in the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 the number of Palestinians who fought was also quite small. While there has been violent opposition to Israel over the decades, there have been relatively few casualties. Between the first major Palestinian riots in 1920 ...

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