In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne


Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

The Seine at AsnièresRonald Gaskell
Vol. 8 No. 16 · 18 September 1986

The Seine at Asnières

Ronald Gaskell

176 words

The minister has not been able to get away
this weekend – cables from London, Bucharest,
Berlin, St Petersburg. His secretary telephoned
just before lunch: possibly on Sunday,
probably not, or not till after three.

Lucille takes her new acquaintance,
the ambassador’s young wife, for an hour
on the river. The trees this summer
are so beautiful, the poplars dipping
and effacing their long forms of green and gold.

The Countess is delighted. After weeks of fashionable
chatter, of polite receptions, after all
the dust and heat and hurry of the boulevards,
to be drifting with this charming girl
who neither speaks nor smiles, except when smiled to!

On the bank an old painter looks up
from his canvas – judging the proportions
of the house, perhaps. Georges and Victor,
who have caught nothing, doze. The shadow
of the barn roof lengthens over the water.

All leave cancelled in Vienna, which could still
mean nothing. (Under the Pont des Arts
the light of early afternoon sways
and trembles.) London nervous.
No word yet from Brussels or Belgrade.

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