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

Piketty’s Revolution

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


The lights come up, the stage is bare,
the audience goes on sitting there,
row upon row of gleaming teeth,
set in expressions of dutiful mirth
for something they have now forgotten.
Someone has spilled an ice-cream cone
from the balcony onto someone’s head.
It trickles down over his forehead
and from there down into his lap.
We see the smile fade from his lips,
the lips fade from his mouth,
the mouth slowly wither from his teeth.
Now his jaw drops open on its tendons
and a look of horrified understanding dawns.
The urge to clap is irresistible.
He finds this is no longer possible.

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