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

Another DreamBrad Leithauser
Close
Close

             Unreckonable,
          the distance crossed to reach
       the dark before this lighted ledge no
     deeper than a bookshelf, holding a white beach
   with two live finger-puppet figures – but here
  you stand, stooping before them, nonetheless.
You’ve made it; lean closer; and surely, yes
that is the smell of brine ... And oh yes such
minute dioramic ingenuities! (as in
the way the kelp, long abandoned by the sea
as hopelessly tangled, comes with tiny, tinny flies
among its lichen-like salt-stain blossoms ...) She,

                 wearing nothing,
                evidently, under her
              powder-blue plastic raincoat,
            hunches by a driftwood fire, face so astir
          with reflections, one can’t help reading there
       a crystallising impulse to be elsewhere. He – well,
he’s another matter, isn’t he? Truth to tell,
thinking’s the furthest thing from his thoughts
as he tilts back on tiptoe till his spine cracks
satisfyingly, next assesses the ocean, section
by section, with a gaze that says: ‘All this,
too, coming my way – isn’t it perfection?’

Send Letters To:

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

letters@lrb.co.uk

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