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 LettuceMaurice Riordan

I gave the barrow-girl two quid for it,
a frisée lettuce, a wild intricate wheel,
nature’s very own bright-green mandala.
A lot of money but I paid up gladly,
even though at that time, anxious and overtired,
I parted most weeks from something: my bike
hitched to a loose strut; then gloves, umbrella,
wallet, cards, glasses – all left on the train.
I came to think of it as tribute: a mean,
but bearable, percentage exacted by
my personal Luck-god, who’d bring us through
that winter, and the next. So I paid up,
grateful to reach my own front door,
to enter a house at peace and register
that palpable all’s well, before I swopped
briefcase and shopping for two small bodies,
I rebuke him now only for that one green
Mediterranean thing departing from me,
days before Christmas, for the Kent coast.

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