In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: ‘Parallel Lives’

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Follow the Science

James Butler

Two PoemsRaymond Friel
Close
Close

A World Fit to Live in

With his ‘shopping list’, my son makes us stop
At choice hedges, a particular weed.
He does not share my anticipation.
In the long shadows, a man tends a grave
With brisk affection, his jacket folded
Inside out, specs high on his balding head.

The white horse, behind us on its hillside,
Is summoning the nerve for a great leap.
Outside St Michael’s, the party workers
In panamas and printed frocks sit round
With iced lemonade, clipboards on the grass.
Masses of bruised clouds move in from the east.

His Parents’ Bed

Pre-nuptial, ‘in Rome’, she gamefully bunked
On the ground floor with Mary O’Connell –
Great-granny, chain-smoker, Irish rebel;
Her room like a souvenir stall at Lourdes.
Post, she stared at the red glow of the time,
Frozen beside him in immaculate sheets;
While through the mumbling wall, his parents
Pulled out sleeping bags in their makeshift dorm.

Still awake in the small hours, they listened
As the Orange Hall spilled onto the street:
A volley of car doors; ‘No Pope of Rome’
Breaking out in raw unison; a fight.
He stirred towards her and apologised;
To find, through duvet, unfamiliar bone.

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