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


A transit lounge, in 1981 –
I doze all night on a rickety chair
In God’s own country, where the Biblical Wars
Have still to happen. A cold sun,

A muezzin call, a man on a prayer-strip
At the dry-goods warehouse
Out by the runway. Sheds, a fuel stop –
And soon our wretched crew will reappear

From humping each other, in the first-class hotel.
I put aside Merton’s Elected Silence,
Learning to sit still.
Doha, Doma, what’s the difference,

And what do they do here anyway,
Where objects are weightless
In Duty Free days, and everyone seems to pray?
Years later, Bartholomew’s atlas

Makes it all clear, through the magnifying glass
Of Armageddon – one vast aircraft-carrier
Catapulting planes into abstract space –
Where now, a goat grazes,

And pearl-fishers dive between two dimensions
And what I would kill for is that single fly-blown Coke.
I open Merton again, just to keep awake.
I have not been paying attention.

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