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

Good to Think With

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

The Inequality Engine

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

Close
Close

The Narrator,

during the break in chapter,
gets up to stretch beneath a skylight
and hears seagulls, small girls running.
So many pages since he listened last
that he can’t recall how it came to this
or which wall the door was on
or even now what time of year it is.
Are his own pauses, he wants to ask aloud,
captivating another, when an absent-minded
‘Where was I?’ echoes through
and he returns to the place that you left off.

Shanty

The ditty from home
where a low sound greys
in heat like barcode and sky
recedes beneath its fold
I flicked across three provinces
inland of any shore
and have since turned back on
with chorus enough to keep
the memory of a squeezebox company
and aerials like dandelion seed from the mouth
of one crossing to many
and many ends hummed
where verses thunder scattered would have fallen
so long
the phrases don’t recall if they are
warm or half
measures become a whole
new frequency: the carriage lights of an island
stopped in black or a swell
between passing cars
there and there again
the air as yet unsung.

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