In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

Close
Close

During my last reservist stint, in Ama Keng,
that unmistakeable waft: like garbage and onions
and liquid petroleum gas all mixed in one. We jerked
our helmeted heads upward, and saw the spiky bombs.
Durians. Two soldiers waded into the lallang and long
spiky-grassed undergrowth, sweeping for fallen fruit.
I remembered what my dad once told me,
that durian trees knew when you were underneath
and would not let their deadly payload drop.
They were smarter than we thought; those things could
kill. For when they had spent the years
building up to seed, they did not want to waste
their chance by murdering their postmen.
It spoke husks about why we were there,
stuck in sweatstink and number four fatigues,
when a drive by Dempsey Road could have reaped
D24 fruit from Selangor. I guess we take
what we can get. All the same, I couldn’t help
thinking of the Filipino legend, in which a hermit
made a fruit to help a king win over a princess,
then cursed it when the king neglected to invite him
to the wedding feast; and we’ve been eating it ever since.

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