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

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

Three PoemsJean Sprackland
Close
Close

Censorship

Seeing the grey abbreviated bodies of military aircraft at the edge of a field, I remember at once the dismantled flies in the corner of the playground. I would sneak back when the committee had gone, to see if the engines had stopped and to inspect the exhausted machinery. I didn’t dare touch, but when I held my finger close I could feel the molecules of air still stirring faintly with warmth. As for the wings, who knows what happened to them? The provocative wings! Like scandalous scraps of film they were excised, and taken as trophies or lost to the wind.

Sent to Coventry

The official notice of exile was written on a page torn from a maths book. I folded it neatly into my blazer pocket. There were simultaneous equations on the other side. For the first few days it was hard to remember: remnants of speech would spill from my mouth, and were walked underfoot by the crowd. I took out the paper when no one was looking. I licked my lips and licked them till they bled. I stared at the equations, but they weren’t part of it.

‘Wicksteed of Kettering’

Back at the playground, the committee arrived on bikes. First the necessary evictions, then they seized the swings. They began throwing them over the top of the frame and catching them. They worked in silence, throwing and catching, throwing and catching. The metal chains grew shorter, they juddered and bunched into knots, and soon the swings were cancelled. How clean and spacious the frame was now! They stood and smoked, flicking ash into the pits of dust where feet had scuffed the summer grass. Then they took their bikes and left. I crawled out of the hedge and stood underneath, looking up at the red plastic seats, and I noticed that each one was stamped with the revolutionary slogan:

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