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


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


Court of the Lions

After fifty years to revisit the Alhambra and witness
the same water spewing from the lion’s maw:
I remember wearing a silver short-sleeved shirt
adorned with dragons, and for the first time,

on the airport runway, hearing the night alive
with the cicadas’ tiny anvils. This time, the metal plate
screwed to my femur vibrates to their call, my heart
to the murmur of marble, the patter of water.


By some cosmic quirk the disconnected phone
unleashed a scarlet squeal. – I pounced.
Before the apology expired I asked and got
the wrong number the voice had tried,

so for a whole year without a single bill
I owned those magic digits to dispense
– only for incoming not outgoing calls
but a tiny lifeline to the ancient flat

in via Torquato Tasso I shared with the din
of Cerberus barking in the courtyard – forget the rat –
and a crack the earthquake left in the vaulted ceiling.

Thirty years on, in the small dark hours,
I reach for the black Bakelite receiver
to hear the music of Venus receding.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

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