A strange, wise novel

George Saunders is the most lauded short-story writer living today, revered in America to the point of canonisation. Among many other accolades, he has been awarded a Macarthur “Genius” Fellowship and named by TIME magazine, in a characteristic departure from reality, as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He rose to … Continue reading

Book review: Against Everything

Against Everything: On Dishonest Times (Verso) by Mark Greif Mark Greif is a founding editor of N+1, a New York magazine founded in 2004 which, in retaliation against a prevailing culture of irony and indifference, declared in its first issue that it was “time to say what you mean”. Greif and his co-founders appeared to … Continue reading

The Cable Guy: a swansong for privacy

Imagine it’s 1996. The Iraq War is a thing of the distant past and you’ll never have to hear the name George Bush again. Leonardo DiCaprio is still twenty years away from his Oscar. Will Smith is still the name of a character played by Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Tom Cruise … Continue reading

Why Write Novels?

Writing is like drinking beer: at first you don’t like it but it feels grown up; then you enjoy it, but you’re not very good at it; last of all, you stop enjoying it, but by that point it’s the thing you’re best at, so you decide to stick with it. I can’t say when … Continue reading

Growing up

When you’re a child, people tell you the most important thing is to be good and not get in trouble. If they’re feeling expansive, they mumble something about homework. As far as everyone tells you, those are the two important things in life: morality and homework. They also tell you to enjoy it while it … Continue reading

Harry Potter is Basically the Internet

All around us is an invisible world where geeks are cool… 1. Smartphones Thank God for the lumos app. –  – 2. Maps You are here. – – 3. Blogs Everyone’s darkest memories.  –  – 4. Wikipedia A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  –  – 5. Links How the hell did I get here?  –  – 6. 404 … Continue reading

The Middle Way – a short story

Before now, I have often joked about drunk me. I would come into the office to find a package on my desk. Drunk me ordered a book I wanted but couldn’t afford. I would claim to find this lack of self-control irritating, but of course I was pleased. It often seemed that no one knew … Continue reading