Stranger than fiction: Donald Trump and ‘The Plot Against America’

No author of speculative fiction wants to be proven right. To be proven right in the spec-fic game is to see the worst come to pass. No, speculative fiction is written as a warning, and […]

Jan, 19

Fran Bryson a traveller with a nose for social injustice

Brazil is in the news again. Just as FIFA World Cup celebrations two years ago were marred by popular protests in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere in response to exorbitant public spending on […]

Mar, 05

Sandor Jaszberenyi’s ‘The Devil is a Black Dog’ fires on reporters

At what point should a journalist transmute first-hand experience into fiction? Where does one draw the line between what can be reported as fact and what should probably be reported some other way, even if […]

Nov, 21

In praise of the humble hostel library

When I departed Australia for Spain last year, I had my Kindle packed and ready. My reading had been planned in advance: Booker winners and Russian classics and theses on the nature of democracy—a library’s […]

Sep, 11

Boston bombing explored by Masha Gessen in ‘The Tsarnaev Brothers’

On April 15, 2013, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than two hundred and sixty. The media—mainstream and citizen, offline and on—went into […]

May, 30

A place beyond the pages

I started Graham Greene’s The Quiet American in my room on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bùi Viện backpacker strip. I probably should have started it at the Hotel Continental, where Thomas Fowler first meets Alden […]

May, 04

Forty years on, what can a war book teach us?

In January, Picador reissued Michael Herr’s classic book on the Vietnam War, Dispatches, and with today marking the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon now seems the perfect time to revisit the book’s pyrotechnic […]

Apr, 30


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