The London Magazine
This magazine, Granta’s older sibling, has been going since 1732 and since then has published a remarkable roster of writers, from Wordsworth and Keats to Eliot and Lessing. Published six times a year, it remains one of the best “little magazines” around, and features poetry, literary criticism, reviews and cultural essays by respected writers. The current issue gives a good idea of its breadth, containing pieces on Baudelaire and his muse Jeanne Duval, a short history of name-dropping, and an examination of the poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt.
thelondonmagazine.org, 146pp, £6.95
On Such a Full Sea
It doesn’t take an enormous leap of imagination to situate yourself in Chang-rae Lee’s dystopian future America, in which people have been divided into caste-like groups: with the Charters on top, the rural “counties” people who look after them underneath, and a sub-strata of producer-drones at the bottom, in the polluted settlement of “B-Mor”. When Fan, a teenage fish-tank diver of Chinese descent, goes in search of her missing boyfriend Reg, the citizens of B-Mor fear her rebellion. The novel’s pivotal innovation is its use of communal narration, following the story from the perspective of those most invested in Fan’s quest for truth and liberty.
Little, Brown, 352pp, £13.99
Men We Reaped
“From 2002 to 2004, five Black young men I grew up with died, all violently, in seemingly unrelated deaths. The first was my brother, Joshua, in October 2000.” Jesmyn Ward grew up poor in DeLisle, Mississippi, where unemployment, racial disharmony and drug addiction are the norm. Her powerful, chatty memoir blends the story of her escape to university and the writing life, with the lives of five men whose deaths are anything but exceptional in a divided America.
Bloomsbury, 272pp, £16.99