Granta 119 by John Freeman
Britain (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing)

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Byers writes about the woman's motivations – and those of her partners – with an unusual frankness: he's clearly a writer to watch.


In 2012, Britain is a nation in flux, managing difficult socioeconomic realities, contending with new political alliances and negotiating shifting demographics. Yet it is still perceived as being bound by tradition and class structures. With new fiction, memoir, poetry, photography and art, Granta's Britain explores landscape, identities and stories of the British Isles.

In 'Silt', Robert Macfarlane writes of the beauty, danger and mystery of a stretch of coastline in Essex. Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story of Irish nationalist Roger Casement, executed at Pentonville Prison in 1916. Memoirs by Gary Younge, Andrea Stuart and Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada focus on the upheavals and migrations that brought them and their families to (and from) Britain. Rachel Seiffert, Ross Raisin, Cynan Jones and Jim Crace provide extracts of new novels: Seiffert describes Glasgow and Northern Ireland in the 1990s; Raisin paints a portrait of a young footballer struggling with his identity; Jones follows a boy on a brutal and transformative outing with his father and their dogs; Crace shows how the lives of English farmers changed drastically during the early Enclosures.

The issue includes original short fiction by Adam Foulds, Mark Haddon, Tania James and Jon McGregor as well as poems by Simon Armitage, Jamie McKendrick, Don Paterson and Robin Robertson. It also introduces a new voice, Sam Byers, with an extract from his darkly comic debut novel, Idiopathy.

About John Freeman

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John Freeman's criticism has appeared in more than 200 newspapers around the world, including the Guardian, the Independent, The Times and the Wall Street Journal. Between 2006 and 2008, he served as president of the National Book Critics Circle. His first book, THE TYRANNY OF EMAIL, was published in October by Scribner in the US and Text in Australia.
Published May 10, 2012 by Granta Magazine. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by William Skidelsky on May 05 2012

Byers writes about the woman's motivations – and those of her partners – with an unusual frankness: he's clearly a writer to watch.

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