David Grossman has won the International Man Booker Prize 2017 with his novel A Horse Walks Into a Bar, translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen.
This coming week marks the one year anniversary of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Back in 1991, Grossman wrote an essay for Granta about Cairo in which he explores the tensions between Israelis and Egyptians, many of whom challenge the focus Grossman has placed on the Holocaust in his writing – ‘Why do all the books you write dredge up that horrible event? And he cried aloud in the wilderness, and said, Behold, I bring you hope.’ Anthony Lane’s account of the High Priestess Theresa May and prophet Jeremy Corbyn lends a Biblical significance to the British election. Elsewhere, Gonzalo Torné laments the dissolution of his marriage in Divorce is in the Air: ‘You have to understand: we were good together.’ May Jean-Claude Juncker have mercy on our souls. After all, your history has good, pleasant periods in it, too.’
In their foreword to The Racial Imaginary, Claudia Rankine and Beth Loffreda reframe the debate on cultural appropriation – ‘to think of creativity in terms of transcendence is itself specific and partial – a lovely dream perhaps, but an inhuman one.’ Instead, one should interrogate one’s appropriative desires: ‘So, not: can I write from another’s point of view? To commemorate the break up we return to Rachel Cusk’s ‘Aftermath’, where she compares the outcome of her own divorce to ‘a jigsaw dismantled into a heap of broken-edged pieces’.
Summer solstice – solar stasis, the longest day of the year – approaches. What is the charisma of what I feel estranged from, and why might I wish to enter and inhabit it.’ Claudia Rankine’s book on American racism, Citizen, won the 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection of poetry. ‘You are the green wonder of June, / root and quasar, the thirst for salt,’ writes Stacie Cassarino. ‘And there came from the land of Britain a prophet, whose name was Jeremy. But instead: to ask why and what for, not just if and how.