Granta 132: Possession

Possession takes many forms, and at the heart of it is death and dereliction, invasion and submission. Nothing can be still, as poet Rae Armantrout writes. Possession and loss are intertwined. This issue takes on the human drive to possess – a person, a home, a territory – and the many ways we become possessed – by ideas, by desires, by spirits.

Essays & Memoir: Molly Brodak, Oliver Bullough, Kerry Howley and Bella Pollen
Fiction: Marc Bojanowski, Patrick deWitt, Greg Jackson, Daisy Jacobs, Alan Rossi, Hanan al-Shaykh and Deb Olin Unferth
Poetry: Rae Armantrout, Angélica Freitas and Jillian Weise
Photography: Max Pinckers, with an introduction by Sonia Faleiro

From the Print Issue

‘There are fragments of a criminal alongside fragments of a dad, and nothing overlaps, nothing eclipses the other, they’re just there, next to each other. No narrative fits.’

Molly Brodak’s memoir of her father – conman, gambler, bank robber.

‘In the months that followed, Lucy’s mother’s attitude towards him soured further. Eventually she admitted that, though she knew Lucy was not explicitly at fault, she felt him part way responsible for his father’s death, as he had unwittingly transferred his illness to an otherwise healthy man, and so had struck him down before his time.’

The trying times of Lucien Minor in an extract from Patrick deWitt’s new novel,Undermajordomo Minor.

Possession, Online Edition

Gabi Martínez, ‘The Exorcism of Doctor Escudero
Lorna Gibb, ‘Portia’s Choice
Susana Moreira Marques, ‘Travel Notes About Death
Julian Evans ‘War in Donbas
Lincoln Michel, ‘Dark Air
Mathias Énard, ‘The Instant of Passage
Juliana Spahr, ‘If You Were a Bluebird

From the Granta archives

Neel Mukherjee, ‘The Wrong Square
Urvashi Butalia, ‘Mona’s Story
Dara Horn, ‘Passover in New Orleans
Haruki Murakami, ‘The Seventh Man
Salman Rushdie, ‘Outside the Whale

Five Things Right Now: Max Porter


Max Porter, Senior Editor at Granta and Portobello books and author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers, shares five things he’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

1. English PEN’s World Bookshelf
This is the vital archive of all the books in translation that have been given English PEN grants. It’s been a great honour, and much fun, to be on the committee for seven years. I’m departing from it now, but will check the bookshelf often, knowing that the best literature from around the world will be spotted and championed by this essential initiative.

2. Sounds of the Universe
I’ve been buying records in this shop since I was a teenager. It’s the centre of my musical world, always trusted, always innovating. I am so incapable of passing without buying something that when I’m skint I walk the long way around Soho to avoid temptation. If you like jazz or hip hop or soul or reggae or disco or folk or electronic or world music . . . shit, if you like any type of music, get thee to this shop.

3. Lego Minifigures: The Simpsons
Not wanting to let our kids have all the fun, my wife started collecting these and now she’s horribly addicted. The people in the Lego shop taught her how to feel through the packs to identify the characters, which is a lovely thing to watch. Deep, deep concentration, moving hands, rubbing fingers and then bang, ‘MAGGIE!’ We also met a guy in another toy shop who taught us about bump codes. Bump codes are the tiny little air bubbles where the pack is sealed, and they are deliberately placed there to identify which figure is in the bag. Seriously.

4. Anders Nilsen
Anders Nilsen is my favourite graphic novelist. But really he’s one of my favourite creators in any medium. His comics, his thoughts on mourning and love and creativity, his drawings, his strange diagrammatic doodles – it’s a stunning body of work that I’ve come to treasure ever since a friend gave me the visionary Dogs and Water years ago. Some of the stuff in his stunning new book Poetry is Useless was familiar to me from looking at his blog, but in book form it is a breathtaking hybrid of diary, public transport sketchbook, emotional battleground and profound love letter.

5. Dark Mountain
If I need solace, if I am frightened or angry or just need the company of people who think straight about the planet, I spend a little time on Dark Mountain. I know I’m at my desk, on the internet, but I can feel like I’m in the woods thinking clearly again.