Saturday, June 4

Granta 87

Finally finished another issue of Granta. Highlights:

Tim Adams: Benjamin Pell Versus the Rest of the World
A hilarious account of the real-life obsessive, misanthropic dumpster diver who exposed dirty facts about celebrities, solved a murder case the police couldn't, and spurred the UK to ban his hobby: rooting through people's trash.

Wendell Steavenson: Osama's War
Hanging out with a guerrilla fighters opposing U.S. forces in Iraq, in an attempt to discover his methods and motivations.

J. Robert Lennon: Ecstasy
Fiction. Don't want to give it away, but what does a babysitter do when the worst happens when the parents are away?

Lennon's very short stories in Granta 85 were a high point of that issue. I want to check out his books.

And how much you want to bet his first name is John?

Fun fact about Granta: it started in the 19th century as the literary journal of the University of Cambridge, here in my current home, and is named after the old Roman name for the river through the town (now called the Cam), or one of its tributaries, depending on whose account you believe. The journal petered out and was resurrected later independently, and then got sucked into the whirlwind of London, where their offices are now. I think Cambridge is somewhat culturally sterile because of this effect from being too close to a great city (but too far to pop over there easily on the train, which for a one-hour ride costs, for me, a day's expendable income).


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