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The Reader 62

Written by Emma Walsh, 21st June 2016

thumbnail_62-coverThe latest edition of The Reader Magazine has landed! Here's a run down of all the literary delights you can expect to find in Issue 61.


Throughout Issue 62 we commemorate the work of two British playwrights, Arnold Wesker who passed away recently and Shakespeare whose 400th anniversary was celebrated widely over the past month.

Jane and Phil Davis speak with Wesker's son Dan, a photographer and voice artist, about literature, his move to Leipzig shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the influence of his father's work and success.

"Somebody came on the stage and gave an introduction about him being there and suddenly my dad started going 'Stand up, stand up', and we all stood up as a family in the middle of this enormous theatre and the audience applauded and it was really strange. But still it didn't really sink in." - Dan Wesker

In two essays, Fiona Magee and novelist Salley Vickers explore how Shakespeare's sonnetsCk7BltSWgAAoMxa.jpg large can hold profound meaning at times of loss and grief.

We have fiction old and new for your reading pleasure this summer, with a new short story from Simon Howells and a look back at Wilkie Collins' Blow Up With The Brig.

In Howell's beautifully minimalist The Square, a chance meeting between two old acquaintances is painted with vivid and poignant colour, pinning down the sometimes painful delicacy that these encounters must be maneuvered.

"'Do you recognise me?' he said, and she said she didn't, and the shame that sometimes goes with poor manners hardly touched her.

'Should I?' she said, and no, no he replied, shuffling, looking down at his sandled feet, big toes resembling recently unearthed shallots.

You could see he regretted his decision to stop her - or the instinct that had told him to  stand in front of her with his hand held out." - Simon Howells, The Square

There is an element of obscurity to Howell's narrative, the reader has been kept at arms length, as though observing the encounter from just out of frame. We witness the subtleties, a jaw tightening or a hand raised in recognition, but we catch these glimpses, overhear snippets of conversation amid the continued flow of people passing between us and the centre of this charming story, it's intriguing, thought provoking.

Wilkie Collins' offering for The Old Story, is a very different matter. With Blow Up With The Brig, the reader is addressed directly, the narrator establishing us as their confessor in the opening line. We are invited to listen, entreated to place our trust in this anecdote despite the teller's inaccuracies and uncertainties. The narrator could be an old sea dog happened upon in the corner or a tavern, recounting a hazy tale from his adventures on the sea.

There is new poetry to be enjoyed from Alison Brackenbury, Ian Tromp, JL Williams and Claire Askew, who also reflects on her own writing in The Poet On Her Work feature.

Askew probes the nagging necessity to write about an ex-lover which has plagued her for over a decade, the ever present "unfinished karmic business" she seems doomed to carry around until she finally gets the opportunity to deliver a well deserved slap across the face.

"Often, people read 'Domonic' and assume it's about a lover who died. I quite like that interpretation: it's less embarrassing than the truth." - Claire Askew


Claire Askew (Sally Jubb Photography)

Domonic is a beautifully delicate reminiscence that mingles the fresh, natural imagery of a new season, the comforting duskiness of a dark bar on a bright afternoon, and the intangible presence of the digital world which makes forgetting or never knowing a relic of a past era. Askew's poem captures the uniquely modern elements of her betrayal and heartache, punctuating the poem with the random 'likes' which pepper the speech patterns of today's youth.

As always there are regular features to be enjoyed from Ian McMillan, Jane Davis, Enid Stubin and Brian Nellist, as well as essays, recommendations and the usual quizes and puzzles to ponder over.

Subscribers can expect their copy of Issue 62 imminently if not sooner. It is also available for purchase on our website where you can sign up for a year's subscription or buy individual copies from our archive.

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