Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

Number 40 | We Had No Say In This

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Of Immediate Interest

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The Pain Machine

'I ignored her pain. This was not difficult to do; her pain was rarely justified. To wear special seamless socks was to stick her feet in an iron smelter. To wear a soft acrylic scarf was to be garroted by a scroll of razor wire.'
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False River

'When Greta rang with the news about Bertie dying, I said I was in the lobby of my hotel, but really I’d just walked into the reception area at Lake Lawn Cemetery.'
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The Recurring Nightmare of Wilhelm

'The remaining man, Wilhelm, was also uneasy, but his mind was troubled not by what lay inside the crate but by lingering thoughts of his own.'
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John Kennedy Toole’s Hot-Dog Carts

'Going to New Orleans after a fresh reading of A Confederacy of Dunces gives the city a different flavour. Every sign begins to read like a knowing wink.'
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Inside the Hamish Hamilton Archive

Intrigue, adventure, romance, stationery. A film about the Hamish Hamilton archive, featuring Chandler, Sartre, Salinger, Thurber, Orwell and others. Music by Lights of Harmac.

Our Town

Dispatches from London

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The Fight for Broken Britain

For a place teeming with the ghosts of empire, hard labour, hard liquor, sailors and prostitutes, it’s almost unbearably tranquil. This Britain isn’t broken: it’s just quiet to the point of being unsettling.
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What Goes Around

'Riding past a crowded pavement on a hot day, swallowing consecutive gusts of perfume, sunscreen, cigarette smoke, and sometimes even halitosis, you realize just how helplessly intimate we all are in this city.'
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Virginia Woolf in the Bomb-scarred City

'This was her grandest bid to bring something back from the ruins. She was not reading despite the bombs; she was reading with them, and the two – reading and bombs – are jumbled together in one of her last letters.'
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Yates Lane, NW8

'Escapees from St Mary’s, Paddington: expectant father smoking; old lady wheeling herself in a wheelchair, smoking; die-hard holding urine sack, blood sack, smoking.'
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Out of Windows

'Last Halloween, a woman was thrown out of a fourth-floor window in Marylebone. I was heading back to my flat on Chiltern Street with the intention of watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a film that I had always avoided.'
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Diamonds in the Dark

'It is a secret, private, hidden world that operates under a strict set of unspoken internal laws: never screw a partner and once a deal is done it is a 'mazen brucha' and it must be adhered to.'
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