Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

Number 40 | We Had No Say In This

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Of Immediate Interest

100 best novels miss jean

A Far Cry From Kensington

‘Can you decide to think? – Yes, you can. You can put your mind to anything most of the time. You can sit peacefully in front of a blank tel... Read more
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In Chernobyl

Svetlana Alexievich’s Chernobyl Prayer first appeared in 1997, eleven years after a series of explosions rocked the Chernobyl reactor in the... Read more
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Francis Plug Attends A John Banville Reading

'I too was drinking, having helped myself to a bottle of white from the complimentary drinks table. I’d placed this bottle on the Current Affairs shelving to the right of my seat.'
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Becoming Westerly

'It’s funny how the ocean calls out to you. It’s not about checking wave cams on the Internet, or reading the surf forecast. It’s a feeling in your bones and blood, something like the way dogs sense earthquakes.'
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The Stickiness of Lime Trees

'People were careless and clumsy, always letting things slip through their soft fingers, and the trees made it their business to make sure these things were not lost. They carefully stored empty crisp packets.'

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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