Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

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We Do Not Use The Word Lightly

For years I have been an illicit cultivator of neglected patches of public land. I ‘fight the filth with forks and flowers’ and until now had never been confronted with the choice between arrest and retreat.

Number 41 | How Can This Be Possible?

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Four Poems by Mustafa Stitou

On leaving the bar I heard / a painter say that astronauts / often grew up without a father.
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Invisible Books

I still get asked about it on the odd occasion. By the handful of people who saw me selling books at the Small Publishers’ Fair. By peers wh... Read more
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She

He loved her so much he doesn’t believe it now; he laughs about it, a long, hard and cynical laugh. It is the laugh of someone who has lost.
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Two Poems

On my back I carried the coffin in which my father lay. / Bent low by its weight, I staggered forward step by step. / My pace slowed, the burden was too great, it was beyond / me.
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Table Talk

Table Talk (consisting of three poems) 1 When people talk about people they say ‘they’. They do it over the starters. You’re sitting betw... Read more

Of Immediate Interest

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Annie Hall

'I can’t help feeling like he’s dismantled the very admirable legacy of his earlier work by his later, overly prolific efforts. It’s a more benign version of Ralph Nader.'
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‘If a little bird enters into a café…’

Cesar Aira explains why the sinuous thread running through his novels is more interesting, and more writable, than a linear plot.
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Amsterdam

'Tucked among books, look, a long-ago letter, / long ago lost, thanks me for poems – for one / especially in which she’s named.'
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New York Traffic

'The two car accidents happened so early in his life that neither brought forth feelings of mortality at the time. It made sense that he survived them. Why not?'

Our Town

Dispatches from London

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My Father’s House

Every summer we were ordered out into the garden with machetes to chop down the grass, which grew above our heads. We loathed having to spend summer days in manual labour, but we never dared question our father’s authority.
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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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