Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

Number 43 | Have We Gone Blind?

Our Town

Dispatches from London

NW11

It’s a painstaking process, a learned performance. I spent years making small, conscious modifications to my character, to be more British when I was in London, more Brazilian in Rio.

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.

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.

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.'

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.'

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.'

Of Immediate Interest

Restless Momentum

Dear Margaux, Your painting is a permanent presence in my life, and I don’t mean I carry it with me from place to place. I glance at it t... Read more

Here Comes Trouble

Here Comes Trouble charts the collapse of a fictitious country, as witnessed by a seventeen-year-old boy, Ellis. In this excerpt, set during... Read more

Pemberton

That was the promise, a triumph Of the soul. I still believe that. The Waters are delinquent, the rivers Unfold and unfold. A heron’s u... Read more
Unknown

Subscribe to Five Dials. It's free.