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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Statement & Legal Activities

Statement I wasn’t there that night. And if I was, I didn’t know. Not that they were drinking, you hear things sometimes, it’s only now I... Read more
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A Small Planet

When you move house, you move the stuff with you. Beneath a few notebooks and rubber bands, there’s a letter from a former lover. You no longer see each other.
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Like a Fleeting Shadow

That’s the irony with photography: photos can halt time or slow it down, but they can also let time pass with merciless speed. In Sanguinetti’s work, Guille and Belinda grow up in seconds.
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Do Not Pet

Nothing better to put a broken heart into perspective, I think to myself, than the inanity of the llama, the enlightenment of the sloth, the opportunism of the chimpanzee.
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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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Teaching by Example

'When I met Professor Sebald for our first tutorial, I was immediately struck by how different he was from the mostly aloof, self-important professors that I was used to at Munich University.'
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Jonathan Franzen

'Way out at word number 70 or 100 or 140 in a sentence deep into a three-page paragraph of macabre humour or fabulously reticulated self-consciousness, you could smell the ozone from the crackling precision of his sentence structure.'
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On Tess

'But the bit that gets me is when Tess writes her letter. She just spills out the truth about herself and the next day she’s trying to figure out if Angel Clare has read the thing and if he’ll still marry her.'
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On Handwriting

'Only his handwriting seemed to locate him exactly, to ground his body in the act of writing and thinking and breathing; each stroke of the pen a black ink tether that tied me to him and him to me.'
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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.

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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