'A girl wearing a two-piece / and waterproof mascara / joins me in the slow lane: / we breaststroke clockwise.'
'Ma’am, I am imagining you / at your worst: watching / a wet-lipped girl / type-set your cutlery.'
'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.'
A document from another time: Robin Yassin-Kassab's diary of his 2008 return journey to Syria, and a Damascus hazed by diesel fumes but still standing.
My big sister rings to say she is riding around / on the back of Richard’s motorbike and would I like to meet for a drink. / Richard is a married man. My sister is gay and I am always / dropping this in to conversation.
The first. Featuring Iain Sinclair on Turgenev, poetry by Joe Dunthorne, fiction by Hari Kunzru, Robin Yassin-Kassab in Syria and some letters by Flaubert. Plus: a nun vaults a wall.
'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.'
'I said firmly, "Freda, I can’t possibly go out in these. They make my legs look naked." She smiled patiently.'
'I am hideously worried, mortally depressed. My accursed Bovary is harrying me and driving me mad. I can do nothing about it.'
'I am a nervous public speaker and next month I have to address a meeting of top business managers. Do you have any advice on how I might keep calm on stage?'
Brothers and sisters, we, the interns, are united at last. We stand shoulder to shoulder, our poorly fitting...