Number 31 | Tricks of the Light

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.'

‘You endured life. You didn’t live it.’

When I left for Paris at the age of nineteen, you were still a stranger to me. Come to think of it, I never called you Mama; I called you Mother, just as I never called my father Papa. How did that come about?

Number 31

Lydia Davis, Zadie Smith, Leanne Shapton, Chad Harbach, John Updike, Simon Wroe, Evgeny Zamyatin. Poetry by Rachael Allen. Plus: Philip Oltermann exposes the world's worst book.