An unnatural winter

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The holidays have come and gone, but shivering under blankets I can confirm that it’s definitely still winter. Time for Fictionable issue number three: Winter 2022.

Ali Smith kicks off this issue with a call to arms, an imperative, a reflection on our current state of permacrisis: Wake. Confronted with “blatant government corruption … blatant institutional racism … 212,296 deaths and rising” are you “play-acting insouciance” or trying to “Do something”? Yan Lianke looks for answers in the 17th century with The Kangxi Emperor, translated by Carlos Rojas, while Diana Evans heads to Soho for some ramen and some real talk in Broth – you can hear her discussing pared-back prose, female friendship and category errors on the Fictionable podcast.

Ross Raisin makes some noise in Treehuggers, another of the stories in this issue which examines nature wronged, diverted or messed up, and Lizzy Stewart explores an awkward absence in Gorgon. And with tensions high across the Taiwan Strait, Ya-chun Liu investigates how fiction in China and Taiwan tells a more complicated story. Here’s hoping this rich and varied crop of fiction can complicate and delight.


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