The Voyages of a Devoted Reader

Literary Travel Guide to Europe and the Americas   Travel guides. Is there anything more miserable, more cliché-making, complacent and sheepish than those small, compact dictionaries-of-places that you can conveniently, nay embarrassingly, carry in your pockets? All you need to scream out ‘tourist’ even louder is a sun-hat, bermuda shorts and sandals. What happened to…

This Sweet Land Chapter III

  III   The stars swam over the bay, hidden by the smoke that danced upwards from the busy beach. The long, red-sand bay of Ghadira was full of people on that wind-less, cloud-less May night. By the water’s edge the black sea turned luminous at the touch of so many gas lamps and crackling…

My Favourite Passages From The Shadows of Paradise

    I   Writing. A piece of fucking writing, Johnny mumbled to himself with awe-struck delight as he walked back to his seat. For a brief, intense time after that Johnny started telling the world, with the typically local graceless bravado, that he was going to be a writer! He suddenly spent hours reading,…

Confessions of a Macho Reader

      Hi, I’m Justin Fenech, I’m a writer, a reader, and I don’t read female novelists. Not much, anyway. And not deliberately. As a literary thought experiment let me just chimney-sweep an impromptu list of my favourite authors: Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Conrad, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saul Bellow, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, Graham Greene,…

Read The Shadows of Paradise – First Chapter

On a day when there is legitimate fear over the future of democracy with the inauguration of potentially dangerous, populist pseudo-autocrat, I have decided to embrace the democratic spirit, sidestep literary capitalism, and share with you, dear readers, the first chapter of my manuscript, The Shadows of Paradise. For more information about the novel read…

Hardcore Writers no. 3 Ways of Escape – Graham Greene

    During his period as journalist Graham Greene did some work writing film reviews. Here is what he had to say about one of Shirley Temple’s early, childhood films: “ Her admirers — middle aged men and clergymen — respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable little body, packed…

Poems of a Lapsed Catholic

  The Lawless Charity   Whenever I gaze at poverty I see the Church And her wealth.   Whenever a man is weak I see him kneel To the strong.   Wherever a child is hungry She is told to fast As a sacrifice.   When night falls The ruined streets are dark And the…

To This Sweet Land – A Brief History of Malta

  When my grandmother got married in the 1950’s she got married in the local church and then the wedding party preceded to her mother’s home for the reception. The food was prepared by her father, who was a cook with the Royal Navy, with the help of his daughters. At the house for the…

Third-World, First Rate

  For centuries now the Western world has held a monopoly on literature. Think of the literary greats and your mind rushes to Londoners, Americans, Frenchmen, Russians. This happens even if you are the most open-minded of people. And in a way it is only fair: the novel is a European invention. It gestated in…

Poems of Coming and Going

  Beside An Empty Suitcase   Rider on a horse of air A battle beckons over what horizon I am beside my empty suitcase of adolescent zeal Hoping I will never have to fill it A centaur without the horse to ride I linger in the caress of a memory as yet unmade And I…

The Best of Travel Fiction

    Before getting into the literature first a little justification I feel necessary. Few of us can explain, in any profound manner, why it is that the travel bug bit them. To be fair, it’s not something that needs explaining – it’s a happy accident and no one grumbles much about it. But I…

Reading In Transit: What to Read When Travelling

    As another trip looms in the near future, back to sunny England and heatwave Madrid, I begin the arduous, torturous, mind-numbingly long process of deciding what book to take with me on this 10-day trip. I feel like a chef deciding what restaurant to eat in or some whore-junkie mulling over the inevitable…