Welcome to the fourth issue of The Manchester Review.
This issue of The Review features the work of several established, indeed world-famous, authors alongside that of young writers who are at the very beginning of their careers. We are delighted to be able include an excerpt from Martin Amis’s eagerly awaited twelfth novel The Pregnant Widow, as well as a startling new short story from Craig Raine, and a fascinating and rare interview with Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle. At the same time we are equally pleased to be able to provide an outlet for new young voices in the form of powerful stories from Kamila Rymajdo and Chris Smith – two writers who recently graduated from The Centre for New Writing here in Manchester and who are still in their early twenties.
Elsewhere in this issue of The Review we have work that travels widely but never manages to entirely shake off the past. (Perhaps it doesn’t want to). In the case of Chris Andrews’ poems the movement is from Melbourne to Los Angeles, for Thomas McCarthy’s sodden hitch-hiker it is from Brazil to Ballylee and back again, and for the troubled protagonist of Alan Drew’s story it’s from Sudan to the leafy banks of the Thames. Dore Kiesselbach’s poems offer a subtle and allusive commentary on the recent troubling history of Iraq, while in the interludes and waiting rooms of Patrick McGuiness’s work we feel the strange persistence of an old Europe “a leaving/ still entangling in itself years later like the sound of a train/turning the corner.” In the work of Leontia Flynn, Daisy Fried and Brendan Matthews the past is smaller scale, more personalised and individual perhaps, but no less adhesive for all that. We hear of fraternal bonds that can’t be broken, lovers who just won’t “move on” and the apparently trivial mementos (“this box of doodles, bills, old cards and prints”) which can affect us “like a high-kick to the heart.”