CULTURE

IT ALL BEGINS WITH GOOD INTENTIONS, An excerpt from the novel Fake is a State of Mind

Once upon a time… James always began his stories like that, smiling. He thought fairy tales were the best ways of telling a story and he was right. I looked at him like a little child every time he told a story. So, once upon a time, Ruben Sullivan was a legend for Interpol. Young, talented and so very clever, he had been the mastermind of pretty much every beautifully conducted art crime over the past ten years. In order to be the best, he was of course the student of the best before him. There was an old saying that when the student is ready, the master will appear. And he did.

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LIFE AS A MISSING SPOON, An excerpt

I found out that I was a junkie the next morning. I woke up and headed for the kitchen, urged on by the desire for a hearty breakfast. I had crisscrossed the country hitchhiking, and that is tiring. Hitchhiking is what it is, and doesn't make for an interesting story. Take Kerouac's On the Road, which is considered his best book, or at least his most famous one. Most hitchhikers I know don't like it too much.

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RUIN, an excerpt

The heat was unbearable. The swelter sucked me in and numbed me, the headstone burned my hand. A pack of dogs crouched nearby. Dulled from hunger and sloth, they were waiting for the funeral to end so they could feast on what family and friends had brought to the graves. Strange looking thanks to accidental interbreeding, these mongrels replayed the whole inexplicability of nature. With elongated snouts and short legs, with guilty eyes and shapeless ears, ugly and sunk in the general misery, they fed on human grief.

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THE SPHERICAL FISH, An excerpt

When the sun stops, the time in the Rocky Mountains will be 6:20. In the morning. The newlyweds from Denver, Jessica and Charlie, snuggling under an Indian blanket pulled up to their chins, will be sitting on a wooden bench in front of a hunting lodge, watching the sunrise. It will be beautiful.

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THE NATURALIST, An excerpt

On the scooter ride back Hien clung to her so tightly that she had to scold him. They crossed a city brimming with life, past the hotels and cabarets and restaurants, until the lights of Saigon gave way to jungle darkness. They lived on the outskirts of the city, in a cluster of one-story homes with concrete foundations and within earshot of an airfield. A central kitchen and courtyard was shared by all the families. In the day, French planes droned overhead, shaking furniture and wall hangings out of place.

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MACDONALD

Remember my dad, how he always sat in the kitchen by the window, just like on that afternoon. Drinking red wine.

"Are you going to the café?" Mom asked him. "You're usually gone by now."

"I'm going," he replied indifferently, before unexpectedly adding: "Y'all could come along."

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MITKO

There's a porousness to these pages, which are written with a kind of fickleness or fecklessness, so that what happens in the present (in my current present, now, before it becomes a more vivid and significant past) as I think these retrospective thoughts can enter, pervade and shift the currents of retrospection. But it's also true that these pages, which accrue so slowly and with such effort, change in their turn the reception of the present, digging channels which determine how new experiences are processed and perceived.

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FOREVER

(…) Gesh and I kissed for the first time at the Monument. There were bottles of beer rolling around our feet and cigarette butts smouldering beneath our army boots but Gesh and I were frozen in a moment of eternity: two ragged figures, embracing in the silence of the night between the bronze silhouettes and bayonets of Russian liberators. That same evening I went home drunk for the first time in my life. My mother got home a little bit after me. She was more drunk than me, thank God, and didn't realise.

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ME, MYSELF AND MY OLD MINOLTA

Photography came to me by accident. While living in Paris in 2006, I signed up for cooking classes organised by the city council, but they were fully booked. So up came my second choice: photoreporting combined with black and white darkroom techniques.

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