Apr/May 2016  •   Reviews & Interviews

Granta 134: No Man's Land

Review by Ann Skea

Granta 134: No Man's Land.
Sigrid Rausing, Editor.
Granta. 2015. 224 pp.
ISBN 978 1 905 881 93 2.

In her Introduction, Granta's editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing quotes the earliest Doomsday Book definition of "No Man's Land" as "parcels of land outside the London city walls," and she goes on to describe its later uses when it became associated with land disputes and executions, with war and with "marginal spaces and activities." This issue reflects just such a broad definition.

Rausing's background in anthropology, her work for Amnesty International, and her support for human rights organisations through the Sigrid Rausing Trust, all have clearly influenced this issue of Granta, so the pieces she has chosen to publish are not always comfortable or easy reading. Her broad interpretation of "no man's land," however, has allowed her to include work which ranges from Peter Pomerantsev's reportage from all sides of the Ukrainian/Russian conflict to David Rakoff's story about a woman's encounter with her schizophrenic brother. She also includes Lorenzo Meloni's evocative photographs of life and color in the grey, war-torn city of Kobane, and Matthew Welton's poems "in imitation of Thomas A. Clark"—a poet whose own poetry deals with the sparsely populated, lonely terrains of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

As usual, the standard of work in Granta is excellent, there is a wealth of good and interesting reading, and some of the articles in this issue, together with many more varied pieces, are freely available at the Granta website.


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