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In a unique take on the London anthology 33 East features 16 brand new short stories for the whole of east London, from Enfield in the north to Bromley in the south. There is an act of heroism in Havering, a haunting in Tower Hamlets, a plan to thwart the renaming of West Ham station in Newham, and a philosophical approach to adultery in Lewisham. These are stories of movement and change that capture the individuality of each borough and the diversity of London better than any camera. Together with 33 West, which includes stories from Barnet to Croydon, 33 East is an unparalleled achievement. This is no small feat. This is London.
seminars and then exploited her new-found knowledge, hogging the phone when orders came in, pushing protein enriched treats that Greg was sure played havoc with dogs’ kidneys. She upped the price each time new stock arrived. When business dwindled she blamed him. One sub-zero night she locked him out of the house in a game that soon turned humourless. To drum initiative into him, she said. But he gave up and went off to kip on a banquette in The Mariners, handing two months’ Peak Fitness Doberman
dominates the far end the kitchen. You need to catch it, put down poison or traps or whatever, clear up and get out in half an hour as I’ve got some very important guests coming and I cannot have… oh god, this is so vile.’ Caroline goes to put her hand on Selwyn’s back to propel him into the room but then thinks better of it and instead ushers him in with a flap of her hand. ‘We’ll be in the drawing room. Just let yourself out when you’ve finished.’ Selwyn takes a long breath in through his
fingers felt safer than having to look at Jamie all the time. He told her she should not smoke; not in a patronising way, but with an honest assertion that ‘she must know she was stronger than her impulse to run away from feeling what she needed to feel’. What she felt was a strange kind of elation from being next to Jamie. And even though she thought of him as un-pretty, with a small scrawny body, she was drawn to him. It occurred to her that doing art, after so many years of not drawing and
they separated. Olga knew that if they were ever to divorce, they wouldn’t remain friends. He would always be her Steve, and she could never stop wanting him. A year later, though, Steve insisted on attending Olga’s graduation party. It made her happy. They drank champagne on the back lawn, standing awkwardly far from each other. It was a sunny day and she sweated underneath her gown and cap. The leaves were red again. She could barely see Jamie at the opposite end of the lawn, holding hands
‘Otherwise we’d have been left without a full set, wouldn’t we now?’ I thought of the set of photos I now had. All perfectly lit, some had me sporting a washed-out, meow-meow chic look, while others had me as an all-American girl, smiling whitely in Ralph Lauren linens. A couple of them had me as a Helmut Newton-esque nude (all glamazonian legs, oiled up skin and super contrasting blacks and whites). I had, of course, made sure not to tell mum about these. To think of her ever seeing me like