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Granta 119 : Britain (Granta #119)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  129 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
It is a nation defined by tradition and built on expansion. Now it has more languages spoken within its capital than any other city in the world. What are the stories Britain is telling about itself today?
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Granta Books (first published May 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Kinga
Aug 24, 2015 Kinga rated it really liked it
It was fitting that this was the very first Granta issue to arrive at my door after I subscribed. Britain, it said. What, no longer Great, I thought.

When I first moved to the UK, I didn’t think I would stay here very long. I had 400 pounds to my name and my head was full of nonsense. I had acted on many half-cooked ideas before and somewhat expected this to be just another one of the kind. And yet, I weirdly found home here. I now have been here for almost seven years and it was a belated comin
...more
·Karen·
Jun 17, 2012 ·Karen· rated it really liked it
One of the Grantas that makes the subscription worthwhile. Adam Foulds proves that he can be earthy and up to the minute, and Jon McGregor is gentle, quiet and devastating. Look out for Andrea Stuart's Sugar in the Blood, nothing to do with diabetes, and Sam Byers. Oh, and Mark Haddon's piece was harrowing, breathtaking, phew.
Mandy Jo
Jul 13, 2012 Mandy Jo rated it liked it

This week’s headline? Bloody Broken English

Why this book? teacup on cover

Which book format? pre-ordered it online

Primary reading environment? took it places

Any preconceived notions? suspiciously high-brow literature

Identify most with? “some other Katherine”

Three little words? “another bleating windpipe”

Goes well with? “slight animal sourness”

Recommend this to? “girl named Clover”

None of these stories in particular got to me, although I enjoyed reading them. They were all overshadowed by the stor
...more
Chris
May 25, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing


This was pretty great. Stevenage by Gary Younge and Sugar in the Blood by Andrea Stuart are two reports from little acknowledged histories of British citizens. Silt by Robert Macfarlane is about a English geographical oddity. The Celt by Marion Vargas Llosa was a really good story iconoclasm and allegiances even though it did seem interminable (as I always find MVL's stories). Of the poems, Jamie McKendrick's Cofiwch Dryweryn, recalls a tragedy, not, perhaps, in the action itself ,but in the wa
...more
T P Kennedy
Jun 07, 2012 T P Kennedy rated it really liked it
A nice little electric collection. It's super to get an extract from the Mario Vargas Llosa book on Roger Casement (which I definitely won't be reading). The biographical, reflective essay on Stevenage made the work with buying in its now right. There's lots of other highlights - an excellent Simon Armitage poem, an unusually moving story by Rachel Seiffert and some excellent photography. There is an edge to this - this is reflective of England today. There's a darkness and an earthiness to seve ...more
Yasmine
Nov 17, 2013 Yasmine rated it it was ok
Sometime earlier this year I subscribed to Granta for four issues just to see if it was worth it. The answer was, not really. This was the third issue I received and so far all three have been similarly disappointing, with a lot of unmemorable pieces. Of course in each there are one or two that stand out, but even those don't meet the mark set by the fantastic short story collections I've read this year, like Junot Diaz's or George Saunders's. Best to stick to my usual mode of choosing books - v ...more
Susan Emmet
Jun 12, 2012 Susan Emmet rated it really liked it
A broken tea cup on the cover - fine china cracked, a golden handle sideways on the table. The image captures this edition of Granta. The poems, pictures, stories and non-fiction cover a wide range. I especially liked "Silt" and the rather disturbing section of photographs called "Home." Britain has long been torn by sectarian violence, the consequences of colonialism, increasing racial and ethnic diversity, the "Troubles" - and so much more.
So much reminiscent of American "troubles." Worth the
...more
Alistair
May 27, 2012 Alistair rated it really liked it
I'm a new subscriber to this magazine (though its more of a book produced periodically, given the quality of publishing), and its really good.
No other issues to compare it with, and the short fiction was good, but the nonfiction was surprisingly solid: Gary Younge's Stevenage original take on identity in a new town was a good start to the mag, but I'd definitely read Silt again, walking an offshore path at low tide.
really looking forward to the next issue.
Rosemary
Aug 16, 2012 Rosemary rated it really liked it
The cover picture represents the true title of this collection of stories from the British Empire, Broken Britain. This is a very dark collection of the other side of life, not the Jubilee or the Olympics but the down and out and disenfranchised, often violent and full of despair and hopelessness. Yet, somehow, I still enjoyed most of them, very good writing and good glimpses of another world that lurks beneath the glittery happy surface.
Maria
May 11, 2013 Maria rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Really enjoyed some of the stories, but couldn't really get into each and every one. (Loved Silt, though.)
I guess I'm just not ... used to modern writing? Is that bad?

But LOVE the cover art, and the spine especially!!
Richard Simcock
Jan 06, 2013 Richard Simcock rated it really liked it
The curated collection of photographs and pictures in 'Home' made a departure from Granta who usually use a single photo essayist. The images were very well chosen and collated and spoke very well of the lives of our island.
sisterimapoet
Jul 04, 2012 sisterimapoet rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction12
Not a theme that particularly appealed to me, but undoubtedly topical. A good selection of different perspectives relating to the theme - my favourite being the non-fiction piece by Robert Macfarlane.
Jimmie
Jul 26, 2012 Jimmie rated it really liked it
The standout pieces were Ross Raisin's "When You Grow into Yourself," Jon McGregor's "Clough," and Andrea Stuart's "Sugar in the Blood."
Catherine O'Flynn
Apr 01, 2013 Catherine O'Flynn rated it really liked it
Loved the Ross Raisin and John McGregor stories as well as the essays by Gary Younge and Andrea Stuart
Anne-Marie
Feb 04, 2014 Anne-Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-goldfinch
Loved the variety of the authors and the honesty about Britain and how it's changing.
Tansy E
May 29, 2012 Tansy E rated it did not like it
Granta becomes more and more disappointing.
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Granta magazine was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University as The Granta, a periodical of student politics, student badinage and student literary enterprise, named after the river that runs through the town. In this original incarnation it had a long and distinguished history, publishing the early work of many writers who later became well known, including A. A. Milne, Michael Frayn, ...more
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