Devourings collects a variety of stories – each its own piece but bound to the next by a broader, unifying theme: being enveloped, devoured, by a moment, an encounter, a political situation, an emotion – which connect with absolute potency. Be they over a handful of paragraphs or a spread of pages, these short – and shorter – stories linger with a palpable resonance.
Devourings travels to many destinations, encompassing several scenarios and introducing myriad protagonists – and, frequently, antagonists. ‘Esthers’ follows a snaking murder plot set in 1940s Argentina; the malevolent machinations of ‘USS Passumpsic’ play out on a late-1950s Pacific. ‘The Lamb Opened The Fox’s Throat’ takes place in a fantastical ancient Arabia, a place of magic and little mercy. Geographically and chronologically divergent dramas are connected by a consistent, compelling tone.
Between the lines of dialogue: heat, dirt, desperation, realisation. Although imagined, these stories are sculpted as much by their stage as their players, landscape as significant a character as those who rise and fall before it. So the detail is always relevant: the texture of a city wall, the smell of the soil, the sweat cutting a strike across grimy skin. Mystery and myth, religion and science, war and love: the dramas’ cues come manifold. They each conclude consumed.
Devourings is James Vella’s first collection of short stories. British, of Maltese descent, and having spent substantial time in both territories, Vella’s fascination with travel – and the “dream travels” that real-world wanderings can stir in the imagination – has informed much of his writing.
Also a lyricist and accomplished musician, Vella has received critical acclaim for his songs. He lives in Brighton, where he works in the music industry. Vella’s debut novel will follow the release of Devourings’
Wistbook 009 / Edition series. 100 / Format. 3″cd and novella…
A murder mystery by one of today’s finest crime writers, “Jigokuhen” takes place in a declining coastal city whose once thriving harbours and shipyards now house a shadowy criminal underworld. Drawn into this world when the son of the city’s mayor is killed, a jaded middle-aged detective finds himself distracted by a beautiful unemployed dockworker who spends each day walking aimlessly along the shore, and whose mysterious past may just hold the key to solving the crime. Throughout the novella, these two characters act as allegories of the dingy concrete metropolis and the wild untamed sea that borders it, City and Nature constantly approaching and withdrawing. The plot reaches a climax with a shootout in a warehouse, but the action plays second fiddle to the relationship between the detective and the dockworker, which remains ambivalent and by the end of the novel remains unresolved. Quiet, yet intensely evocative, “Jigokuhen” is a literary tour de force.
Corridor8, a new international annual contemporary visual art and writing magazine, that started in 2009.
The ‘Borderlands’ edition, Strange Weather, extends our northern focus to the far-flung reaches of the UK from the midlands to the borders and beyond, and will feature the same mix of in-depth critical writing, profiles, art and literary writing we established in Issue 1..
Edited by Martin Bax since 1959 and publishing everyone from B S Johnson, JG Ballard and Carol Ann Duffy to Fleur Adock, Geoff Nicholson and Jonathan Lethem, Ambit is perfect for anyone looking for lively and compelling poetry, fiction and art from a spirited mix of writers.
Lynsey Addario: At War By Elizabeth Rubin
A photojournalist looks at war up close, most recently focusing on women soldiers in Afghanistan.
Cameras for a Dark Time By Ariella Azoulay
Custom-built cameras reflect upon the medium and the ongoing conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Lucia Nimcova: On Sleeping and Waking By Clare Butcher
Nimcova investigates the role of the image in private and official life in Socialist Czechoslovakia.
Interview with Carole Naggar
The famed Parisian photographer discusses his life and career.
Fastnacht By Magdalene Keaney
An age-old Lenten tradition continues—in full regalia—in Germany’s southern villages.