Mailing List


David Isaacs
David Isaacs is currently working on a PhD about the ethics of revision at UCL. He writes when he can. 'Pylons' was shortlisted for the 2017 White Review Short Story Prize (UK & Ireland).

Articles Available Online


Christine Schutt’s ‘Pure Hollywood’

Book Review

June 2018

David Isaacs

Book Review

June 2018

There is a certain kind of American novelist of the late twentieth century whose fiction fetishises plant names. The ability to inventory the flora...

Prize Entry

April 2017

Pylons

David Isaacs

Prize Entry

April 2017

Once upon a time, Dad would begin, I think, focusing on the road, there was a man called Watt....

Malcolm Starke died today who rang us most nights so late that it could only be him He’d been there forever sinking audible coins into the payphone at the flats where he was watchman and they tried to fire him once for being sockless Greeting me with Alasdair’s name or him with mine he would catch us on the line and in a voice of infuriating softness tell us about Turkey the times he went to Turkey and the National Gallery which is on Trafalgar Square We’d lurch and charge around in absolute quiet sometimes laying the receiver on a chair, drawing long daggers into our hearts cocking our necks on invisible rope slashing our throats with giant swords bellowing fuck off with our huge silent teeth For birthdays he knew us apart and on scraps of scissored foolscap drew us into trains and carriages drew us in turbans and pyjamas drew us Turkish, presumably No likeness at all, covered in tipex, I kept them all I have every one They were always two days early never the same he’d never met either of us But you knew him at university You kept inviting him round after he was arrested for talking to girls and embarrassing people And though you sometimes seemed the least patient of us three, though you’d thank us when we’d told him you weren’t at home, you raised us in a house where Malcolm Starke might ring at any moment, where he was never far away and he was ours He felt that nuclear waste could be disposed of by firing it into the sun He felt that a sinister committee had taken remote control of his valuable brain That sometimes they didn’t ‘play fair’ with him He

Contributor

August 2014

David Isaacs

Contributor

August 2014

David Isaacs is currently working on a PhD about the ethics of revision at UCL. He writes when he...

Prize Entry

April 2016

Seasickness

David Isaacs

Prize Entry

April 2016

‘How would you begin?’   She puts a finger to her lips, a little wrinkled still from the water,...

‘How would you begin?’   She puts a finger to her lips, a little wrinkled still from the water, and hesitates She says, ‘Maybe: the sea was like badly-spread icing’   ‘Really? Christ,’ he says ‘Come on’   ‘What’s wrong with that?’ Her face seems hurt ‘For a start,’ he says with a seriousness she takes to be comic, though sometimes it’s hard to tell, ‘don’t begin with a simile Absolute first rule: never begin with a simile Similes deepen our understanding, they don’t bring things into being You can’t deepen an understanding of what’s not there You can’t deepen nothing’ Her eyebrows rise ‘I’m not sure about that Second?’ ‘Well, look,’ he says, ‘I don’t think the past tense is right We’re not erecting some kitsch Victorian pavilion, are we?’ ‘Aren’t we?’ ‘This isn’t some bourgeois chronicle of social betterment, is it?’ ‘Isn’t it?’ ‘This is more of a –’ what’s a good word? – ‘politically immediate piece about the construction of a people’s imaginative world and the, the limits of individual sympathy, isn’t it?’ ‘Is it?’ ‘What gets left out of the picture’ ‘If you say so’ ‘So the present tense is surely more appropriate’ ‘You said it’ ‘The past tense says tradition, convention, conservatism’ ‘Ok’ ‘But we want to announce, with the first sentence, that we’re fucking about with form’ She blows air through her closed mouth ‘Sorry,’ she says, ‘but I missed the bit where we said that you get to decide what the story is I thought we were collaborating I thought the joy of collaboration was that, you know, tossed about on a metaphorical sea of intersubjectivity or whatever, you don’t know where you’re going to end up You relinquish your individual agencies, remake yourselves inside each other’ (A good moment to bring up the subject of having kids? Probably not, tbh) ‘So let’s try a little harder to remove ourselves from a rigid, patriarchal understanding of authorship, huh?’ To which he says, ‘Sounds like someone’s trying to universalise her own systems here, sounds a little like someone’s trying to drag me into her
How things are falling.

Prize Entry

April 2015

David Isaacs

Prize Entry

April 2015

i.   Oyster cards were first issued to members of the British public in July 2003; by June 2015 they will have been replaced...
by Accident

fiction

April 2014

David Isaacs

fiction

April 2014

[To be read aloud]   I want to begin – and I hope I don’t come across as autistic or anything like that (and...

READ NEXT

fiction

August 2013

How to Be an American

Will Heinrich

fiction

August 2013

Begin with a man on the beach. The sea is strangely iridescent, lighter in its lights and blacker in...

Interview

Issue No. 5

Interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist

Ben Eastham

Interview

Issue No. 5

Hans Ulrich Obrist is a compulsive note taker. For the duration of our interview one hand twitches a pen...

Art

September 2011

Interview with Marnie Weber

Timothée Chaillou

Art

September 2011

Los Angeles-based artist Marnie Weber has spent her career weaving music, performance, collage, photography and performance together into her...

 

Get our newsletter

 

* indicates required