Aliens: We believe in them, we create them; we try to keep them where they are and, every now and then, we try to understand them.
First there was the traveller; then the word was emigrants. In America, they turned into immigrants. And today - in many parts of the world - they are (we are) aliens. From somewhere else. At odds with and yet fully inside of another culture. At home nowwhere.
This new issue of Granta features tales from the constantly shifting terrain of alien culture. Mark Gevisser writes of two closeted gay South African men, whose friendship has lasted five decades, dating back to a regime determined to keep black and white part.
Robert MacFarlane goes for a walk in Palestine, and meets families who can no longer return to their own homes. Nami Mun conjures a couple who feel like strangers in the wake of a terrible betrayal.
Whether it's the closely observed ecology of married life or the violent acts of criminals, this issue of Granta will draw into focus one of the most pressing issues of our time: Who do we call outsiders?
John Freeman's criticism has appeared in the Guardian, The New York Times, and The Sydney Morning Herald. Between 2006 and 2008, he served as president of the National Book Critics Circle. His first book, The Tyranny of E-Mail, was published in 2009.