Mystery in everyday objects

‘The surest and quickest way for us to arouse the sense of wonder is to stare unafraid at a single object.’ Cesare Pavese wrote those words in Dialogues with Leucò, one of two quotations that preface Lara Pawson’s deceptively slim third book, Spent Light. When her dog starts killing squirrels, Pawson cooks them, acquiringa Whitby Wild Cat skinning knife Pawson takes the Italian writer at his word, turning to a toaster for inspiration. The electrical appliance, which appears two pages in, is a gift from a neighbour, Reg, after his wife dies. Pawson uses it to launch a deeply empathetic piece of writing exploring the brutality of the world in

The frock that rocked a nation

When was the last time a TV show really rocked a corrupt government? Was it one of the legendary investigative shows — 60 Minutes, Dispatches or Panorama? In fact, it was a tawdry reality show. For all the efforts of hard-digging investigative journalists, one of the biggest recent scandals that came to light as a result of TV exposure was all down to the American wedding reality show Say Yes to the Dress. No, really. It almost brought down the government of Angola. The show is a masterpiece of its type. Set in New York’s legendary and exclusive Kleinfeld bridal store, the concept is simple — every week, glamorous brides