Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.
The summer solstice is this week, so as things heat up and before the days get shorter, we bring you our interview with Kazuo Ishiguro, where he recalls his summer job as a grouse beater for the queen mother; William Gass’s nostalgia-driven short story “Summer Bees,” in which an affair is fondly remembered; and Molly Peacock’s poem “A Hot Day in Agrigento.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Art of Fiction No. 196
Issue no. 184 (Spring 2008)
My first summer after leaving school I worked for the Queen Mother at Balmoral Castle, where the royal family spend their summer holidays. In those days they used to recruit local students to be grouse beaters. The royal family would invite people to shoot on their estate. The Queen Mother and her guests would get into Land Rovers with shotguns and whiskey and drive over bits of the moor from shooting butt to shooting butt. That’s where they would aim and shoot. Fifteen of us would walk in formation across the moor, spaced about a hundred yards apart in the heather. The grouse live in the heather, and they hear us coming, and they hop. By the time we arrive at the butts, all of the grouse in the vicinity have accumulated and the Queen Mum and her friends are waiting with shotguns. Around the butts there’s no heather, so the grouse have got no choice but to fly up. Then the shooting starts. And then we walk to the next butt. It’s a bit like golf. Read More