for Shy Brides
‘The husband, when we are introduced, will already be the husband.’
The Biggest House on Earth
‘What is happiness? Nothing other than pausing at the bottom of the stairs to admire the portrait of a beautiful queen from some distant, foreign land.’
‘The sister has a headful of fine hair down to the small of her back. The golden colour of maize silk, her weave is not stiff and waxy like Chipo’s, but moves in the breeze.’
Harley Hern’s ‘Screaming’ is the Pacific regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
‘The bro has a pair of plump dogs over which he deploys nauseating quantities of ketchup.’
The Summer After the War
‘As it was, my grandfather began helping me to paint without my having to ask him.’
The Fall of Saigon
‘I wanted to see a communist victory, which I presumed to be inevitable. I wanted to see the fall of a city.’
The Imam and the Indian
‘We were both travelling, he and I: we were travelling in the West. The only difference was that I had actually been there, in person.’
Where is Kigali?
‘Evariste was the nightwatchman. He and I were alone in the house in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, when the killing started.’
Those Who Felt Differently
‘Could grief for one woman have caused all this? We were told so.’
The View from this End
‘It lay like a sodden comma, curled up against its mother, and no one realised it was dead.’
‘Which deaths are tragic and which are not? Who decides what is big and what is little?’
‘This had happened once before, / when my life first split / into comfort and pain.’
‘After all my travels, I can see now what I couldn’t when I started. In the suffering pollution brings, there is also the glimmer of a different future, its outlines visible through the haze.’
The Poem in the Pocket
‘The note stated that it was by Borges, and I believed that, or at least I wanted to believe it.’
Martin Goodman | Notes on Craft
Martin Goodman on why it took him twenty years to write his latest novel, J SS Bach.
How I Became an SJW
‘I had become a pacifist in the time it took to run between the bedroom and the bathroom of a London flat.’
Ten Thousand Feet
‘I go up and watch the avenue through the window. Noise and more noise. An avenue of insects, stray bullets and snipers sprawled on the rooftops.’
My Biggest Insecurity About the Garden
‘Pathos is suffering. But is it suffering to realize a dream, however puny?’ New fiction by Caoilinn Hughes.