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The Seventh Man

Haruki Murakami

‘I looked up at the sky. A few grey cotton chunks of cloud hung there, motionless.’

A Walk to Kobe

Haruki Murakami

‘What I’m talking about is a different sea, and different mountains.’ Haruki Murakami walks to his hometown after the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995.

The Husband Stitch

Carmen Maria Machado

‘I have heard all of the stories about girls like me, and I am unafraid to make more of them.’

Runs Girl | New Voices

Chinelo Okparanta

‘The year Mama fell sick was the year Njideka confessed to me that she was a runs girl.’

Thailand

Haruki Murakami

‘Living and dying are, in a sense, things of equal value.’

How It Ends

Andrew O’Hagan

‘Seagulls murmur overhead, and nip at the banks. You can hear almost nothing.’

Interesting if True

Phillip Knightley

‘The end of the war in the Pacific came just before I left school.’

Remission

Adam Mars-Jones

‘There's an awkward interval, when you're ill but not yet conditioned by illness.’

The Dune

Stephen King

‘Being able to read obituaries in advance gives a man an extraordinary sense of power.’

Baby Clutch

Adam Mars-Jones

‘Endlessly we reformulate our feelings for each other.’

Cary Grant’s Suit

Todd McEwen

‘North by Northwest isn't a film about what happens to Cary Grant, it's about what happens to his suit.’

Night

Alice Munro

‘I read books as usual, nobody knew there was a thing the matter with me.’

The Press Officer

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

‘The threat of Fujimori was well hidden. There was nothing we could do: the die was cast.’

In a Blue Time

Hanif Kureishi

‘When the phone rings, who do you most want it to be?’

Accident

Etgar Keret

’Thirty years I’m a cabbie,’ the small guy sitting behind the wheel tells me, ’thirty years and not one accident.’

The Magic Box

Olivia Laing

‘It never gets dark in Times Square. Sometimes I’d wake at two or three or four and watch waves of neon pass through my room.’ An essay on David Wojnarowicz's work, life and archives.

The Bridge

David Mamet

‘Surely the world was going to end. And probably in fire - in nuclear destruction, by mistake, or at the hands of madmen.’

River So Close

Melinda Moustakis

‘She’s a good-for-nothing chummer. If she survives a week on the slime line without cutting off her thumb or slicing her wrist, she’s hired.’

Diem Perdidi

Julie Otsuka

‘When you ask her your name, she does not remember what it is.’

Coming Down

Ved Mehta

‘I was besieged by family memories.’

Crow Fair

Thomas McGuane

‘You’re in a different world when your own mother doesn’t recognize you, or thinks you’re the stranger who gave her a hickey.’

The Easel

Sharon Olds

‘When I build a fire, I feel purposeful.’

Come, Japanese!

Julie Otsuka

‘On the boat we each had to make choices.’

OIF

Phil Klay

‘A few months later I was strapped up, M4 in condition 1, surrounded by 03s, backpack full of cash, twitchiest guy in Iraq.’

Mouth

Mario Vargas Llosa

‘I lost my left ear from a bite. . .Through the thin slit that remains I can hear the sounds of the world.’

The Conflicted Legacy of Meles Zenawi

Maaza Mengiste

‘Meles Zenawi’s legacy is as complicated as the life he chose to live, under a name (Meles) that he took from a fallen comrade during his days as a guerrilla fighter. ’

Bad Seeds

Masatsugu Ono

‘Evil, she told herself. That was the name of the flower.’

The Writing of ‘Or Shall We Die?’

Ian McEwan

‘There was too the challenge, as I saw it, of writing a singable English, simple and clear, that could express public themes without pomposity and private feelings without bathos.’

The Chronicle of the Wrinkled-Face Sheikh

Salman Natour

‘No other inanimate object retains emotion as strongly as keys do. Fingerprints are engraved on them as if the laws of wear and tear do not apply.’

Thank You for Having Me

Lorrie Moore

‘Every day there was something new to mourn and something old to celebrate.’

A Clean Marriage

Sayaka Murata

‘Frequency of sex since marriage: zero.’ Sayaka Murata on a sexless marriage and the ‘Clean Breeder’ technique for pleasureless reproduction.

Now A Major Motion Picture

Todd McEwen

‘None of these high-falutin pansy-ass would-be 'technologies' are going to save literature.’

Maud Newton | Portrait of My Father

Maud Newton

‘Exactly how long the prostitute, unbeknownst to my father, stayed at our house and slept in my bed is hard to gauge.’

Stones and Artichokes

Nicole Krauss

‘As we get older, the world grows to fit our fear of death.’

Chromium

Primo Levi

‘Life is full of customs whose roots can no longer be traced ... but in any event, why were pig's feet obligatory with lentils, and cheese on macaroni?’

My Father’s Life

Leonard Michaels

‘Six days a week he rose early, dressed, ate breakfast alone, put on his hat, and walked to his barbershop at 207 Henry Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, about half a mile from our apartment.’