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The Naming of Moths

Tracy Fells

‘Sophia no longer worries about how life smells, if she breathes in too deeply all she tastes is ash.’ The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner from Canada and Europe.

Araben

Pooneh Rohi

‘Like all roads, this one too comes to an end.’ A Swedish novel that looks at the realities of the immigrant experience.

Who Is Like God

Akwaeke Emezi

‘I grew up thinking He was folded into her body, very gently, like when she folded sifted icing sugar into beaten egg white, those kinds of loving corners.’

Blue Self-Portrait

Noémi Lefebvre

‘One piece of luck: I didn’t explain to the pianist how to play the piano.’ Translated from the French by Sophie Lewis.

Drawing Lessons

Anushka Jasraj

‘All colours are hurt spectacles, I think, and say aloud without intention.’ The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner for Asia.

The Death of Margaret Roe

Nat Newman

The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner from the Pacific. ‘Every person has their own secrets, but Margaret Roe had Havilah Brown’s.’

Train Dreams

Denis Johnson

In the summer of 1917 Robert Grainier took part in an attempt on the life of a Chinese laborer caught, or anyway accused of, stealing from the company stores of the Spokane International Railway in the Idaho Panhandle.

Happy Hour

Denis Johnson

The day was ending in a fiery and glorious way. The ships on the Sound looked like paper silhouettes being sucked up into the sun.

Consolata

Nuala O’Connor

‘Daddy always said our apples were blessed because the order lived beside us. He liked to gift crates of Egremont Russets, the sweetest of all his fruit, to the sisters.’

Strange Heart Beating

Eli Goldstone

‘Grief is the aggressive displacement of the self from a known universe to another.’

Roma

Deborah Levy

‘Her husband who is going to betray her is standing inside the city of Roma.’ Dreams of infidelity from Deborah Levy.

A Wooden Taste Is the Word for Dam a Wooden Taste Is the Word for Dam a Wooden Taste Is the Word For

Jesse Ball

‘My friends, what I mean is, this life is shallow like a plate. It goes no further.’

The New Me

Halle Butler

‘But I feel sure. Making some decisions today, no doubt about that! Not thinking about certain things today, no doubt about that!’

Los Angeles

Emma Cline

‘It was only November but holiday decorations were already starting to creep into the store displays.’

Uri

Joshua Cohen

‘There’s just no way, unassisted, to commit suicide. But then there’s no way to be just a human, isolated, stripped or just stripped of contexts – because even a cell must have a floor, a ceiling, walls.’

Trump Sky Alpha

Mark Doten

‘Mr President, we can get you into a bunker with full communication equipment and you can give your address there, you just can’t do it in a goddamn plastic blimp at the start of World War III.’

Revolutions

Jen George

‘Small praise was like a drug for party members, though we used real drugs too, hard ones, drugs that imbued one with the facility for ruthless violence and multiple orgasms.’

Day 4

Rachel B. Glaser

‘She sat sweating on the curb as her mother’s narrow face hovered over the parking lot like a hologram.’

Yport

Lauren Groff

‘She pokes her head through the skylights and sees the tide far out, the exposed seabed sinister as the surface of the moon. Tiny people pick their way across.’

Leaving Gotham City

Yaa Gyasi

‘I can’t remember the last time we said I love you before hanging up the phone. I can’t even remember the last time we said goodbye.’

The Meat Suit

Garth Risk Hallberg

‘All life is suffering. At the zendo where Jolie went Thursdays after sixth period, not much in the way of portable wisdom got dispensed, but this was, near as she could tell, the through line.’

Country & Eastern

Greg Jackson

‘Anyone could find courage when the World-Historical Spirit had selected you to enact your martyrdom on the Six O’Clock News. But in the shadows, in secret, unrecognized?’

Remembering Westgate

Sana Krasikov

‘I wonder if the only way to grasp what is terrifying and unimaginable for those of us who haven’t experienced it is to feel around the contours of inescapability, the boundary of its negative space.’

The Answers

Catherine Lacey

‘And each time I hit the tarmac I had this terrible feeling that the trip I’d just taken had never even happened, that I’d spent hundreds for a memory I could barely recall.’

Bright Circle

Ben Lerner

‘Things he dreamt began to show up in the bushes, the plastic figurine from a parachute firework, the small dull rusted circular saw blade he thought of as a throwing star, and he pocketed those things.’

The Anthology

Karan Mahajan

‘Long before terrorism became fashionable in the West and commonplace in the East, there was a bombing at the Sovereign Center in Delhi.’

Lipari

Anthony Marra

‘Frank Laganà stood on the cliff suited in black, as straight as an exclamation point, poised to leap to his death once again.’

This Is Our Descent

Dinaw Mengestu

‘When it came to our son, her defensive instincts were well-developed and all the more necessary because it was hard from the outside to see why we were so protective.’

Brom

Ottessa Moshfegh

‘I stay mostly in my bedroom chambers, examining what has found its way into my pores or the mucoid crook of my eye.’

All the Caged Things

Chinelo Okparanta

‘All that thought of home gave the girl a sickly feeling, the longing of something so out of reach, something she wasn’t even sure she could any longer truly remember.’

What Terrible Thing It Was

Esmé Weijun Wang

‘Dennis with his bespectacled eyes on his phone, performing the act of emotional multitasking. While I’ve been psychotic, he’s been phone banking.’

I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness

Claire Vaye Watkins

‘The uncooperative cadence of the phrase my myspace page perfectly encapsulates the awkwardness of the early oughts when our story begins.’

Last Days on Corfu

Amelia Gray

A novel about the life of celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan. ‘You can feel her in every room. The chandeliers shiver.’

Borne

Jeff VanderMeer

‘The map of the old horizon was like being haunted by a grotesque fairy tale, something that when voiced came out not as words but as sounds in the aftermath of an atrocity.’

The Unmailed Letter

Kseniya Melnik

‘I was already suspicious of you before you were even born. You were Mama’s then, eating her up from the inside like a little cancer. She became yellow. She lost chunkfuls of hair.’

Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead

Olga Tokarczuk

‘They gazed at us calmly, as if we had caught them in the middle of performing some ritual whose meaning we could not fathom.’