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Emma Cline

‘It was the afternoons that did it, three o’clock like a kind of death knell, the house seeming too still, too many hours of sunlight left in the day. How had Thora even started going to the chat rooms?’

The Perfect Companion

Joanna Kavenna

‘She was so understanding, so interesting, such an intellectual. She was also a wristwatch, but this hardly mattered.’

Golden Vulture

Jason Ockert

‘Last summer, the boy still believed in miracles. That’s why he disobeyed his father and crossed the bridge. He wondered, back then, if his mother might be over there.’

The Temptation of St Anthony

Mark Haddon

‘He had not eaten today nor had he drunk. He would wait until the craving had passed, then allow himself to do both when it became a choice, not a lost battle in his long war against the base needs of the body.’

The Fearful Summer

Adam Nicolson

‘I saw the bodies. They were blotched under the skin where the blood had clotted & pooled. I have never seen the dead so dead.’

Clementine, Carmelita, Dog

David Means

‘Here I should stress that dog memory is not at all like human memory, and that human memory, from a dog’s point of view, would seem strange, clunky, unnatural and deceptive.’

How Things End

Ann Beattie

‘As I began to flip through a literary magazine, I was stopped by a photograph of myself as a young girl, standing beside my college professor.’

Burnt Sugar

Avni Doshi

‘I would be lying if I said my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure.’

The Skylight

Penelope Mortimer

‘Her body poured away inside the too-tight cotton suit and only her bloodshot feet, almost purple in the torturing sandals, had any kind of substance.’

The Colour Brown

Renu Sabherwal

‘It was, she thought, like trying on made-to-measure garments that have been tailored for someone bigger, smaller, rounder, thinner than you could ever hope to be.’

‘Doe Lea’

M. John Harrison

‘He was already suffering the attacks that would characterise the later stages of the illness, during which lights seemed to dance on the surface of everything. They were blue, lilac, pink and green, he said.’


Colwill Brown

‘They’d practiced it ont bus into town: to mek sure Kel gorrin, they’d go past bouncer together, talking reyt loud about periods, so he wouldn’t even bother asking Kel her date of birth.’

The Celebration

Cathy Sweeney

‘I had just come home from boarding school when Father took me aside and told me that Mother was up to her old antics, letting the whole family down, and that if she continued, we’d have to act.’


Guadalupe Nettel

‘Bonsai have always prompted a kind of fear in me, or at least a puzzling discomfort.’