The Wind That Lays Waste
‘Leni’s last image of her mother is from the rear window of the car.’
Alexia Tolas’ Granma’s Porch is the Caribbean regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
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.’
‘There she is: Dolores. Newly named. Sitting at the kitchen table inside the convent, conscious of how bad she must smell.’
An excerpt from ZED, the forthcoming novel by Joanna Kavenna, a Granta Best of Young British Novelist.
‘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.’
The Girls and the Dogs
‘Maurice turns left, turns right, to loosen out the kinks in his neck. Images slice through him.’
Constantia Soteriou’s ‘Death Customs’, translated from the Greek by Lina Protopapa, is the regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018 for Canada and Europe.
All silky and wonderful
A trip on a commuter train takes a surreal turn in new fiction by Ben Pester.
My Mother Pattu
Saraswathy M. Manickam’s ‘My Mother Pattu’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Harley Hern’s ‘Screaming’ is the Pacific regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
A Season on Earth
‘He had forgotten in the seminary how many distractions there were in the world.’
The Sole Purveyor of Madame Bovary in Beijing circa 1989
‘In the day, his bevy of besotted rustics were coached in maxims of libertarian socialism. By night: rice wine orgies and folk punk sing-alongs.’
‘The bro has a pair of plump dogs over which he deploys nauseating quantities of ketchup.’
Rules for Visiting
‘It wasn’t until the end of dinner, when my aunt started clearing and my grandmother demanded another bottle of wine, that I began to understand.’
American Girl and Boy from Shobrakheit
‘Question: is romance just a father who never carried you to bed carrying you, at last, to bed?’
The Summer After the War
‘As it was, my grandfather began helping me to paint without my having to ask him.’
‘Characteristically my wife refused to be drawn into the situation while I became obsessed with it.’
‘Vicky says I’m crazy. She said worse things too last night. But who could blame her?’
The Little Winter
‘She remembered being happy off and on that day, and then looking at things and finding it all unkind.’
At Yankee Stadium
‘From a series of linked couples they become one continuous wave, larger all the time.’
Agnes of Iowa
‘Through college she had been a feminist – more or less. She shaved her legs, but just not often enough, she liked to say.’
Always the Same Snow and Always the Same Uncle
‘Who knows: what I write I must eat, what I don’t write – eats me.’
A Man’s Life
‘I wished my family would die, my friends too, everybody I knew, because only that way could they never follow me wherever I went.’
My Enemy’s Cherry Tree
‘And the truth is, my heart was tied in knots, and pain bored into the marrow of my bones when I heard about his illness.’
‘We’re trying to prove that it’s possible to live sustainably and not be such a freak about it.’
‘It had taken Noni many years to stop wishing she’d been a woman like that.’