‘She has never been very keen on the thought of herself as other people see her.’
Field Notes on a Marriage
‘I tell myself it doesn’t do to fixate too much on the dead: apart from everything else, they can’t answer you.’
‘I released the picture of my mother’s breast, which resized itself to auto-fit my smartphone’s display.’
‘She does not go home for her mother's funeral because the prospect of return gives her insomnia. She splurges on a coat from Miu Miu instead.’
The Wind That Lays Waste
‘Leni’s last image of her mother is from the rear window of the car.’
‘There she is: Dolores. Newly named. Sitting at the kitchen table inside the convent, conscious of how bad she must smell.’
The Girls and the Dogs
‘Maurice turns left, turns right, to loosen out the kinks in his neck. Images slice through him.’
‘Vicky says I’m crazy. She said worse things too last night. But who could blame her?’
At Yankee Stadium
‘From a series of linked couples they become one continuous wave, larger all the time.’
An excerpt from Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated from the French by Frank Wynne.
The Main Thing Is to Keep the Front Garden Immaculate
An extract from Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz, translated from the German by Rachel Ward.
The Silk Road
‘The choice of starting point wasn’t important; the important thing was to cycle through the same sequence of edges.’
Man of Principle
A novelette by Roy Chicky Arad, written after one of the wars of Israel in Gaza. Translated from the Hebrew by Maayan Eitan and Oded Even Or.
Susan and Miffy
‘The lust of an old man is disgusting but the lust of an old woman is worse. Everyone knows that.’
Yokosuka blue line
‘I close my eyes and circle my finger around the map. Wherever my finger lands.’
The Swallow’s Nest
Meet Gore Vidal in this excerpt from John Boyne’s novel A Ladder to the Sky.
‘I Am Going to Speak to You about Anxiety’
‘Her mother was still sitting on the sofa, stroking the left armrest while she talked.’
A coming-of-age story about an awkward roommate on Roosevelt Island, ordering bisexual porn tapes from catalogues and writing summaries of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for a living.
Slip of a Fish
‘Charlie’s swimming. Six strokes then she turns to breathe, six more and all the way to the end of the length. She’s a swimmer, Charlie. She’s a bit of a fish, a slip of a fish.’
Cowboys and Angels
‘I had me a cowboy once on a hot steam Friday night.’ New fiction from Chelsea Bieker.
I’ve Seen the Future, Baby; It Is Murder
‘It was not very comfortable, but the appeal of it was that we did not like each other.’
‘In terms of aspiration, leaving London was the new moving to London. You slogged it out, made a name for yourself, then decamped to the sticks and devoted yourself to trashing city life on Twitter while roaming the fields in pursuit of your tweedy ideals.’
‘Social services gave Mum a whole list of conditions she had to adhere to. She wasn’t allowed to be animals anymore, under any circumstances, or they would take Ghillie away from her.’
Shirley from a Small Place
‘The highs and lows of fame, have been far better and far worse than both mother and daughter could have hoped for. Shirley is only twenty-seven.’
The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman
Sagnik Datta’s ‘The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.