‘When you die you revive in the world of the last book you were reading before your demise.’
‘This is where my imagination had gone: frittered away on longing and regret, just like everybody else.’
‘My eyes were way too large. They appeared, if this is possible, independently scandalized.’
The Perfect Choice
‘There are those who have an inborn gift for not being deceived in life.’ Translated from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff.
You Okay for Time?
‘She wants to talk, she wants to unburden herself, but there’s nothing left so all she can do is cry.’ Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori.
The Naming of Moths
‘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.
‘All colours are hurt spectacles, I think, and say aloud without intention.’ The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner for Asia.
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.
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.
Strange Heart Beating
‘Grief is the aggressive displacement of the self from a known universe to another.’
‘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.’
‘She sat sweating on the curb as her mother’s narrow face hovered over the parking lot like a hologram.’
‘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
‘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
‘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
‘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?’
Last Days on Corfu
A novel about the life of celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan. ‘You can feel her in every room. The chandeliers shiver.’
A Scale Model of Gull Point
Trapped in a revolving restaurant during an American revolution, Shel VanRybroek turns to tin-foil sculpture.
‘Nothing has changed, Edgar said. What new event is written into their history? None. Where is their future? Nowhere. Are they against or for progress? It was dark when Edgar took the box outside down to the rubbish heap and sprinkled the dead moths upon the ashes of the diseased pawpaw.’ Janet Frame on an unsettling natural process.
While the Nightjar Sleeps
‘But while the nightjar sleeps,’ said the mole, ‘it dreams of what it used to be and still sees beyond what isn’t true. And so can we, if we choose to look.’
‘I felt intolerably miserable. There were posters everywhere reminding me I was Manless’
‘The bag was full of fresh dogshit. The note attached read For my children and theirs.’
‘When I sleep, I dream of Will standing on our bed, flicking a whip against our faces. He draws blood.’
Bastard Alias the Romantic
‘Can you imagine what it would be like if instead of killing we cuddled?’
Dynamics in the Storm
‘You only have time to live your own life, and mine was falling apart.’
‘If you require further specifications, please consult your local supplier. They will be happy to help.’
‘There were rules to the game. I could not lose my virginity and I had to be careful not to let a boy go further than I wanted to.’
‘Hara had stumbled on a kind of play, as if they were sisters left alone by their parents for the first time to explore the different ways a day could be deconstructed.‘
‘He’s not himself’, Mum says in the kitchen. Well, who is he then? Is he 40 per cent of his young self? Ten? Do I still have to love him as much as ever, this 90 per cent stranger?
Every Person’s Little Treasure
‘It occurred to Ana that this was a woman who often left things hanging.’