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Blameless

Claudio Magris

‘People think they’re destroying, but it’s hard work, nearly impossible; building is easy, illusory but easy.’

The Alarming Palsy of James Orr

Tom Lee

‘As it was, this gave the impression of two different faces, two different people, welded savagely together.’

White | State of Mind

Han Kang

‘I was told that she was a girl, with a face as white as a crescent-moon rice cake.’ New writing from Han Kang, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith.

From the Left Bank of the Flu

Misumi Kubo

‘The big road looked to me like a river, the cars rushing by as if carried along on its current.’

My Heart Hemmed In

Marie NDiaye

‘I stagger from the shock. I feel the corners of my mouth turning down. My jaw begins to tremble. Yes, yes, yes, I say to myself, get ahold of yourself.’

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.

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.’

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.’

Roma

Deborah Levy

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

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.’

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.’

Qualitative Leaps

Sana Krasikov

‘Breaking your family’s heart was the price you paid for rescuing your own.’

Chanel Nº 5

Victor Lodato

‘The liquid tingled, a subtle electrification, as the scent changed, bloomed, became an extension of the boy himself.’

Chekhov’s Ladies

Edna O’Brien

‘Malachi is brushing her hair, long, dark brown and with russet glints. She likes it, as he can tell from her smile in the mirror.’

Naugahyde

Gordon Lish

A story of ageing infidelity: ‘He would seek to remember and she would seek to remember – each succeeding a little differently from the other.’

Three Friends in a Hammock

April Ayers Lawson

‘I could not decide if love was real as a thing or something that could never entirely be proven, like God’

The Cleanse

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

‘There is foam on the sea of our blood. It is the foam of history. We are the survivors, we say.’

The Neighborhood

Kelly Magee

‘Can bad mothers be taught to be good? Or maybe, can we be incentivized to bond? To love?’

The Transition

Luke Kennard

In the not-so-distant future, middle-class underachievers are faced with a difficult choice: prison or motivational business classes.

Swimming Underwater

Merethe Lindstrøm

‘When I picture my childhood, it’s like I’m swimming underwater.’ Merethe Lindstrøm’s story is translated from the Norwegian by Marta Eidsvåg, and is the winner of Harvill Secker’s Young Translators’ Prize 2016.

Sarandí Street

Silvina Ocampo

‘Around the kerosene lamp fell slow drops of dead butterflies.’

The Weak Spot

Sophie Mackintosh

‘There was a certain kind of teenage girl who would relish not just the killing, but the trophy taking, choosing a tooth and using the pliers herself.’

Body Language

Juhea Kim

‘Always being pulled in opposite directions was how she remained upright.’

The Tenant

Victor Lodato

‘She’d gotten so used to her loneliness, she didn’t want to fall from it now.’

In the Garden

F.T. Kola

‘I too quiver. I resonate with the music that vibrates within her.’

things that didn’t happen

Sarah Moss

‘Suddenly, your heart began; suddenly in the darkness of your mother’s womb there was a crackle and a flash and out of nothing, the current began to run.’

Eat You Up

Kathleen Murray

‘Wasn’t it possible the mental shit would leave the kid’s brain, cell by cell, just by doing normal stuff?’

Navigation

Lisa McInerney

‘His aberrations are formless; he imagines his insanity as a sort of gaseous molecule, looking to react with bugs and glitches.’

The Pigeon

Faraaz Mahomed

‘The pigeon and I have a very warm and comfortable relationship.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.