In the not-so-distant future, middle-class underachievers are faced with a difficult choice: prison or motivational business classes.
Cow and Company
‘And now there were four of them stepping out to look for a cow.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize overall winner.
‘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.
‘She’d gotten so used to her loneliness, she didn’t want to fall from it now.’
Our Private Estate
‘Dozens of votive candles held aloft by mourners in white suits in procession. So much white, as if death could be engulfed in it, as if death itself was not an all-engulfing whiteness.’
The Weak Spot
‘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.’
‘Can bad mothers be taught to be good? Or maybe, can we be incentivized to bond? To love?’
‘The pigeon and I have a very warm and comfortable relationship.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.
‘Despair sat on her shoulders where her wings should have been. Darkness consumed her, the quivering lip of a dying abalone, grease in the barrel of a gun.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for the Pacific.
Through the Night
‘The person in the mirror watches her, slightly swollen, slightly blurred.’
‘That icy fear of the morning after slithered back: why does summer always feel like it belongs to someone else?’
‘His aberrations are formless; he imagines his insanity as a sort of gaseous molecule, looking to react with bugs and glitches.’
things that didn’t happen
‘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
‘Wasn’t it possible the mental shit would leave the kid’s brain, cell by cell, just by doing normal stuff?’
‘There is foam on the sea of our blood. It is the foam of history. We are the survivors, we say.’
Mayo Oh Mayo
‘Tonight there is a moon-rind, a nicotined fingernail, hanging low over the lake; above it, a Swarovski sparkler of a star.’