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A Mother’s Dilemma

Victor Lodato

‘I can hear the girl scratching a pencil inside a notebook. I don’t like it. I’ve asked her not to write about me.’

A Season on Earth

Gerald Murnane

‘He had forgotten in the seminary how many distractions there were in the world.’

Agnes of Iowa

Lorrie Moore

‘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

Herta Müller

‘Who knows: what I write I must eat, what I don’t write – eats me.’

American Girl and Boy from Shobrakheit

Noor Naga

‘Question: is romance just a father who never carried you to bed carrying you, at last, to bed?’

At the Edge of Night

Friedo Lampe

An excerpt from Friedo Lampe’s At the Edge of Night, translated from the German by Simon Beattie.

Beetle

Joanna Kavenna

An excerpt from ZED, the forthcoming novel by Joanna Kavenna, a Granta Best of Young British Novelist.

Careless

Hiroko Oyamada

‘As I lay on the mattress, the white toe pads of the gecko floated up before me, against the vastness of the blue-black night. Rather than a presence, it seemed to me more like a trace, a barely discernible odour that flooded in on the air.’

Charlie Parker
Plays Bossa Nova

Haruki Murakami

‘That was the setup for the review I wrote about this imaginary record.’ Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.

Evensong

Todd McEwen

‘Characteristically my wife refused to be drawn into the situation while I became obsessed with it.’

Facsimiles

Linda Mannheim

‘There is nothing where the Towers should be but smoke. There are no buildings.’

If You Start Breathing

Thea Lim

‘Sharing her pain with other people meant that her pain belonged to her less, Joanne belonged to her less.’

Innards

Magogodi oaMphela Makhene

‘To pick the right heart, the old man said, you had to look for depth in the ruby, to prize a raw intensity of colour and a bright gold fat blanketing the angry muscle.’

My Mother Pattu

Saraswathy M. Manickam

Saraswathy M. Manickam’s ‘My Mother Pattu’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Nadine at Forty

Hilary Mantel

‘Each day we re-enact, on ourselves, what was done to us.’

Objects in Mirror

Maxim Osipov

‘He runs through the events of the day in his mind. Fairly frightening, really: the sudden request for his file, the question about the government. And the silence.’

Picking Up Nathan from the Airport

Benjamin Markovits

‘When shit like this happens, people don’t walk out on fifteen-year marriages.’

Portion of Jam

Mazen Maarouf

‘My father no longer goes to the hospital to work, because you don’t find nurses in wheelchairs working in hospitals.’

Providence

Sara Majka

‘It’ll always come to this, I said, laying my head on your shoulder.’

Rules for Visiting

Jessica Francis Kane

‘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.’

Simon

Daniel J. O’Malley

‘When we pulled up at the house, Simon was there waiting, on the porch.’ New fiction by Daniel J. O’Malley

The Billionaire Comes To Supper

Hanif Kureishi

A new short story from Hanif Kureishi.

The Last Rite of the Body

Sophie Mackintosh

‘My ex-boyfriend dies, and we all gather to put our hands into his body.’ New fiction from Sophie Mackintosh.

The Sole Purveyor of Madame Bovary in Beijing circa 1989

Amanda Lee Koe

‘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 Spread

Ben Lerner

‘He began to feel less like he was delivering a speech and more like a speech was delivering him.’

Vintage 1954

Antoine Laurain

An extract from Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain, translated from the French by Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken.

Vows

David Means

‘True love is, when seen from afar, a big fat cliché.’