All silky and wonderful
A trip on a commuter train takes a surreal turn in new fiction by Ben Pester.
‘Our reasons for purchasing a reJesus no doubt require little explanation.’
The Pine Islands
‘Gilbert Silvester woke up distraught. Mathilda’s black hair lay spread out on the pillow next to him, tentacles of a malevolent pitch-black jellyfish.’
‘To be fair, it is near a waterfall; although, to be fair again, everything around here is near a waterfall.’
To the Dogs
A short story by Jianan Qian on stray dogs, desperation and re-education in rural China during the Cultural Revolution.
The Nature of Man
‘Viewed from above, the traffic was reflective as water, cars moving in wavelike shimmers over the surface of the freeway.’
Anna Leader’s translation of ‘Real Men’ by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the winner of the 2019 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize.
The Marriage Finger
‘On the marriage finger was a gold ring topped with a big prong-set stone.’ New fiction by Kathryn Scanlan.
‘For the governesses, moving in with Monsieur and Madame Austeur was like a homecoming.’
Constantia Soteriou’s ‘Death Customs’, translated from the Greek by Lina Protopapa, is the regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018 for Canada and Europe.
A Man’s Life
‘I wished my family would die, my friends too, everybody I knew, because only that way could they never follow me wherever I went.’
‘It had taken Noni many years to stop wishing she’d been a woman like that.’
Lois and Varga
‘Shells, like the kind on the sand of the beach, that’s all they are. That’s all any of us are. All these colored shells, each one trying to be picked up before the rest.’ New fiction by Lisa Taddeo.
‘I put the breast milk in the fridge and lie down on the bed. I pretend I am dead, underneath the earth with a bag of Cheetos.’
My Enemy’s Cherry Tree
‘And the truth is, my heart was tied in knots, and pain bored into the marrow of my bones when I heard about his illness.’
New fiction from Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft.
Alexia Tolas’ Granma’s Porch is the Caribbean regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
‘It didn’t take long for the citizens of Moscow to realize that if you had no choice but to stand in line, then Pushkin was the man to stand next to.’