Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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Lessons

Justin Torres

‘We were six snatching hands, six stomping feet; we were brothers, boys, three little kings locked in a feud for more.’

A Few Words on the Life Cycle of Frogs

Patricio Pron

‘I wasn’t going to abandon the dream of literature, I was going to keep dreaming.’

The Barn at The End of Our Term

Karen Russell

‘Eleven of the stabled horses are, as far as Rutherford can ascertain, former presidents of the United States of America.’

The New World Order

Harold Pinter

‘He hasn’t got any idea at all of what we’re going to do to him.’

The Boys of Karachay Lake

Angela Pelster

‘When the fish in Karachay Lake, south of the Ural Mountains, Russia, went blind, not everyone stopped eating them.’

The White Hole of Bombay

Nicholas Shakespeare

‘If you like people who hate each other, it’s paradise.’

The Moon and Back

Jessica Thummel

‘John Wayne Durler had always needed something to run from.’

Unguided Tour

Susan Sontag

‘The more that places, customs, the circumstances of adventures are changed, the more we see that we amidst them are unchanging.’

After That, We Are Ignorant

Bilal Tanweer

‘He used to see things in his dreams and made them his policies. Yup, Americans loved his dreams because he was screwing the Soviets and Comrades in them.’

Put Not Thy Trust In Chariots

Jonathan Tel

'David had nothing against Arabs personally.This despite the fact he was religious (he wore a blue-and-white kippa which had been knitted by his wife, Devorah, as an engagement present.'

Destiny

Tim Parks

‘Destiny: there are those who still believe this word has meaning’.

The Five Of Us

Lisa St Aubin de Terán

‘The freezing of the money signalled the beginning of virtual penury. It also signalled the beginning of our fame.’

The Emotions are not Skilled Workers

Elliot Perlman

‘He is wrong, though. You didn’t read poetry at all. He had wanted you to read poetry but you didn’t.’

The Sex Lives of African Girls

Taiye Selasi

‘She has the most genuine intentions of any woman out there.’

Why I Love Country Music

Elizabeth Tallent

‘The harmonica player is left standing alone in the light, talking to himself. He cleans the spit from his instrument with a white handkerchief so old it is nearly transparent.’

Scale

Will Self

‘Some people lose their sense of proportion; I've lost my sense of scale.‘

A Battle

Patrick Süskind

‘Early one August evening, when most people had already left the park, two men sat confronting one another across a chessboard.’

The New Veterans

Karen Russell

‘Pain unwound itself under her palms‘

Marching Songs

Keith Ridgway

‘I believe, though I cannot prove, that my illness is due directly to the perverted Catholicism and megalomania of Mr Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, whom I met once.’

The Ship at Anchor

Frederic Tuten

‘Those words made me wonder why I ever wanted to be an artist, why I ever wanted to live, though I never thought I wanted to die.’

Wavery’s Last Post

Nicholas Shakespeare

‘At five in the afternoon, the Bahia de Abyla sailed out of Algeciras.‘

Tokyo Year Zero

David Peace

‘The song, the voice, and the heat; men on their knees, heads in hands, sobbing and now howling.’

Resolution

Jim Shepard

‘Everything suggests an ongoing and immemorial enervation. A kind of trance in the air.’

Fast Lanes

Jayne Anne Phillips

‘I was vanished, invisible, another apartment left empty behind me, my possessions given away, thrown away, packed away in taped boxes fit into an available vehicle.’

Every Tuesday

Carola Saavedra

‘A stranger may well function as a projection screen.’

Martha, Martha

Zadie Smith

‘Outside a plane roared low like some prehistoric bird, Pam shuddered; Martha did not move.’

Mother And Son

Akhil Sharma

‘I also tried holding my breath for a moment longer than necessary and asking God to give the unused breaths to Birju.’

Valdir Peres, Juanito and Poloskei

Antonio Prata

‘The only path to tread, from now on, was downward.’

The Siege of Leningrad

Mikhail Steblin-Kamensky

‘Alexander Ivanovich woke at six, the hour when radio broadcasting would normally have begun, but the radio had been silent for a month now.’

Buffalo Soldiers

ZZ Packer

‘No bullet, no recoil, no shot.’

New World (Part Four)

Jonathan Raban

‘Sleep has disassembled the self: it will take patience to rebuild a person out of the heap of components in the bed.’

The Portage to San Cristobal of A. H.

George Steiner

‘At moments Hitler’s head brushed against Gideon’s cheek like a clump of wet leaves.’

Philanthropy

Suzanne Rivecca

‘The novelist/philanthropist was more vigorous than her wax-figure photographs, and at the same time much frailer.’

Ramadan

Mona Simpson

‘His articulate hands moved around my face as if fashioning an imaginary veil there.’

A Conversation Piece

George Steiner

‘No. Listen to me. God's confidence in Abraham was not total. Let me hammer out my meaning.’

Jesus Who?

Alison Smith

‘Jesus came walking across the lawn, a grin on his face. I waved. “Hi, Jesus.”’