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from Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues

Ronald Sukenick

‘when rising expectations hit the upcoming decline hell was going to break loose it was already starting to break loose’

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.’

A Conversation Piece

George Steiner

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

A Discourse on the Elephant

Richard Rayner

‘This is not the story of my life, at least not the story of all of it, but it is the story of my father.’

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.’

A Ghost in Brazil

Kikuko Tsumura

‘I was ever so keen to visit the Aran Islands, but unfortunately, I died before ever making it out of Japan.’

A Man’s Life

Pajtim Statovci

‘I wished my family would die, my friends too, everybody I knew, because only that way could they never follow me wherever I went.’

A New World

V. S. Pritchett

‘What was this new world? It was their love for each other.’

A Play on Mothering

David Rakoff

‘His hands are a jewel box and I lean forward and peer in.’

A Religious Conversation

Orhan Pamuk

‘"Hello, sir. Do you recognize me?" "No, I'm afraid I don't."’

A Scream of Toys

Alan Sillitoe

‘Edie looked a long time at blue sky in a pool of water after rain before dipping her finger down for a taste.’

A Short History of Coronation Ale

Graham Swift

‘Rest assured, it was no ordinary ale that they drank by the Ouse while in Westminster crowds thronged.’

A Soap Opera From Hell

Clive Sinclair

‘It comes as no surprise when an ophthalmist informs him that the tears he does produce–the consequence of various allergies–are deficient, poor-quality facsimiles of the real thing.’

A Suburban Weekend

Lisa Taddeo

‘The facts. Fern was skinnier than Liv, but Liv was blonde and tall and her breasts were enormous and thrillingly spaced.’