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The Lens Factory

John Updike

‘It made him feel lopsided, this sense of being plucked at by nervousness and dread.’

A Brief History of Fire

Jennifer Vanderbes

‘My happiness was so deep I was afraid to speak of it.’

A Child’s Book of Death and Dying

Abraham Verghese

‘A fine morning mist had rolled down over Addis Ababa from the Entoto mountains, leaving a sheen on the lawn between the apartment buildings'.

Epistle to the New Age

Gore Vidal

‘I’m Bishop of Macedonia, as you will know in time if you are not lucky enough to be in time already.’

Second Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Forget about football: queuing and stamping are Brazil’s national sports.’

Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘In Brazil it is crucial not to be Argentinian. Add that to our Earth mission’s proceedings manual under the topic ‘Cultural Affairs’.’

Brazil: A User’s Guide

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘The Brazilian banking system was created by a Czech writer called Franz Kafka.’

Final Dispatch: End in Pizza

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Those are not prisons, they are condominiums for rich people. Or at least that is what rich people think.’

Wheels of Progress

Gemini Wahhaj

‘Now Bangladesh survives only on aid, on other people feeding its people.’

The Costa Pool Bums

Alan Warner

‘We were a helpless community put in motion together.’

The Deadman’s Pedal

Alan Warner

‘Each man’s right hand was stained black with glossy wet muck.’

Helen and Julia

Sarah Waters

‘She felt exhausted, emptied out; she thought of the day that had passed—it was astonishing to her, that a single set of hours could contain so many separate states of violent feeling.’

The Last Thing We Need

Claire Vaye Watkins

‘I think there will be lightning tonight; the air has that feel.’

Vacuum

Brad Watson

‘The mother told the boys that she was much unappreciated in this house.’

Tree Thieves

Josh Weil

‘The jungle was all stillness, time kept only by the markings of his breath.’

Future Shock

Kate Wheeler

‘Althea's neck strained. Her black, small eyes shifted swiftly, blinked, then fixed evilly on Ingrid.’

Give it up for Billy

Edmund White

‘Were there moral cataracts that one could remove?’

Telling Him

Edmund White

‘Austin invited his friend Joséphine, a children's book illustrator, to lunch‘.

Skinned Alive

Edmund White

‘Once in a very great while he referred to me playfully as his ‘husband’, despite his revulsion against camp.’

Down in Front

Colson Whitehead

‘This is the part where we find our seats. Step on toes, suck in gut, make yourself flat as a movie screen.’

Herself in Love

Marianne Wiggins

‘She thought, Love is a Revelation, like a religion, some religions; like Islam.’

Safety Catch

Lauren Wilkinson

Nothing dies because you can’t destroy energy.’

Gifted

Richard Williams

‘The interim report filed by the investigator from the coroner's bureau listed him as a black male, 5ft 7in tall, weighing 1351b‘.

Brass

Joy Williams

‘You’re the low-hanging fruit.’

Escapes

Joy Williams

‘We went directly out of the theatre and into the streets, my mother weeping on the little usher's arm.’

The Little Winter

Joy Williams

‘She remembered being happy off and on that day, and then looking at things and finding it all unkind.’

Hawk

Joy Williams

‘As regards to life it is much the best to think that the experiences we have are necessary for us.’

The Penitenitary

Tim Willocks

‘A million man-years of confinement had burnished the surface of the granite flags to a greasy smoothness ingrained deeply with filth and despair.’

Scandal

A. N. Wilson

‘His father had visited a prostitute and had been a spy. It was quite obvious to Julian that this was true. He was almost pleased to read it, for it justified his sense, never admitted to himself before, that Daddy Spoilt Everything.’

The Dreamed

Robert McLiam Wilson

‘His life needed more magic. Or more God.’

One More Last Stand

Callan Wink

‘It’s funny to think that we existed, us together, before either of our marriages.’

The Agony of Intimacy

Jeanette Winterson

‘We all knew that about the gods – that they were total sex.’

Orion

Jeanette Winterson

‘Every 200,000 years or so, the individual stars within each constellation shift position. That is, they are shifting all the time, but more subtly than any tracker dog of ours can follow. One day, if the earth has not voluntarily opted out of the solar system, we will wake up to a new heaven whose dome will again confound us.’

The Architect of Unrest

Jeanette Winterson

‘Buildings keep inside them what we love.’

The Cells, Tissues, Systems and Cavities of the Body

Jeanette Winterson

‘You were a coat of many colours wrestled into the dirt.’

The Poetics of Sex

Jeanette Winterson

‘My lover Picasso is going through her Blue Period.‘