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The Chronicle of the Wrinkled-Face Sheikh

Salman Natour

‘No other inanimate object retains emotion as strongly as keys do. Fingerprints are engraved on them as if the laws of wear and tear do not apply.’

Domain

Louise Erdrich

‘Seven corporations control the afterlife now, and many people spend their lives amassing the money to upload into the best.’

Some Heat

Miranda July

‘No one knows why ripping up a name makes a person call – science can’t explain it. Erasing the name also works.’

The Ferryman Is Dead

Saša Stanišić

Here, more die than are born. There’s a refrigerator at the bottom of the lake. The ferryman is dead. No one is coming to take his place.

A Hebrew Sibyl

Cynthia Ozick

‘And so began what I was to become. To all these things – the admonitions and the testimonies, the rites and the annunciations – I had easily acquiesced.’

Blasphemy

Fatima Bhutto

The tourists are gone. They’ve fled to Islamabad, along with the landlords and the hoteliers and the battalions of police that used to defend them, and certainty has left with them.

The Alphabet of Birds

S.J. Naudé

‘She is standing there, her body like a lamp, waiting for the glass to break.’

Books and Roses

Helen Oyeyemi

‘A golden chain was fastened around her neck, and on that chain was a key.’

Hare in Love

Sam Coll

A wry, fanciful fable about how love can transform both nature and fate.

Ghosts

Brian Hart

‘The road pleasantly gained and lost elevation, flood gauges in dry washes and scraggy hilltops, corners that begged for two wheels not four.’

The Blood Drip

Brian Evenson

‘They had stumbled upon a town and tried to approach it, but had been driven off with stones.’

The Argentine Episcopate

Bernard Quiriny

‘I started working for the Bishop of San Julián in 1939, not long after the death of my husband.’

Relic Light

Eric Gamalinda

‘Unconfirmed stories that have been retold so often they acquire the polish of truth, like the rosary beads people here carry in their pockets and pull out whenever the need for reassurance arises.’

The Husband Stitch

Carmen Maria Machado

‘I have heard all of the stories about girls like me, and I am unafraid to make more of them.’

Bad Seeds

Masatsugu Ono

‘Evil, she told herself. That was the name of the flower.’

Zoraida

Tanya Rey

‘Desire was a slapping, bone-chilling wind the likes of which did not exist this close to the equator.’

Why I Can No Longer Look at a Picnic Blanket Without Laughing

Yukiko Motoya

‘But the customer had already been in the changing room for three hours.’

Birdie

Ann DeWitt

‘By the end of the summer, the city was fed up with our antics.’

The Family Friend

Julia Franck

‘We’ve got a lot of family friends but Thorsten has been coming round far too often recently and I wonder whether I shouldn’t tell her that sometime.’

The Love Machine

Julia Elliott

‘Beatrice was my first love. The dark contours of her delicate skeleton, the glowing flesh made translucent by my X-ray gaze, drove me crazy.’

Jill

Darcey Steinke

‘I had a new persona I’d been planning to introduce the first day of school: a girl wise beyond her years who was not at all nerdy or spastic or prone to crying jags.’

Satanás

Olivia Clare

‘I dislike sleep, he told the girl, matches keep me awake.’

Exotics

Callan Wink

‘He’d come to tell her that he was leaving. It seemed rather impossible now – the telling, not the leaving.’

River So Close

Melinda Moustakis

‘She’s a good-for-nothing chummer. If she survives a week on the slime line without cutting off her thumb or slicing her wrist, she’s hired.’

Grandma and Me

Thomas McGuane

‘Barring weather or a World Series game, on Sundays I’d pick up a nice little box lunch from Mustang Catering and take Grandma some place that smelled good.’

The Mast Year

Diane Cook

‘Sounds like a mast year . . . it’s a thing that happens to trees. But sometimes it happens to people too.’

Mirage

Claire Vaye Watkins

‘He had a mind to surf through all crises and shortages and conflicts past and present.’

Holiday

Mona Simpson

‘‘I have a body now,’ I whisper.’

Self-Portrait

Martin Amis

‘You’ve got your catflap, I’ve got my guy.’

Girl on Girl

Diane Cook

‘Marni on Mack. Mack in Marni. A little Mack and Marni. My head rushes. I want to watch, hear the sounds.’

Quarter Past Midnight

Marie-Helene Bertino

‘Flute-like, gauze-filled, late-afternoon sunshine. Rainbow bracelets on the carpet. They use their tongues to wet their lips. Girls.’

Once Was Dark

Josh Weil

‘When he opened his eyes, she was looking out at the rooster, the sun-blasted concrete, the railing thinned to brittle by the brightness.’

Let’s Tell This Story Properly

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

‘We are not burying one of us in snow.’

Smartening Up

Aoko Matsuda

‘‘Let’s become monsters together,’ she said, looking straight into my eyes.’

Bucket of Eels

Mitsuyo Kakuta

‘I was gazing into my empty bowl and realizing how little time it takes to eat when you’re not carrying on a conversation.’

Harmonica Hare

Yoko Ogawa

  Early in the morning, as was his habit, the man went out to change...