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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.’

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.’

The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie

‘Then winter ended and spring came, and I thought, even if I don’t believe there’s a poem in anything any more, maybe I’ll write a story.’

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.’

Self-Portrait

Martin Amis

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

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.’

The Bees that Disappeared

Keiichiro Hirano

‘It was during this period that I got to know K, one of the local mailmen.’

Hare in Love

Sam Coll

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

Small Differences

Catherine Lacey

‘Everyone should just sit very still until they reach the calmer waters of later-young-adulthood, that promised land of lowered expectations.’

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.’

Bad Seeds

Masatsugu Ono

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

Thank You for Having Me

Lorrie Moore

‘Every day there was something new to mourn and something old to celebrate.’

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.’

A Clean Marriage

Sayaka Murata

‘Frequency of sex since marriage: zero.’ Sayaka Murata on a sexless marriage and the ‘Clean Breeder’ technique for pleasureless reproduction.

Final Fantasy III

Tao Lin

‘On the F train to Manhattan I emailed a friend in the UK. I said I couldn’t write my essay about Japan.’

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.’

The Blood Drip

Brian Evenson

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

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.’

After Ida

Elise Winn

‘The year I turned seventeen, the cicada chorus was deafening, as if they were impatient for the real beginning of summer and didn’t realize they were it.’

Holiday

Mona Simpson

‘‘I have a body now,’ I whisper.’

How Am I Supposed to Talk to You | New Voices

Lauren Holmes

‘Okay don’t sell yourself,’ said my mom, ‘sell the American dream.’

Mirage

Claire Vaye Watkins

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

Car Concentrate

Etgar Keret

‘Women mostly touch it tentatively with the backs of their hands.’

Pink

Tomoyuki Hoshino

‘Spinning makes all that is illusory fall away. The things that remain – those are the things that are real.’

Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte

Kazushige Abe

‘The crucial thing was to cool the baby off, bring the fever down.’

Breakfast

Toshiki Okada

‘If I had known she were heading for Tokyo then, and if I had known she thought of Tokyo as a city of zombies, I would have wanted to know, of course, whether she saw me that way, too.’

In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman

‘My wife and I were both the children of Pakistanis, immigrants, Muslims, and we had faith that our union was of things greater than ourselves.’

Kinder Than Solitude

Yiyun Li

‘Being let down was Celia’s fate; life never failed to bestow upon her pain and disappointment she had to suffer on everyone’s behalf, so that the world could go on being a good place, free from real calamities.’

Things Remembered and Things Forgotten

Kyoko Nakajima

It was something Takashi remembered but Masaru had forgotten.

The Alphabet of Birds

S.J. Naudé

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

Let’s Tell This Story Properly

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

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

The Argentine Episcopate

Bernard Quiriny

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

Off the Road

Andrew Brown

‘She acted as if her own desires magnetized the world, and when you were close to her, she magnetized your moral compass too.’

Filling Up With Sugar

Yuten Sawanishi

‘The vagina was the first part of her mother’s body that turned to sugar.’

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.’

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.’