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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.’

The Bees that Disappeared

Keiichiro Hirano

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

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 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.’

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.’