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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.

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.’

A Killing

Katherine Faw Morris

COKE SMELLS COLD AND CHEMICAL LIKE THE INSIDE OF A REFRIGERATOR. It’s what back then smells like, now when she thinks of it.

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.’

After the War, Before the War

David Peace

‘At last, at last. His first steps, on Chinese soil.’

Bad Seeds

Masatsugu Ono

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

Bakamonotako

Brenda Shaughnessy

‘Bakamonotako felt she didn’t need all eight of her appendages. Four would do.’

Birdie

Ann DeWitt

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

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.

Books and Roses

Helen Oyeyemi

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

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.’

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.’

Car Concentrate

Etgar Keret

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

Dangerous

Joy Williams

‘Grief knows how to love them because we don’t know how to do it any more.’

Domain

Louise Erdrich

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

Eight Trains

Alberto Olmos

‘To go is always to go somewhere; returning, you return to nowhere. That’s the way it is.’

Exotics

Callan Wink

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

Eyes That Have Seen the Sea

Tomás González

‘He had just finished unpacking his rucksack, new only ten days ago and now a sodden, salty, decomposing rag, when they called him.’

Filling Up With Sugar

Yuten Sawanishi

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

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.’

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.’

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.’

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.’

Hare in Love

Sam Coll

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

Harmonica Hare

Yoko Ogawa

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

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.’

Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte

Kazushige Abe

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

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.’

Japan Lights

Sarah Moss

‘She kneels and bows her head almost to the floor, as if pretending he’s one of her idols.’

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.’

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.’

Let’s Tell This Story Properly

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

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

Mirage

Claire Vaye Watkins

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

My Mother’s Death Party

Ben Janse

‘When I was eleven I fell out of a tree. This is why I can see into the future.’

O-bakanaru

Eric Ozawa

‘When your wife walks away from you, she does not disappear. When you turn your back, she does not vanish. She will be there when you open your eyes.’