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Portia’s Choice

Lorna Gibb

‘There were rules to the game. I could not lose my virginity and I had to be careful not to let a boy go further than I wanted to.’

Light

Lesley Nneka Arimah

‘When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters.’ 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.

The Buddhist

Alan Rossi

‘Loneliness is the extra, the part that’s unnecessary.’

About Her and the Memories That Belong to Her

Mieko Kawakami

‘If I were to forget, then it would be the same as it never having existed at all.’

Epithalamium

Greg Jackson

‘Hara had stumbled on a kind of play, as if they were sisters left alone by their parents for the first time to explore the different ways a day could be deconstructed.‘

The Instant of Passage

Mathias Énard

‘Praying for the unknown dead, for the vague remains of the existences of total strangers, was sadly abstract.’

Nothing Ever Happens Here

Ottessa Moshfegh

‘I was broke, and I was a nobody, but I was happy.’

Lucy the Liar

Patrick deWitt

‘Tell me it’s a lie, now. Will you say that it is?’

Numb

Lauren Schenkman

‘She felt things under the skin: scars where the body had torn during childbirth, clumps of cellulite, lobules and ducts.’

Dark Air

Lincoln Michel

‘There must have been a dozen ways for us to be crushed or torn apart.’

Item Girls

Kuzhali Manickavel

‘I have heard the item girls singing each to each. / I do not think they will sing to me.’

The Gentlest Village

Jesse Ball

‘You are learning – learning a great deal. It is too much for you, so your body bows out. Then you wake up and you can continue.’

To Zagreb

Yoko Tawada

‘You didn’t know where you wanted to end up, had never considered how much time you had left.’

To Rio de Janeiro

Gonçalo M. Tavares

‘In the end, what one understands in Rio de Janeiro is that joy is the only coherence of a living being.’

Drone

Hari Kunzru

‘Rich men have been building tall on this hill for centuries.’

Honk Honk to Udvada

Chandrahas Choudhury

‘Oh Uncle, it’s such a historical day,’ said Zahra. ‘The eight hundredth anniversary of our arrival in India after we faced so much persecution in Iran, and we’re going to such a big bash, and all you can think about is emus. What will Dr Billimoria think of our family?’

The Wrong Square

Neel Mukherjee

‘Something as fundamental to intelligence as counting was eluding him.’

Poor Lucky Kolyvanova

Ludmila Ulitskaya

‘The red girls’ school stood opposite a grey boys’ school, built five years after it as if to proclaim the rational symmetry of the world.’

Dreamed in Stone

Jon Fosse

’You were a chasm that cracked and turned into stones, and then the stones lay there, beautifully laid, in a wall.‘

To Detroit

Benjamin Markovits

‘Things started going wrong at my ten-year college reunion – or I guess I mean that I realized how wrong they had gone.’

Othello Sucks

Upamanyu Chatterjee

Younger Daughter’s declaration that ‘Othello sucks’ prompts a conflicted response from Father.

Sticky Fingers

Arun Kolatkar

‘Selecting the right kind of a tomato was crucial for the scam to work.’

Her Lousy Shoes

Tracy O’Neill

‘On good days, he could believe that that was exactly what he appeared to be: pedestrian, a pedestrian, a walker, walking, going places, on the ups, possessing two healthy feet at least.’

This is New

Marc Bojanowski

‘None of this would have happened if I’d just taken a deep breath, suppressed my emotions and said to the young woman, “Leave. Now.”‘

Look Out, Narendran!

Subha

A madman is dead set on blowing up the Taj Mahal, and there’s only one pair of detectives who can stop him. Tamil Pulp Fiction at its best.

Performance Art

Manjula Padmanabhan

‘A single pod of cardamom! Was that enough? To flavour an entire life’s pot of time?’

Every Person’s Little Treasure

Liliana Heker

‘It occurred to Ana that this was a woman who often left things hanging.’

Exit Strategy

Ivan Vladislavić

‘The corporate storyteller is having a bad day.’

Shoes

Anjali Joseph

‘Like scraps of leather, oddly shaped, things from life, people and sayings and objects, found themselves spliced together.’

Old-Age Rage

Daisy Jacobs

‘He’s not himself’, Mum says in the kitchen. Well, who is he then? Is he 40 per cent of his young self? Ten? Do I still have to love him as much as ever, this 90 per cent stranger?

Enzo Ponza

Joanna Walsh

‘I was still quite a small girl when I decided to kidnap Enzo Ponza.’

The Florida Motel

Kevin Canty

‘Suddenly she understood what she was doing here. She was among strangers, the place where Bill had chosen to spend his life.’

A Double-Income Family

Deepti Kapoor

When Mrs Mehra leaves Delhi she retires in one of ‘the vast new satellite townships on the eastern fringes of the metropolis’.

Open Water

Deb Olin Unferth

She had already imagined it all, so much so that when she finally did see him, she felt unable to speak.

Krapp Hour (Act 2)

Anne Carson

‘this is my theory of her awake all night worrying about little wild animals active in the dark’

The Bachelor Father

Kalpana Narayanan

'Venkat was afraid of saying something wrong.'