Our Lady of Mercy
‘I was engaged in a battle of politeness, those kindly – but ferocious – skirmishes that are so common in our country.’
Acts of Infidelity
‘Anticipation made it difficult for Ester to swallow.’ Translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel.
Shirley from a Small Place
‘The highs and lows of fame, have been far better and far worse than both mother and daughter could have hoped for. Shirley is only twenty-seven.’
Jenny Bennett-Tuionetoa’s ‘Matalasi’ is the Pacific winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
I’ve Seen the Future, Baby; It Is Murder
‘It was not very comfortable, but the appeal of it was that we did not like each other.’
‘In terms of aspiration, leaving London was the new moving to London. You slogged it out, made a name for yourself, then decamped to the sticks and devoted yourself to trashing city life on Twitter while roaming the fields in pursuit of your tweedy ideals.’
‘I like to think the ones who are worst at coloring will remember me the longest.’
‘Social services gave Mum a whole list of conditions she had to adhere to. She wasn’t allowed to be animals anymore, under any circumstances, or they would take Ghillie away from her.’
Mall Camp, Seasons 1 & 2
‘Each turn he took, there’d be another face. Each concourse held a voice, importuning, beckoning.’
An extract from Kudos, the final novel in Rachel Cusk’s trilogy, following Outline and Transit.
The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman
Sagnik Datta’s ‘The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
‘All I can say is that the only thing in the world I want to do now, is to go out there, into the west, and find them.’
The Taxidermy Museum
‘Even dying is an attempt to approach life. That’s how I perceive taxidermy.’
The Break-up of the Ice
‘Deeper in the port, a woman was speaking, a knitting process in which letters were picked and drawn out of loops of sound, detaching in part and rejoining, like a sort of memory.’ New fiction by Lucie Elven
Lake Like a Mirror
‘If she’d swerved any harder, she would have crashed right into the lake.’ New fiction by Ho Sok Fong, translated from the Chinese by Natascha Bruce.
Now, Now, Louison
Jean Frémon on the artist Louise Bourgeois and her fascination with spiders. Translated from the French by Cole Swensen.
‘They tell me you write about exile, about lives adrift, about trees whose roots are buried thousands of kilometres away, he said in his harsh accent, his hoarseness aggravated by the static on the telephone line.’
‘This writer does not write among these men who are here because they have lost the plot, lost the thread of their own lives.’
Days of Awe
‘He is the War Correspondent, she is the Transgressive Novelist. They have been flown in for the summit on Genocide(S).’
Kevin Jared Hosein’s ‘Passage’ is the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner from the Caribbean.
‘The message was cheerful, positive. I did not express weakness on my son’s behalf: this is a mother’s first rule.’
‘My greatest desire has always been to take people literally. It’s not the same as wanting to trust them, but it’s related.’
‘I want you to close your eyes. I want you to relax, let go. I want you to let your mind see as vividly as possible the images my words conjure up. And above all, no matter what I say, I want you to trust me.’
How Much Heart
A triptych of flash fiction by Mieko Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by David Boyd.
‘He comes all the way here after he died and the two of you are making small talk?’ New fiction by Hiromi Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
‘Estuary English, the tongue of the river mouth, open vowels, clipped syllables that nonetheless spilled into one: I found it hard to listen to. The words snapped at my ears: malicious fish.’
A Time for Everything
‘It can almost seem as if God was genuinely concerned about mankind.’ Translated by James Anderson.
‘What’s wrong is that she cannot breathe.’ Samsun Knight’s ‘The Dive’ is the winner of the 2018 Disquiet Literary Prize
Brother in Ice
‘My brother is a man trapped in ice. He looks at us through it; he is there and he is not there.’
‘I was overcome by a feeling that took root then and has never left me, the feeling that in this land that was someone else’s country, I did not have a place to stand.’
The Rat Snipers
‘When they stand on their hind legs, arms up, wrists limp, rats can take on a beguiling sort of personhood.’