‘He began to feel less like he was delivering a speech and more like a speech was delivering him.’
‘To pick the right heart, the old man said, you had to look for depth in the ruby, to prize a raw intensity of colour and a bright gold fat blanketing the angry muscle.’
‘It didn’t take long for the citizens of Moscow to realize that if you had no choice but to stand in line, then Pushkin was the man to stand next to.’
‘She has never been very keen on the thought of herself as other people see her.’
Plays Bossa Nova
‘That was the setup for the review I wrote about this imaginary record.’ Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
Field Notes on a Marriage
‘I tell myself it doesn’t do to fixate too much on the dead: apart from everything else, they can’t answer you.’
‘I released the picture of my mother’s breast, which resized itself to auto-fit my smartphone’s display.’
‘Our reasons for purchasing a reJesus no doubt require little explanation.’
‘To be fair, it is near a waterfall; although, to be fair again, everything around here is near a waterfall.’
‘She does not go home for her mother's funeral because the prospect of return gives her insomnia. She splurges on a coat from Miu Miu instead.’
The Wind That Lays Waste
‘Leni’s last image of her mother is from the rear window of the car.’
Alexia Tolas’ Granma’s Porch is the Caribbean regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The Biggest House on Earth
‘What is happiness? Nothing other than pausing at the bottom of the stairs to admire the portrait of a beautiful queen from some distant, foreign land.’
‘There she is: Dolores. Newly named. Sitting at the kitchen table inside the convent, conscious of how bad she must smell.’
An excerpt from ZED, the forthcoming novel by Joanna Kavenna, a Granta Best of Young British Novelist.
‘The sister has a headful of fine hair down to the small of her back. The golden colour of maize silk, her weave is not stiff and waxy like Chipo’s, but moves in the breeze.’
The Girls and the Dogs
‘Maurice turns left, turns right, to loosen out the kinks in his neck. Images slice through him.’
Constantia Soteriou’s ‘Death Customs’, translated from the Greek by Lina Protopapa, is the regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018 for Canada and Europe.
All silky and wonderful
A trip on a commuter train takes a surreal turn in new fiction by Ben Pester.
My Mother Pattu
Saraswathy M. Manickam’s ‘My Mother Pattu’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Harley Hern’s ‘Screaming’ is the Pacific regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
A Season on Earth
‘He had forgotten in the seminary how many distractions there were in the world.’
The Sole Purveyor of Madame Bovary in Beijing circa 1989
‘In the day, his bevy of besotted rustics were coached in maxims of libertarian socialism. By night: rice wine orgies and folk punk sing-alongs.’
‘The bro has a pair of plump dogs over which he deploys nauseating quantities of ketchup.’
Rules for Visiting
‘It wasn’t until the end of dinner, when my aunt started clearing and my grandmother demanded another bottle of wine, that I began to understand.’
American Girl and Boy from Shobrakheit
‘Question: is romance just a father who never carried you to bed carrying you, at last, to bed?’
The Summer After the War
‘As it was, my grandfather began helping me to paint without my having to ask him.’