‘There is nothing where the Towers should be but smoke. There are no buildings.’
‘As I lay on the mattress, the white toe pads of the gecko floated up before me, against the vastness of the blue-black night. Rather than a presence, it seemed to me more like a trace, a barely discernible odour that flooded in on the air.’
‘When we pulled up at the house, Simon was there waiting, on the porch.’ New fiction by Daniel J. O’Malley
To the Dogs
A short story by Jianan Qian on stray dogs, desperation and re-education in rural China during the Cultural Revolution.
Read an excerpt from The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez, translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne and available now from Fitzcarraldo Books.
The Water Tower and the Turtle
‘It was safe to say I didn’t really know anybody in this town at all.’ New fiction translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton.
for Shy Brides
‘The husband, when we are introduced, will already be the husband.’
‘I shift my weight right, where the hammer hangs down. Then left, then right, then left again.’
The Marriage Finger
‘On the marriage finger was a gold ring topped with a big prong-set stone.’ New fiction by Kathryn Scanlan.
The Last Rite of the Body
‘My ex-boyfriend dies, and we all gather to put our hands into his body.’ New fiction from Sophie Mackintosh.
‘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.’