A Man’s Life
‘I wished my family would die, my friends too, everybody I knew, because only that way could they never follow me wherever I went.’
A Mother’s Dilemma
‘I can hear the girl scratching a pencil inside a notebook. I don’t like it. I’ve asked her not to write about me.’
A Season on Earth
‘He had forgotten in the seminary how many distractions there were in the world.’
Agnes of Iowa
‘Through college she had been a feminist – more or less. She shaved her legs, but just not often enough, she liked to say.’
All silky and wonderful
A trip on a commuter train takes a surreal turn in new fiction by Ben Pester.
Always the Same Snow and Always the Same Uncle
‘Who knows: what I write I must eat, what I don’t write – eats me.’
American Girl and Boy from Shobrakheit
‘Question: is romance just a father who never carried you to bed carrying you, at last, to bed?’
An excerpt from Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated from the French by Frank Wynne.
At the Edge of Night
An excerpt from Friedo Lampe’s At the Edge of Night, translated from the German by Simon Beattie.
At Yankee Stadium
‘From a series of linked couples they become one continuous wave, larger all the time.’
An excerpt from ZED, the forthcoming novel by Joanna Kavenna, a Granta Best of Young British Novelist.
‘I don’t know much about the cosmos, but I know enough to avoid the game of tennis.’
‘It got into you. How many scrapes had he seen? How many wrecks?’ New fiction from Will Boast.
New fiction from Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft.
‘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.’
Plays Bossa Nova
‘That was the setup for the review I wrote about this imaginary record.’ Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
Constantia Soteriou’s ‘Death Customs’, translated from the Greek by Lina Protopapa, is the winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
‘There she is: Dolores. Newly named. Sitting at the kitchen table inside the convent, conscious of how bad she must smell.’
Don’t Look at Me Like That
‘When I was at school I used to think that everyone disliked me, and it wasn’t far from true.’
‘Characteristically my wife refused to be drawn into the situation while I became obsessed with it.’
‘There is nothing where the Towers should be but smoke. There are no buildings.’
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.’
New fiction from Rebekah Frumkin, featuring psychiatrists brandishing DSM–5, delusions, transference and the menacing voice of Alex Trebek.
Glimpses of a totally different system
‘This old circuit, which had been partly dormant, connected to an earlier memory. It was warm and fizzy and sharp. Then he stepped away, and the current was broken.’
‘I released the picture of my mother’s breast, which resized itself to auto-fit my smartphone’s display.’
Alexia Tolas’ Granma’s Porch is the Caribbean regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Grief in Moderation
‘The tiny daisies were scored by the shadows of the slats of the venetian blinds and the stripes were shivering.’ Diane Williams.
‘I imagined his journey out of the coma as an increasingly painful ascent through dark water.’ Translated from the Danish by Caroline Waight.
‘I shift my weight right, where the hammer hangs down. Then left, then right, then left again.’
‘I was suckled by Mother Earth, he would reflect on occasion, and he would stretch, feeling new strength in his veins.’