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.’
New fiction from Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft.
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 regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018 for Canada and Europe.
‘There she is: Dolores. Newly named. Sitting at the kitchen table inside the convent, conscious of how bad she must smell.’
‘Characteristically my wife refused to be drawn into the situation while I became obsessed with it.’
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.’
Alexia Tolas’ Granma’s Porch is the Caribbean regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
‘I shift my weight right, where the hammer hangs down. Then left, then right, then left again.’
If You Start Breathing
‘Sharing her pain with other people meant that her pain belonged to her less, Joanne belonged to her less.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘She has never been very keen on the thought of herself as other people see her.’
‘The bro has a pair of plump dogs over which he deploys nauseating quantities of ketchup.’
‘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.’
‘It had taken Noni many years to stop wishing she’d been a woman like that.’
‘Vicky says I’m crazy. She said worse things too last night. But who could blame her?’
My Biggest Insecurity About the Garden
‘Pathos is suffering. But is it suffering to realize a dream, however puny?’ New fiction by Caoilinn Hughes.