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Furniture of Desire

Walter Abish

‘It took him only a moment to eliminate all doubt. The opportunity was ripe.’

Sweet Truth

Walter Abish

‘I believe in the harmony of my friendship to Gisela rather than in the binding force that the institution of marriage is said to represent.’

Missing Out

Leila Aboulela

‘She had held the day up with pegs; not only her day but his too.’

On Monday Last Week

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘Kamara had always resented the glamour of half-castes.’

Jumping Monkey Hill

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘His accent was what the British called posh, the kind some rich Nigerians tried to mimic and ended up sounding unintentionally funny.’

The Master

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘The Master was a little crazy; he had spent too many years reading books overseas’

The Grief of Strangers

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘Chinechelum said little as her mother drove her to the airport.’

Last Man in Tower

Aravind Adiga

‘Perhaps that calm was all he had ever had’

Grand Rounds

Chris Adrian

‘I am more of a practice person than a theory person. Not that there’s anything wrong with theory people.’

Gifted

Segun Afolabi

‘The boys' eyes grazed the carpet and then each other guiltily. The youngest tried not to smile with shame.’

Teresa

Cristhiano Aguiar

‘They rise up into the sky, like vultures.’

The Sins of the Mother

Jamil Ahmad

‘They are after us. I feel it in the air.’

The King is Always Above the People

Daniel Alarcón

‘It was the year I left my parents, a few useless friends, and a girl who liked to tell everyone we were married, and moved two hundred kilometres downstream to the capital.’

The Bridge

Daniel Alarcón

‘There was no question we were underwater.’

The Provincials

Daniel Alarcón

‘I'd been out of the Conservatory for about a year when my great-uncle Raúl died.’

Integration

Sherman Alexie

‘Anonymous cries up and down the hallways. Linoleum floors swabbed with gray water. Mop smelling like old sex.’

Dinner with Dr Azad

Monica Ali

‘Six months now since she'd been sent away to London. Every morning before she opened her eyes she thought, if I were the wishing type, I know what I would wish.’

Gift for a Sweetheart

Isabel Allende

‘Horacio Fortunato was forty-six when the languid Jewish woman who was to change his roguish ways and deflate his fanfaronade entered his life.’

The Judge’s Wife

Isabel Allende

‘Nicolas Vidal always knew he would lose his head over a woman.’

The Unknown Known

Martin Amis

A satire on fundamentalism in this extract from an unpublished manuscript.

The Coincidence of the Arts

Martin Amis

‘Round about, a thousand conversations missed a beat, gulped, and then hungrily resumed’.

Author, Author

Martin Amis

‘Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing.’

Time’s Arrow (Part Three): The Conclusion

Martin Amis

‘Your shoulder blades still jolted to the artillery of the Russians as they scurried eastward.’

Time’s Arrow (Part Two)

Martin Amis

‘Nine nights later we woke up in the small hours and lay there coldly. “Shtib,” he grunted.’

Time’s Arrow

Martin Amis

‘I came rushing upward out of the blackest sleep to find myself surrounded by doctors.’

The Murderee

Martin Amis

‘This is a true story, but I can't believe it's really happening. It's a murder story, too. I can't believe my luck.’

The Time Sickness

Martin Amis

‘Before me through the restraining bars, the sunset sprawls in its polluted pomp, full of genies, cloaked ghosts, crimson demons of the middle sky.’

Money

Martin Amis

‘How did I get like this? It can't just be the booze and all the junk food I put away. I must have been booked in for this a long time ago.’

Let Me Count The Times

Martin Amis

‘Vernon made love to his wife three and a half times a week, and this was all right.’

Northanger Abbey

Martin Amis

Jane Austen’s novel ‘Northanger Abbey’ was published posthumously in 1818. Martin Amis adapted it for Miramax Pictures in 2001. The film has yet to be made. This is how it begins.

The Courthouse

Tahmima Anam

‘If I had known it would put a continent between me and my children I would have killed that map-maker myself.’

Saving the World

Tahmima Anam

‘Today, my brothers, Mohammed and Rubel, are going to foreign.’

Teardrop

Carol Anshaw

‘Nick didn’t kid himself that what he and Olivia had was love. It was more serious than that.’

Morrison Okoli (1955-2010)

Jekwu Anyaegbuna

‘It is always an honour to have women cry during someone’s burial, but yours is too silent for comfort.’

Coming down from the Mountains

Reinaldo Arenas

‘There is nothing to be heard now; just, in the darkness, the racket of the victrolas in Loma Colorada barrio, and the organ lording it over all the other noises.’

A Day in the Life in El Salvador

Manlio Argueta

‘I have not failed you, José. I understand that you were saying goodbye when you opened your eye, and that, besides greeting me, you were expressing your pride in me, seeing me standing with my arm around the shoulders of your granddaughter.’