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The Man at the River

Dave Eggers

‘All he wants is to be a man sitting on a riverbed.’

Envy

Kathryn Chetkovich

‘Why does it hurt only to read good work by the living?’

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.’

Jubilee

Carys Davies

‘His name was Arthur Pritt, he said, and he was sorry for the day.’

Human Moments in World War III

Don DeLillo

‘Happiness is not a fact of this experience, at least not to the extent that one is bold enough to speak of it.’

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.’

Mungo Among the Moors

T. Coraghessan Boyle

‘At an age when most young Scotsmen were lifting skirts, ploughing furrows and spreading seed, Mungo Park was displaying his bare buttocks to al-haff Ali Ibn Fatoudi, Emir of Ludamar.’

Girl on Girl

Diane Cook

‘Marni on Mack. Mack in Marni. A little Mack and Marni. My head rushes. I want to watch, hear the sounds.’

Some Other Katherine

Sam Byers

‘There were days when it seemed sordid and doomed; days which, oddly, Katherine found more romantic than the days of hope.’

The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie

‘Then winter ended and spring came, and I thought, even if I don’t believe there’s a poem in anything any more, maybe I’ll write a story.’

The Mast Year

Diane Cook

‘Sounds like a mast year . . . it’s a thing that happens to trees. But sometimes it happens to people too.’

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.’

Self-Portrait

Martin Amis

‘You’ve got your catflap, I’ve got my guy.’

Extracts From The Journal Of Flying Officer J

William Boyd

‘The squadron left today for the city. The mess cold and sad, Verschoyle, with uncharacteristic generosity, said I could keep the monoplane.’

Lucky Pierre and the Coldwater Flat

Robert Coover

‘Projections run riot, mirrors tip and weave, there’s a blur of images like film jumping out of its sprockets.’

The Love Machine

Julia Elliott

‘Beatrice was my first love. The dark contours of her delicate skeleton, the glowing flesh made translucent by my X-ray gaze, drove me crazy.’

Mr Bones

Paul Auster

‘Mr Bones knew that Willy wasn't long for this world’.

The Colonel’s Son

Roberto Bolaño

‘Then Julie extracts her victim’s heart and eats it.’

On Monday Last Week

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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

Procreate, Generate

Anthony Doerr

‘Nothingness is the rule. Life is the exception.’

Hare in Love

Sam Coll

A wry, fanciful fable about how love can transform both nature and fate.

Five Hours to Simla

Anita Desai

‘He had his hands deep in his pockets, and his face was lined with a frown deeply embedded with dust.’

Kashmir

James Buchan

‘I see in an instant what has brought people to the valley for four centuries.’

Under Ice

Iain Banks

‘Andy runs out across the ice.‘

The Blood Drip

Brian Evenson

‘They had stumbled upon a town and tried to approach it, but had been driven off with stones.’

Dick Contino’s Blues

James Ellroy

‘June 22, 1958. Dig, hepcats: it’s me, five minutes after the fuzz told me my mother had been murdered.’

Punnu’s Jihad

Nadeem Aslam

‘It is as though the metal itself is bleeding.’

Sitting on Top of the World

T. Coraghessan Boyle

‘It was like floating untethered, drifting with the clouds, like being cupped in the hands of God.’

Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte

Kazushige Abe

‘The crucial thing was to cool the baby off, bring the fever down.’

Taken Out of Context

Paul Beatty

‘I’d never been in a room full of black people unrelated to me before.’

The Grief of Strangers

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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

Parrot

Peter Carey

‘You might think, who is this, and I might say, this is God, and what are you to do?’

Dizzy

Paul Auster

‘The method's not important. The only thing that counts is that you go along with it–and that you understand why it has to be done.’

That First Time

Christopher Coake

‘Everything, even the ground under his feet, felt impermanent.’

Parakeets

Kevin Brockmeier

‘The birds studied the mute as though he were a puzzle.’

The Ivory Acrobat

Don DeLillo

‘She lay in a kind of timeless drift, a mindwork spiral, carried on half-formed thoughts. She passed into a false sleep and then was listening again. She opened her eyes.’