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Envy

Kathryn Chetkovich

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

The Man at the River

Dave Eggers

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

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.’

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.’

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.’

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.’

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.’

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.’

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.’

Taken out of Context

Paul Beatty

‘I am not the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son.’

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.’

Parrot

Peter Carey

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

Parakeets

Kevin Brockmeier

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

I’m a Mad Dog Biting Myself for Sympathy

Louise Erdrich

‘I had never seen a child this little before, so small that it was not a child yet.’

The Wall

Jurek Becker

‘That afternoon a different soldier is standing at the gate. He calls out something that sounds dangerous.’

Leila in the Wilderness

Nadeem Aslam

‘It was almost involuntary: it felt like falling, or like rising in a dream.’

Fit Mother

Peter Ho Davies

‘The court had given me six months to prove I was a responsible adult and a fit mother’.

That First Time

Christopher Coake

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

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.’

Waking

Amit Chaudhuri

‘Her eyes, in a face puffed with sleep, opened, red and unfocused.’

Democracy

Joseph Brodsky

‘Nothing, really, Petrovich. That Georgian, you know, that foreign minister of theirs, says that half an hour ago, Himself announced at a press conference that democracy is being introduced here.’

The Sins of the Mother

Jamil Ahmad

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

White Sands

Geoff Dyer

‘Now that we were out of danger it seemed possible that there had never been any danger.’

The Bridge

Daniel Alarcón

‘There was no question we were underwater.’

The Falcon

Gilad Evron

‘He once called Gihon a limb of his own body.’

Marriage Lines

Julian Barnes

‘Grief was in charge of him.’

Sparks

Carol Bensimon

‘Your anywhere is a river you watch as you smoke.’

Gifted

Segun Afolabi

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

Trident

James Buchan

‘As many as thirty-five states in the world are thought to have the capacity (if not the wish) to build a nuclear weapon.’

To the City

Tash Aw

‘He knew he had to find this faraway city.’