New fiction from Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft.
Picking Up Nathan from the Airport
‘When shit like this happens, people don’t walk out on fifteen-year marriages.’
The Nature of Man
‘Viewed from above, the traffic was reflective as water, cars moving in wavelike shimmers over the surface of the freeway.’
Objects in Mirror
‘He runs through the events of the day in his mind. Fairly frightening, really: the sudden request for his file, the question about the government. And the silence.’
Ten Thousand Feet
‘I go up and watch the avenue through the window. Noise and more noise. An avenue of insects, stray bullets and snipers sprawled on the rooftops.’
My Biggest Insecurity About the Garden
‘Pathos is suffering. But is it suffering to realize a dream, however puny?’ New fiction by Caoilinn Hughes.
‘I don’t know much about the cosmos, but I know enough to avoid the game of tennis.’
‘I put the breast milk in the fridge and lie down on the bed. I pretend I am dead, underneath the earth with a bag of Cheetos.’
If You Start Breathing
‘Sharing her pain with other people meant that her pain belonged to her less, Joanne belonged to her less.’
Portion of Jam
‘My father no longer goes to the hospital to work, because you don’t find nurses in wheelchairs working in hospitals.’
Man of Principle
A novelette by Roy Chicky Arad, written after one of the wars of Israel in Gaza. Translated from the Hebrew by Maayan Eitan and Oded Even Or.
Susan and Miffy
‘The lust of an old man is disgusting but the lust of an old woman is worse. Everyone knows that.’
‘Haste did not grip the animal. He paced before me languidly, tracing small circles; then, in a single pounce he reached the fireplace’.
Yokosuka blue line
‘I close my eyes and circle my finger around the map. Wherever my finger lands.’
‘On the rampage, he truly did become a devil; it was impossible to restrain him.’ Translated from the Russian by Robert & Elizabeth Chandler.
No Machine Could Do It
‘In the future we have to be as interesting to the AI as our pets are to us.’
Letter of Apology
‘One can only argue with an intellectual like Konstantyn Illych if one speaks to him on his level.’
‘We have to reverse-engineer our genius so that we can appreciate the simple things.’
The Swallow’s Nest
Meet Gore Vidal in this excerpt from John Boyne’s novel A Ladder to the Sky.
The Woman Dies
‘The woman dies. She dies to provide a plot twist. She dies to develop the narrative. She dies for cathartic effect. She dies because no one could think of what else to do with her.’ Aoko Matsuda, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton.
Horror from David Hayden. ‘A shuddering, wordless voice rose in the distance, and another, and another; a chorus, a lament, which ended in a low grunt. There was a coda of sobbing. There was silence.’
A young film composer turns to prostitution in a short story by Naben Ruthnum, set in a Rome of the early 1970s.
‘I Am Going to Speak to You about Anxiety’
‘Her mother was still sitting on the sofa, stroking the left armrest while she talked.’
A coming-of-age story about an awkward roommate on Roosevelt Island, ordering bisexual porn tapes from catalogues and writing summaries of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for a living.
Slip of a Fish
‘Charlie’s swimming. Six strokes then she turns to breathe, six more and all the way to the end of the length. She’s a swimmer, Charlie. She’s a bit of a fish, a slip of a fish.’
‘All through winter and another summer we wait, but time passes more quickly now that we have a purpose. I feel it flowing.’
Sharing the same bed, dreaming different dreams
Ma Jian shows the excess and corruption of the Chinese Communist party in this excerpt from his new novel, China Dream, translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew.
Can infidelity make up for infidelity? New fiction from John Patrick McHugh.
I’ll Go On
‘Swish-swish, swish-swish. The sound fills the large space around them, and Nana finds this deeply satisfying.’