No Machine Could Do It
‘In the future we have to be as interesting to the AI as our pets are to us.’
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.
Can infidelity make up for infidelity? New fiction from John Patrick McHugh.
‘He comes all the way here after he died and the two of you are making small talk?’ New fiction by Hiromi Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
The Restaurant of Many Orders
‘Two young gentlemen dressed just like British military men, with gleaming guns on their shoulders and two dogs like great white bears at their heels, were walking in the mountains where the leaves rustled dry underfoot.’
How Much Heart
A triptych of flash fiction by Mieko Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by David Boyd.
‘I was overcome by a feeling that took root then and has never left me, the feeling that in this land that was someone else’s country, I did not have a place to stand.’
‘What’s wrong is that she cannot breathe.’ Samsun Knight’s ‘The Dive’ is the winner of the 2018 Disquiet Literary Prize
Nuala O’Connor’s short story about Nora Barnacle, and her first meetings with James Joyce.
Fathers and Sons
‘For a while it wasn’t clear how good he would become, and then it was. He went up the rankings, stopped, and started going down.’
Brother in Ice
‘My brother is a man trapped in ice. He looks at us through it; he is there and he is not there.’
A Time for Everything
‘It can almost seem as if God was genuinely concerned about mankind.’ Translated by James Anderson.
'Childhood felt like a waiting room, a transitory phase between birth and the life we wanted.'
‘All those appetizing vessels exposed and available, O how delightfully vulnerable they are, it brings a tear to the eye.’
‘This journey around the outskirts of the Jungle went in a little and came out wondering, well that is not what I would have called a jungle.’
‘I made tea while the astronaut sat at our kitchen table and gazed out the window.’
The Rat Snipers
‘When they stand on their hind legs, arms up, wrists limp, rats can take on a beguiling sort of personhood.’
‘Estuary English, the tongue of the river mouth, open vowels, clipped syllables that nonetheless spilled into one: I found it hard to listen to. The words snapped at my ears: malicious fish.’
Cold Mountain: Premières esquisses
Ce qui s’est passé par la suite relève de la folie, folie des vents s’entredéchirant, folie de l’homme que ces vents avaient poussé chez moi.
What came after was the stuff of madness, the madness of warring winds, the madness of the man these winds had delivered up to me.
‘It is important to establish, before this begins, that I never thought of myself as an animal person.’
‘There was no inquiry and no report either because we all have new names now.’
The Fjord of Eternity
‘Insurance fraud of the sort Trisha investigated involved perps who were dentists with erectile malfunction, men who were scarfing anti-depressants and hit a wall.’
‘You can decide, whenever you like, that what you feel is no kind of love.’
‘People think they’re destroying, but it’s hard work, nearly impossible; building is easy, illusory but easy.’
The Alarming Palsy of James Orr
‘As it was, this gave the impression of two different faces, two different people, welded savagely together.’
White | State of Mind
‘I was told that she was a girl, with a face as white as a crescent-moon rice cake.’ New writing from Han Kang, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith.
From the Left Bank of the Flu
‘The big road looked to me like a river, the cars rushing by as if carried along on its current.’
My Heart Hemmed In
‘I stagger from the shock. I feel the corners of my mouth turning down. My jaw begins to tremble. Yes, yes, yes, I say to myself, get ahold of yourself.’
‘One piece of luck: I didn’t explain to the pianist how to play the piano.’ Translated from the French by Sophie Lewis.
The Death of Margaret Roe
The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner from the Pacific. ‘Every person has their own secrets, but Margaret Roe had Havilah Brown’s.’
‘Daddy always said our apples were blessed because the order lived beside us. He liked to gift crates of Egremont Russets, the sweetest of all his fruit, to the sisters.’