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A Brief History of Fire

Jennifer Vanderbes

‘My happiness was so deep I was afraid to speak of it.’

A Child’s Book of Death and Dying

Abraham Verghese

‘A fine morning mist had rolled down over Addis Ababa from the Entoto mountains, leaving a sheen on the lawn between the apartment buildings'.

A Lovely and Terrible Thing

Chris Womersley

‘For a moment I could not speak. I looked off into the bleak distance, then at this man, and there was something about the sad shake of his head and the way his hair flapped about on his scalp that filled me with unreasonable warmth.’

After Ida

Elise Winn

‘The year I turned seventeen, the cicada chorus was deafening, as if they were impatient for the real beginning of summer and didn’t realize they were it.’

After the Hedland

Evie Wyld

‘I feel the pull of being alone, of answering to no one, the safety of being unknown and far away.’

Aquifer

Tim Winton

‘Through the open window I smelt dead lupin and for a long time forgot my age.’

Beachcombing

Lucy Wood

‘He was stamped darkly onto the wide stretch of sea like a single footprint.’

Better Protect America

Padma Viswanathan

Padma Viswanathan on the absurdities of the US Border Patrol Agency. ‘The new security was going to be unpredictable, by design.’

Borne

Jeff VanderMeer

‘The map of the old horizon was like being haunted by a grotesque fairy tale, something that when voiced came out not as words but as sounds in the aftermath of an atrocity.’

Brass

Joy Williams

‘You’re the low-hanging fruit.’

Brazil: A User’s Guide

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘The Brazilian banking system was created by a Czech writer called Franz Kafka.’

Dangerous

Joy Williams

‘Grief knows how to love them because we don’t know how to do it any more.’

Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘In Brazil it is crucial not to be Argentinian. Add that to our Earth mission’s proceedings manual under the topic ‘Cultural Affairs’.’

Down in Front

Colson Whitehead

‘This is the part where we find our seats. Step on toes, suck in gut, make yourself flat as a movie screen.’

Enzo Ponza

Joanna Walsh

‘I was still quite a small girl when I decided to kidnap Enzo Ponza.’

Epistle to the New Age

Gore Vidal

‘I’m Bishop of Macedonia, as you will know in time if you are not lucky enough to be in time already.’

Escapes

Joy Williams

‘We went directly out of the theatre and into the streets, my mother weeping on the little usher's arm.’

Exit Strategy

Ivan Vladislavić

‘The corporate storyteller is having a bad day.’

Exotics

Callan Wink

‘He’d come to tell her that he was leaving. It seemed rather impossible now – the telling, not the leaving.’

Final Dispatch: End in Pizza

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Those are not prisons, they are condominiums for rich people. Or at least that is what rich people think.’

Frogs

Mo Yan

‘Once the preposterous reality set in, we were overcome by sadness.’

Future Shock

Kate Wheeler

‘Althea's neck strained. Her black, small eyes shifted swiftly, blinked, then fixed evilly on Ingrid.’

Gifted

Richard Williams

‘The interim report filed by the investigator from the coroner's bureau listed him as a black male, 5ft 7in tall, weighing 1351b‘.

Give it up for Billy

Edmund White

‘Were there moral cataracts that one could remove?’

Given

Jesmyn Ward

‘Given played football with single-minded purpose his senior year, the fall before he died.’

Hawk

Joy Williams

‘As regards to life it is much the best to think that the experiences we have are necessary for us.’

Helen and Julia

Sarah Waters

‘She felt exhausted, emptied out; she thought of the day that had passed—it was astonishing to her, that a single set of hours could contain so many separate states of violent feeling.’

Herself in Love

Marianne Wiggins

‘She thought, Love is a Revelation, like a religion, some religions; like Islam.’

Home is Here Now

David Xiao

‘I told June that the woman they uncovered was not our daughter.’

I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness

Claire Vaye Watkins

‘The uncooperative cadence of the phrase my myspace page perfectly encapsulates the awkwardness of the early oughts when our story begins.’

In Lana Turner’s Bedroom

Gaby Wood

‘It was because it was night-time and raining that I decided to drive up to Lana Turner's old house in Beverly Hills.’

In The Tunnel

John Wray

‘It was a question of not thinking about what you were doing.’

In This Heart You Burn

D. W. Wilson

‘Years later, broken-chested beneath the axle of a Ford Mustang, he’ll dream back to a night on the shores of Mimeer Lake when he amphetamined through till dawn and cracked some asshat’s nose with his elbow and gave his virginity to Isabel Crease.’

Lovetown

Michał Witkowski

Discover Lovetown: a homo-haven in post-Communist Poland.

Lucy

Lisa Zeidner

‘I needed to sit on two dictionaries to reach the piano, which was respectable, black and dimly European.’

Memorial

Tobias Wolff

‘B.D. carried certain objects.’