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Our Lady of Mercy

André Alexis

‘I was engaged in a battle of politeness, those kindly – but ferocious – skirmishes that are so common in our country.’

since feeling is first

Nuar Alsadir

‘The way we manage erotic knowledge is connected to our handling of unwanted truths’

Acts of Infidelity

Lena Andersson

‘Anticipation made it difficult for Ester to swallow.’ Translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel.

The Editor’s Chair: On Christine Montalbetti

Alex Andriesse

‘For Montalbetti to have achieved this syntactic ease in French is a feat. For the translator to reproduce it in English requires the capacities of a medium.’

Cassiopeia (three back-to-front songs)

Diana Anphimiadi

‘Anyway, I did not die. / I lined the sky, inside-out.’ Translated from the Georgian by Jean Sprackland and Natalia Bukia-Peters.

Shirley from a Small Place

Alexia Arthurs

‘The highs and lows of fame, have been far better and far worse than both mother and daughter could have hoped for. Shirley is only twenty-seven.’

Dog

Nadeem Aslam

‘More than once the new dog was aggressive, a stab of fire, but I did not tell the grown-ups. I feared they would take him away.’

Who Killed Tolstoy?

Elif Batuman

‘I walked along the birch-lined alleys of Yasnaya Polyana, looking for clues. Snakes were swimming in the pond, making a rippling pattern. Everything here was a museum.’

What Do Women Want?

Devorah Baum

‘What we’re arguing about turns out to be how to speak to each other at all.’

The Infinite Goldfish

Sara Baume

In the beginning, there was the goldfish.

Breasts: A History

Krys Malcolm Belc

‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’

Kent Will Tear Us Apart

Neil Belton

All the Devils Are Here was cursed with the status of a cult classic. It’s a book that people who’ve read it, especially writers, can never forget.

Matalasi

Jenny Bennett-Tuionetoa

Jenny Bennett-Tuionetoa’s ‘Matalasi’ is the Pacific winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

Zeus

Fiona Benson

‘days I talked with Zeus / I ate only ice / felt the blood trouble and burn / under my skin’

Amy Bloom | Five Things Right Now

Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

The Agony and Ecstasy of Escape

Will Boast

Will Boast on how Bernini's Apollo and Daphne helped him write his latest novel

A Few Words about Fake Breasts

Nell Boeschenstein

‘You repeat this over and over. You pinch your nipples harder. Then harder and harder still. You twist them. You dare them to say Mercy. You stare into your own eyes that are watching you from the mirror.’

A Summer of Japanese Literature

Dan Bradley

From manga to crime fiction, contemporary literature to Nobel-Prize-winning classics, here are ten works of Japanese literature worth spending your summer on

I’ve Seen the Future, Baby; It Is Murder

Tara Isabella Burton

‘It was not very comfortable, but the appeal of it was that we did not like each other.’

Perfidious Albion

Sam Byers

‘In terms of aspiration, leaving London was the new moving to London. You slogged it out, made a name for yourself, then decamped to the sticks and devoted yourself to trashing city life on Twitter while roaming the fields in pursuit of your tweedy ideals.’

Karl Kraus and Veza

Elias Canetti

‘It was natural that the rumors about both these people should reach me at the same time; they came from the same source, from which everything new for me came at that time.’

Snow Job

Brian Allen Carr

‘I like to think the ones who are worst at coloring will remember me the longest.’

Brother

David Chariandy

An excerpt from David Chariandy's novel Brother

Ghillie’s Mum

Lynda Clark

‘Social services gave Mum a whole list of conditions she had to adhere to. She wasn’t allowed to be animals anymore, under any circumstances, or they would take Ghillie away from her.’

Mall Camp, Seasons 1 & 2

Joshua Cohen

‘Each turn he took, there’d be another face. Each concourse held a voice, importuning, beckoning.’

The Farmer’s Son

John Connell

‘I’m twenty-nine and I’ve never delivered a calf myself. But that’s all about to change’

Rosses Point

John Connell

‘I’m going to die out here he thought, I’m going to die trying to save this beast in front of my boy.’

On Coyotes

Diane Cook

‘There is something about the presence of coyotes that makes any place feel wilder than it is.’

The Falconer and the Hawks

Ben Crane

‘A fine balance of precision and coiled unsparing instinct, all contained within a gossamer skein of feather, skin, muscle and bone.’

Poppy

Caroline Criado-Perez

'I never worried about my flat catching fire before Poppy came along.' Caroline Criado-Perez on her pet Poppy.

Home

Emily Critchley

‘to understand life / how to possibly / live in it / break it’

Kudos

Rachel Cusk

An extract from Kudos, the final novel in Rachel Cusk’s trilogy, following Outline and Transit.

The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman

Sagnik Datta

Sagnik Datta’s ‘The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

Carys Davies | Notes on Craft

Carys Davies

‘All good stories are both resonant and concrete; they live in the mind of the reader and reverberate beyond the pages of the book.’

West

Carys Davies

‘All I can say is that the only thing in the world I want to do now, is to go out there, into the west, and find them.’

Of Donuts I Have Loved

Miranda Dennis

‘Krispy Kremes melt at the touch, are tender and loving, are used by my family to perform a wholeness we do not always feel’