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Alexander Chee | Portrait of My Father

Alexander Chee

‘He left for the US while his father was away on business so he couldn’t stop him.’

Alive, Alive-Oh!

Diana Athill

‘She thought of herself as a rational woman, but while she could sleep alone in an empty house for night after night without worrying, there were other nights when her nerves twitched like a rabbit's at the least sound.’

All That Follows

Jim Crace

‘Leonard Lessing does not dream of Maxie Lemon, Maxim Lermontov, the hostage­-taker.’

Alpes Maritimes

William Boyd

‘From the small terrace at Cherry's villa there is a perfect view of Villefranche and its bay, edged by the bright beads of the harbour lights and headlamps of cars on the coast road.’

Alphabet City

Geoffrey Biddle

‘When I first worked here, the neighbourhood was not called Alphabet City. It was the Puerto Rican part of the Lower East Side and the Puerto Ricans called it Loisaida, low-ee-SIGH-da, a new York-Puerto Rican version of Lower East Side.’

America’s Secret War

Leslie Cockburn

‘Morales’s troubles began in the spring of 1984, when he was indicted for conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine. It was this awkward development that made him particularly receptive to the proposal he received from a delegation of Contras and a CIA man that turned up at his Opa-locka office soon after the bad news.’

An Ofrenda for my Mother

Sandra Cisneros

‘She was a prisoner-of-war mother, banging on the bars of her cell all her life.’

An Education

Lynn Barber

‘The whole meeting seemed completely unreal but then everything at that time seemed unreal, so I said ‘Yes, by all means make the film,’ and went back to the hospital and forgot about her.’

An Education

Lynn Barber

‘Alan was adept at not answering questions, but actually he rarely needed to, because I never asked them.’

An Irrelevant Parochialism

Frederick Bowers

‘What strikes an ex-patriate most about the contemporary British novel is its conformity, its traditional sameness, and its realistically rendered provincialism.’

And Never Come Up

John Biguenet

‘Was there a story? Yes, there was always a story .Did you write this one down? I've written them all down’.

And Yet

Brian Evenson

‘She had waited expectantly for him to tell her a story to illustrate this, and to explain what those values were, but as with so many other things he had left it at that. It lingered in the air, waiting for her to pluck it up, but she had simply let it hang.’

Anecdotes

Ann Beattie

‘Christine’s hair had begun to dry, and she looked different, with her hair down and her glasses on. Her earnestness made her look younger, and took me back to the bar where we’d sat in Pennsylvania years ago.’

Ann Beattie | First Sentence

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’

Antediluvian

John Biguenet

‘To the inexperienced, hurricane stories always sound like exaggerations.’

Anthony Bailey | A London View

Anthony Bailey

I come from a generation which still, fifty-odd years on, looks up and once in a while thinks, 'Good, one of ours.'

Anwar Gets Everything

Tahmima Anam

‘Two ways a man can go here, in the direction of God or the direction of believing there is nothing up there but a sun that will kill you whether you pray five times or not.’

Apparition

Mark Doty

‘an orange plastic basket of compost / down from the top of the garden – sweet dark, / fibrous rot, promising’

Aquino, Marcos and the White House

Mark Malloch Brown

‘Marcos had, in effect, trapped Washington into appearing to endorse a snap election, and the administration - both State Department and White House - was forced to redefine its position.’

Assault by Water

Tim Binding

‘Having come here for a purpose, to trace the fault line of his own history, he searches for the year that saw its inception.’

At Thirty

Paula Bohince

‘At thirty, I fled from my life / in a hailstorm and firestorm’

Author, Author

Martin Amis

‘Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing.’

Bad Women, Good Feminists?

Damian Barr

‘I was told I was not a feminist and never could be, because I was a man.’

Baghdad Diary

Nuha al-Radi

‘Other countries do wrong: look what Russia did in Afghanistan, or Turkey invading Cyprus, or Israel taking over Palestine and Lebanon. Nobody bombed them senseless. They were not even punished. Perhaps we have too much history.’

Banyan

Robert Olen Butler

‘I wake and it’s dark and a woman is beside me, naked and small, and she is waking too and the room is still heavy with the incense she burned for her dead.’

Batorsag and Szerelem

Ethan Canin

‘In January of 1973, the year everything changed in our family, my older brother Clive competed for the mathematics championship of William Howard Taft High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.’

Beach

Roberto Bolaño

‘I said to myself that maybe he wasn’t about to die.’

Before the Fall

J.P. Cuenca

‘Is it possible to run away without being a coward?’

Beirut | Dispatches

Lana Asfour

‘I was determined that this latest crisis wouldn’t keep me out of the country of my birth.’

Benjamin Anastas | Portrait of My Father

Benjamin Anastas

‘For years when I was growing up, I passed underneath this double-nude every time I climbed up or down the stairs in my father’s house.’

Benjamin Pell Versus the Rest of the World

Tim Adams

‘You hear Benjamin Pell long before you see him.’

Birdie

Ann DeWitt

‘By the end of the summer, the city was fed up with our antics.’

Birthday Boy

Tony Earley

‘During the night something like a miracle happened: Jim's age grew an extra digit.’

Blasphemy

Fatima Bhutto

The tourists are gone. They’ve fled to Islamabad, along with the landlords and the hoteliers and the battalions of police that used to defend them, and certainty has left with them.

Blind Spot

Teju Cole

‘I heard faint noises, the occasional car going down another street, a voice lightly thrown from its unseen body, the hum of distant machines, and the sound of my own breathing as I put one foot in. ’

Blood

Urvashi Butalia

‘Stories are all that people have, stories that rarely breach the frontiers of family and religious community’