The Naming of Moths
‘Sophia no longer worries about how life smells, if she breathes in too deeply all she tastes is ash.’ The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner from Canada and Europe.
‘All colours are hurt spectacles, I think, and say aloud without intention.’ The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner for Asia.
In the summer of 1917 Robert Grainier took part in an attempt on the life of a Chinese laborer caught, or anyway accused of, stealing from the company stores of the Spokane International Railway in the Idaho Panhandle.
The day was ending in a fiery and glorious way. The ships on the Sound looked like paper silhouettes being sucked up into the sun.
Strange Heart Beating
‘Grief is the aggressive displacement of the self from a known universe to another.’
‘Small praise was like a drug for party members, though we used real drugs too, hard ones, drugs that imbued one with the facility for ruthless violence and multiple orgasms.’
‘She sat sweating on the curb as her mother’s narrow face hovered over the parking lot like a hologram.’
‘She pokes her head through the skylights and sees the tide far out, the exposed seabed sinister as the surface of the moon. Tiny people pick their way across.’
Leaving Gotham City
‘I can’t remember the last time we said I love you before hanging up the phone. I can’t even remember the last time we said goodbye.’
The Meat Suit
‘All life is suffering. At the zendo where Jolie went Thursdays after sixth period, not much in the way of portable wisdom got dispensed, but this was, near as she could tell, the through line.’
Country & Eastern
‘Anyone could find courage when the World-Historical Spirit had selected you to enact your martyrdom on the Six O’Clock News. But in the shadows, in secret, unrecognized?’
Last Days on Corfu
A novel about the life of celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan. ‘You can feel her in every room. The chandeliers shiver.’
A Scale Model of Gull Point
Trapped in a revolving restaurant during an American revolution, Shel VanRybroek turns to tin-foil sculpture.
While the Nightjar Sleeps
‘But while the nightjar sleeps,’ said the mole, ‘it dreams of what it used to be and still sees beyond what isn’t true. And so can we, if we choose to look.’
‘I felt intolerably miserable. There were posters everywhere reminding me I was Manless’
‘The bag was full of fresh dogshit. The note attached read For my children and theirs.’
‘When I sleep, I dream of Will standing on our bed, flicking a whip against our faces. He draws blood.’
Bastard Alias the Romantic
‘Can you imagine what it would be like if instead of killing we cuddled?’
Dynamics in the Storm
‘You only have time to live your own life, and mine was falling apart.’
‘If you require further specifications, please consult your local supplier. They will be happy to help.’
‘There were rules to the game. I could not lose my virginity and I had to be careful not to let a boy go further than I wanted to.’
‘Hara had stumbled on a kind of play, as if they were sisters left alone by their parents for the first time to explore the different ways a day could be deconstructed.‘
‘He’s not himself’, Mum says in the kitchen. Well, who is he then? Is he 40 per cent of his young self? Ten? Do I still have to love him as much as ever, this 90 per cent stranger?
Every Person’s Little Treasure
‘It occurred to Ana that this was a woman who often left things hanging.’
Dreamed in Stone
’You were a chasm that cracked and turned into stones, and then the stones lay there, beautifully laid, in a wall.‘
‘The aim of this study is to visualise a means of understanding the essential aspects of a literary text’
‘Like scraps of leather, oddly shaped, things from life, people and sayings and objects, found themselves spliced together.’
‘No one knows why ripping up a name makes a person call – science can’t explain it. Erasing the name also works.’
‘The road pleasantly gained and lost elevation, flood gauges in dry washes and scraggy hilltops, corners that begged for two wheels not four.’
‘Unconfirmed stories that have been retold so often they acquire the polish of truth, like the rosary beads people here carry in their pockets and pull out whenever the need for reassurance arises.’
The Family Friend
‘We’ve got a lot of family friends but Thorsten has been coming round far too often recently and I wonder whether I shouldn’t tell her that sometime.’