‘Nothing has changed, Edgar said. What new event is written into their history? None. Where is their future? Nowhere. Are they against or for progress? It was dark when Edgar took the box outside down to the rubbish heap and sprinkled the dead moths upon the ashes of the diseased pawpaw.’ Janet Frame on an unsettling natural process.
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.’
The Development Game
‘We are six on the mission to the North-west Frontier: an old Japanese, a Korean, an American, a Bangladeshi, a Dutch girl, me. ... We've got four weeks to come up with a project for, say, thirty million dollars.’
Now, Now, Louison
Jean Frémon on the artist Louise Bourgeois and her fascination with spiders. Translated from the French by Cole Swensen.
After the War
‘My antipathy to military culture started early and it wasn't helped by living in a garrison town.’
Rice Cakes and Starbucks
‘When the Lindens arrived in Los Angeles it was raining. Not drizzling, or even pouring, but streaming down outside the glass doors of the arrivals lounge in thick, grey sideways slices.’
Where East Meets West
‘How can we presume to know what other people's experiences are like?’
The Virgin of Esmeraldas
‘Everything was okay until Marisol accidentally broke a china cup with a rose on it that her stepmother had brought with her from DR.’
‘He hated the idea of learning words from a list; it was like taking vitamin supplements in place of eating.’
You Okay for Time?
‘She wants to talk, she wants to unburden herself, but there’s nothing left so all she can do is cry.’ Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori.
‘They tell me you write about exile, about lives adrift, about trees whose roots are buried thousands of kilometres away, he said in his harsh accent, his hoarseness aggravated by the static on the telephone line.’
‘I could make you promise much worse things.’ Daniel Galera muses on unknown family histories.
‘She shifts, half in shadow. Whatever else, she's certainly a child. No one is with her.’
‘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.’
‘Pain informs. Pain draws a map. Doctors resolve to relieve pain, but pain is information, and to lose it is to lose something valuable.’
The First Winter of my Married Life
‘Our ears were soon as sensitive as a skinless arm, and we spoke in whispers, registered the furtive drip of remote taps.’
‘This writer does not write among these men who are here because they have lost the plot, lost the thread of their own lives.’
Rose on the broken
‘They're only wild flowers. I wish I could buy you real roses. But to her they became the real roses, frail petals, each centre a sun. And they smelled of sun and beginnings, as clear and thin as the water.’
‘The better they were at escaping, the quicker, more daring they were, the harder the cat chased them.’
‘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.’
Fox Deceived | New Voices
‘Sandra was stuck at the traffic lights where route forty hit the turnpike. She was thinking about strawberries.’
Subha Prasad Sanyal’s translation of ‘After Half-Time’ by Shamik Ghosh is the winner of Harvill Secker’s Young Translators’ Prize 2018.
‘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.’
‘He drove off in her car. He was wearing a white visor, a white shirt with long sleeves. I don't believe the world I lived to see.’
‘She sat sweating on the curb as her mother’s narrow face hovered over the parking lot like a hologram.’
Strange Heart Beating
‘Grief is the aggressive displacement of the self from a known universe to another.’
Eyes That Have Seen the Sea
‘He had just finished unpacking his rucksack, new only ten days ago and now a sodden, salty, decomposing rag, when they called him.’