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Remembering Westgate

Sana Krasikov

‘I wonder if the only way to grasp what is terrifying and unimaginable for those of us who haven’t experienced it is to feel around the contours of inescapability, the boundary of its negative space.’

The Answers

Catherine Lacey

‘And each time I hit the tarmac I had this terrible feeling that the trip I’d just taken had never even happened, that I’d spent hundreds for a memory I could barely recall.’

Bright Circle

Ben Lerner

‘Things he dreamt began to show up in the bushes, the plastic figurine from a parachute firework, the small dull rusted circular saw blade he thought of as a throwing star, and he pocketed those things.’

The Anthology

Karan Mahajan

‘Long before terrorism became fashionable in the West and commonplace in the East, there was a bombing at the Sovereign Center in Delhi.’

Lipari

Anthony Marra

‘Frank Laganà stood on the cliff suited in black, as straight as an exclamation point, poised to leap to his death once again.’

This Is Our Descent

Dinaw Mengestu

‘When it came to our son, her defensive instincts were well-developed and all the more necessary because it was hard from the outside to see why we were so protective.’

Brom

Ottessa Moshfegh

‘I stay mostly in my bedroom chambers, examining what has found its way into my pores or the mucoid crook of my eye.’

All the Caged Things

Chinelo Okparanta

‘All that thought of home gave the girl a sickly feeling, the longing of something so out of reach, something she wasn’t even sure she could any longer truly remember.’

The Unmailed Letter

Kseniya Melnik

‘I was already suspicious of you before you were even born. You were Mama’s then, eating her up from the inside like a little cancer. She became yellow. She lost chunkfuls of hair.’

Qualitative Leaps

Sana Krasikov

‘Breaking your family’s heart was the price you paid for rescuing your own.’

Chanel Nº 5

Victor Lodato

‘The liquid tingled, a subtle electrification, as the scent changed, bloomed, became an extension of the boy himself.’

Chekhov’s Ladies

Edna O’Brien

‘Malachi is brushing her hair, long, dark brown and with russet glints. She likes it, as he can tell from her smile in the mirror.’

Naugahyde

Gordon Lish

A story of ageing infidelity: ‘He would seek to remember and she would seek to remember – each succeeding a little differently from the other.’

Three Friends in a Hammock

April Ayers Lawson

‘I could not decide if love was real as a thing or something that could never entirely be proven, like God’

The Cleanse

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

‘There is foam on the sea of our blood. It is the foam of history. We are the survivors, we say.’

The Neighborhood

Kelly Magee

‘Can bad mothers be taught to be good? Or maybe, can we be incentivized to bond? To love?’

The Transition

Luke Kennard

In the not-so-distant future, middle-class underachievers are faced with a difficult choice: prison or motivational business classes.

Swimming Underwater

Merethe Lindstrøm

‘When I picture my childhood, it’s like I’m swimming underwater.’ Merethe Lindstrøm’s story is translated from the Norwegian by Marta Eidsvåg, and is the winner of Harvill Secker’s Young Translators’ Prize 2016.

Sarandí Street

Silvina Ocampo

‘Around the kerosene lamp fell slow drops of dead butterflies.’

The Weak Spot

Sophie Mackintosh

‘There was a certain kind of teenage girl who would relish not just the killing, but the trophy taking, choosing a tooth and using the pliers herself.’

Body Language

Juhea Kim

‘Always being pulled in opposite directions was how she remained upright.’

The Tenant

Victor Lodato

‘She’d gotten so used to her loneliness, she didn’t want to fall from it now.’

In the Garden

F.T. Kola

‘I too quiver. I resonate with the music that vibrates within her.’

things that didn’t happen

Sarah Moss

‘Suddenly, your heart began; suddenly in the darkness of your mother’s womb there was a crackle and a flash and out of nothing, the current began to run.’

Eat You Up

Kathleen Murray

‘Wasn’t it possible the mental shit would leave the kid’s brain, cell by cell, just by doing normal stuff?’

Navigation

Lisa McInerney

‘His aberrations are formless; he imagines his insanity as a sort of gaseous molecule, looking to react with bugs and glitches.’

The Pigeon

Faraaz Mahomed

‘The pigeon and I have a very warm and comfortable relationship.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.

Pure Gold

John Patrick McHugh

‘That icy fear of the morning after slithered back: why does summer always feel like it belongs to someone else?’

Our Private Estate

Dave Lordan

‘Dozens of votive candles held aloft by mourners in white suits in procession. So much white, as if death could be engulfed in it, as if death itself was not an all-engulfing whiteness.’

Cow and Company

Parashar Kulkarni

‘And now there were four of them stepping out to look for a cow.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize overall winner.

Mayo Oh Mayo

Nuala O’Connor

‘Tonight there is a moon-rind, a nicotined fingernail, hanging low over the lake; above it, a Swarovski sparkler of a star.’

Black Milk

Tina Makereti

‘Despair sat on her shoulders where her wings should have been. Darkness consumed her, the quivering lip of a dying abalone, grease in the barrel of a gun.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for the Pacific.

Through the Night

Siobhán Mannion

‘The person in the mirror watches her, slightly swollen, slightly blurred.’

Kiddio at the Wedding

Mary O’Donoghue

‘If he fell in I would jump straight after, I would plumb through water not cold so much as oily, and dark as a dirty wine bottle.’

Party, Party

Belinda McKeon

‘Arlo’s matinee sleekness was so difficult to bear’

Ladivine

Marie NDiaye

‘We were hoping for a communion, and that communion never came.’