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The Bridge

David Mamet

‘Surely the world was going to end. And probably in fire - in nuclear destruction, by mistake, or at the hands of madmen.’

Bad Seeds

Masatsugu Ono

‘Evil, she told herself. That was the name of the flower.’

Item Girls

Kuzhali Manickavel

‘I have heard the item girls singing each to each. / I do not think they will sing to me.’

Five Houses

Melanie McFadyean

‘I live here, we say, this is my house, my home. We settle, dwell, adorn. A house feels permanent. But this illusion of security can end in a minute.’

Final Fantasy III

Tao Lin

‘On the F train to Manhattan I emailed a friend in the UK. I said I couldn’t write my essay about Japan.’

The Chronicle of the Wrinkled-Face Sheikh

Salman Natour

‘No other inanimate object retains emotion as strongly as keys do. Fingerprints are engraved on them as if the laws of wear and tear do not apply.’

A Clean Marriage

Sayaka Murata

‘Frequency of sex since marriage: zero.’ Sayaka Murata on a sexless marriage and the ‘Clean Breeder’ technique for pleasureless reproduction.

Blazing Sun

Tatiana Salem Levy

‘It’s never easy to trade one love for another.’

Small Differences

Catherine Lacey

‘Everyone should just sit very still until they reach the calmer waters of later-young-adulthood, that promised land of lowered expectations.’

The Captain

Rattawut Lapcharoensap

‘I was with Dora. We were in love. Things were cheap and plentiful and the money from the insurance was going to last us forever.’

Mouth

Mario Vargas Llosa

‘I lost my left ear from a bite. . .Through the thin slit that remains I can hear the sounds of the world.’

Crow Fair

Thomas McGuane

‘You’re in a different world when your own mother doesn’t recognize you, or thinks you’re the stranger who gave her a hickey.’

The Whale House

Sharon Millar

‘By morning the dreams are gone, flying through the tiny holes in the net in sudden starling movements.’

Come, Japanese!

Julie Otsuka

‘On the boat we each had to make choices.’