Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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To Detroit

Benjamin Markovits

‘Things started going wrong at my ten-year college reunion – or I guess I mean that I realized how wrong they had gone.’

Lily

Ian McEwan

‘He'll be ruthless with himself in his pursuit of boundless health to avoid his mother's fate: Mental death.’

Lederhosen

Haruki Murakami

‘Please, I beg you. If I do not buy lederhosen now, I will never buy lederhosen.’

That Year in Rishikesh

Adriana Lisboa

‘The pulp from her processing of the world was a mixture of past, present, dreams, imagination, films, books, newspaper articles, anything.’

Moscow, Idaho

Chris Offutt

‘Tilden stopped digging and wiped his sleeve across his forehead, leaving a brown smear on his skin.’

From Dream to Dream

Yiyun Li

‘At what point had one’s life stopped belonging to one?’

Trout Day By Pumpkin Light

Adam Mars-Jones

‘He is as old as sin, if sin is twenty-six.’

Room 536

A.L. Kennedy

‘The world cannot be as this is, I refuse to accept it.’

Soul and Body

Milan Kundera

‘What was screaming in fact was the naive idealism of her love trying to banish all contradictions, banish the duality of the body and soul, banish perhaps even time.’

Five Cats and Three Women

J. Robert Lennon

‘While he didn't mind (not much anyway) being responsible for the death of one cat, his cat, he did not feel good shouldering the death of four cats.’

The Great Wall

Ismail Kadaré

‘They've been making every imaginable special case for him for all eternity, they even sing hymns in his honour’.

Tombouctou

Jamal Mahjoub

‘After about three days in Djenné the lizards begin to talk.’

The War Artist

Margaret Luongo

‘On the third day, the little rosebud teacups rattled in their saucers as the war artist poured the coffee.’

Motorama 1954

Bill Morris

‘It was at sundown on New Year's Day 1954 that Claire Hathaway began to feel embarrassed by her new television set.’

Drone

Hari Kunzru

‘Rich men have been building tall on this hill for centuries.’

Two Girls in a Boat

Emma Martin

‘This was a tiredness that caused Hannah to walk into a travel agent in Clapham High Street on a grey Tuesday morning and buy a ticket to New Zealand.’

The Moon and the Batteries

Hiromi Kawakami

‘His full name was Mr Harutsuna Matsumoto, but I called him ‘Sensei’. Not ‘Mr’ or ‘Sir’, just ‘Sensei’.’

Whale

Panos Karnezis

‘Whale arrived at work a little after seven with black circles round his eyes’.

Car Concentrate

Etgar Keret

‘Women mostly touch it tentatively with the backs of their hands.’

Reference Points

Philip Kerr

‘It was eating oysters, four hundred of the bivalve sons-of-bitches, that finally killed my father, in a theatre-bar off St Martin's Lane.‘

Her Lousy Shoes

Tracy O’Neill

‘On good days, he could believe that that was exactly what he appeared to be: pedestrian, a pedestrian, a walker, walking, going places, on the ups, possessing two healthy feet at least.’

Slim

Adam Mars-Jones

‘My African family doesn't have the money for photographs. My African family may never even have seen a photograph.’

Happiness

Andrés Neuman

‘My name is Marcos. I’ve always wanted to be Cristóbal.’

Lover

Joyce Carol Oates

‘You won't know me, won't see my face. Unless you see my face. And then it will be too late.’

Boy, Snow, Bird

Helen Oyeyemi

‘I didn’t enclose a note, though there were a few things I’d have liked to say. Restraint is classier.’

Kinder Than Solitude

Yiyun Li

‘Being let down was Celia’s fate; life never failed to bestow upon her pain and disappointment she had to suffer on everyone’s behalf, so that the world could go on being a good place, free from real calamities.’

Blue Jay

Lillian Li

‘Like romantic love, you can’t ever replicate your first best-friendship.’

Breakfast

Toshiki Okada

‘If I had known she were heading for Tokyo then, and if I had known she thought of Tokyo as a city of zombies, I would have wanted to know, of course, whether she saw me that way, too.’

Soft Core

Joyce Carol Oates

‘They were two sisters of youthful middle age with three breasts between them and a history that might be summed up as much left unsaid. Maggie, the elder, who'd had a mastectomy eighteen months before, rarely alluded to the fact in her younger sister's company and spoke with an air of startled reproach if Esther brought up the subject of her health; as if Maggie's breast cancer were a symptom of a moral weakness, a deficiency of character, about which Esther had no right to know.’

Notes for a Young Gentleman

Toby Litt

‘A gentleman should greet with genuine warmth only the following persons – his sister’s daughters, his maternal aunts and his mortal enemies.’

The Judgement of Lut

Tim Lott

‘The point is, in the tower, on that night, certain gods revealed themselves to one another and came into conflict.‘

Every Move You Make

David Malouf

‘This is what sorrow is that knows no explanation or answer.’

Creatures of the Earth

John McGahern

‘They alone among all the creatures of the earth would never have to go that way.’

God Bless You, 2011

Hiromi Kawakami

‘If the god of uranium really exists, then what must he be thinking? Were this a fairy tale of old, what would happen when humans broke the laws of nature to turn gods into minions?’ Hiromi Kawakami on the nature gods of Japan.

Drifting House

Krys Lee

‘Houses loomed like ghosts. The government’s face was everywhere: on the sides of a beached cart, above the lintel of the post office.’

Sticky Fingers

Arun Kolatkar

‘Selecting the right kind of a tomato was crucial for the scam to work.’