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Accident

Etgar Keret

’Thirty years I’m a cabbie,’ the small guy sitting behind the wheel tells me, ’thirty years and not one accident.’

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.’

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.’

America

Chinelo Okparanta

‘It is a reluctant kind of disregard that stems from a feeling of shame.’

OIF

Phil Klay

‘A few months later I was strapped up, M4 in condition 1, surrounded by 03s, backpack full of cash, twitchiest guy in Iraq.’

Stones and Artichokes

Nicole Krauss

‘As we get older, the world grows to fit our fear of death.’

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.’

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.’

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 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.