‘Roger The French-Ivorian understood that I didn’t appreciate his tone of voice and ordered two Pelforts to win me back.’
‘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.
‘As a kid, he played video games and roughhoused on the beach and joined a gang.’
‘People think they’re destroying, but it’s hard work, nearly impossible; building is easy, illusory but easy.’
‘One piece of luck: I didn’t explain to the pianist how to play the piano.’ Translated from the French by Sophie Lewis.
Books and Roses
‘A golden chain was fastened around her neck, and on that chain was a key.’
Boy, Snow, Bird
‘I didn’t enclose a note, though there were a few things I’d have liked to say. Restraint is classier.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘I stay mostly in my bedroom chambers, examining what has found its way into my pores or the mucoid crook of my eye.’
Brother in Ice
‘My brother is a man trapped in ice. He looks at us through it; he is there and he is not there.’
Bucket of Eels
‘I was gazing into my empty bowl and realizing how little time it takes to eat when you’re not carrying on a conversation.’
‘As I lay on the mattress, the white toe pads of the gecko floated up before me, against the vastness of the blue-black night. Rather than a presence, it seemed to me more like a trace, a barely discernible odour that flooded in on the air.’
‘But he had engulfed her somehow; taken up residence in her imagination like some large, dense, intractable problem that had been given to her to solve.’
Chanel Nº 5
‘The liquid tingled, a subtle electrification, as the scent changed, bloomed, became an extension of the boy himself.’
Plays Bossa Nova
‘That was the setup for the review I wrote about this imaginary record.’ Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
‘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.’
What came after was the stuff of madness, the madness of warring winds, the madness of the man these winds had delivered up to me.
Cold Mountain: Premières esquisses
Ce qui s’est passé par la suite relève de la folie, folie des vents s’entredéchirant, folie de l’homme que ces vents avaient poussé chez moi.
‘Daddy always said our apples were blessed because the order lived beside us. He liked to gift crates of Egremont Russets, the sweetest of all his fruit, to the sisters.’
Cow and Company
‘And now there were four of them stepping out to look for a cow.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize overall winner.
Creatures of the Earth
‘They alone among all the creatures of the earth would never have to go that way.’