‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
Crossing Cut Creek | New Voices
‘Light rose over Mama’s tanned arms, Keller’s dirty hair. The air was thick with colour and swirling dust, and we were still, suspended in it.’
‘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.’
Doctors and Nurses
‘Skirtless, jumperless, she lies on the floor, her hair settling about her like a silky parachute.’
Don’t Forsake Me
'Bára went to the church on the advice of her friend Ivana. She had been suffering from occasional bouts of depression', Ivan Klíma in 'Don't Forsake Me' in Granta 59: France: The Outsider.
‘Houses loomed like ghosts. The government’s face was everywhere: on the sides of a beached cart, above the lintel of the post office.’