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The Bees that Disappeared

Keiichiro Hirano

‘It was during this period that I got to know K, one of the local mailmen.’

Filling Up With Sugar

Yuten Sawanishi

‘The vagina was the first part of her mother’s body that turned to sugar.’

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.

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.’

Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut

David Mitchell

‘But what if he answers in Martian? I’ll die.’

Things Remembered and Things Forgotten

Kyoko Nakajima

It was something Takashi remembered but Masaru had forgotten.

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.’

Spider Lilies

Hiroko Oyamada

‘The breeze smelled of many things: autumn and earth, the green of the countryside, face powder and old age.’

Pig Skin

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘A perfect impostor.’

After the War, Before the War

David Peace

‘At last, at last. His first steps, on Chinese soil.’

The Dogs

Yukiko Motoya

‘I once lived with a whole lot of dogs.’

Pink

Tomoyuki Hoshino

‘Spinning makes all that is illusory fall away. The things that remain – those are the things that are real.’

O-bakanaru

Eric Ozawa

‘When your wife walks away from you, she does not disappear. When you turn your back, she does not vanish. She will be there when you open your eyes.’

Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte

Kazushige Abe

‘The crucial thing was to cool the baby off, bring the fever down.’

Japan Lights

Sarah Moss

‘She kneels and bows her head almost to the floor, as if pretending he’s one of her idols.’

Eight Trains

Alberto Olmos

‘To go is always to go somewhere; returning, you return to nowhere. That’s the way it is.’

Bakamonotako

Brenda Shaughnessy

‘Bakamonotako felt she didn’t need all eight of her appendages. Four would do.’

In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman

‘My wife and I were both the children of Pakistanis, immigrants, Muslims, and we had faith that our union was of things greater than ourselves.’

Eyes That Have Seen the Sea

Tomás González

‘He had just finished unpacking his rucksack, new only ten days ago and now a sodden, salty, decomposing rag, when they called him.’

How Am I Supposed to Talk to You | New Voices

Lauren Holmes

‘Okay don’t sell yourself,’ said my mom, ‘sell the American dream.’

Sand

John Biguenet

‘The catastrophe had not happened to all of us, we began to understand, but to each of us.’

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.’

The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie

‘Then winter ended and spring came, and I thought, even if I don’t believe there’s a poem in anything any more, maybe I’ll write a story.’

Thank You for Having Me

Lorrie Moore

‘Every day there was something new to mourn and something old to celebrate.’

Dangerous

Joy Williams

‘Grief knows how to love them because we don’t know how to do it any more.’

A Killing

Katherine Faw Morris

COKE SMELLS COLD AND CHEMICAL LIKE THE INSIDE OF A REFRIGERATOR. It’s what back then smells like, now when she thinks of it.

Off the Road

Andrew Brown

‘She acted as if her own desires magnetized the world, and when you were close to her, she magnetized your moral compass too.’

Spelling Problem

Lydia Davis

‘A woman from Barnard College calls me and asks if I would please spell ‘hemorrhaging’ for her.’

My Mother’s Death Party

Ben Janse

‘When I was eleven I fell out of a tree. This is why I can see into the future.’

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.’

After Ida

Elise Winn

‘The year I turned seventeen, the cicada chorus was deafening, as if they were impatient for the real beginning of summer and didn’t realize they were it.’

Car Concentrate

Etgar Keret

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