‘This is a true story, but I can't believe it's really happening. It's a murder story, too. I can't believe my luck.’
The Time Sickness
‘Before me through the restraining bars, the sunset sprawls in its polluted pomp, full of genies, cloaked ghosts, crimson demons of the middle sky.’
‘How did I get like this? It can't just be the booze and all the junk food I put away. I must have been booked in for this a long time ago.’
Let Me Count The Times
‘Vernon made love to his wife three and a half times a week, and this was all right.’
Jane Austen’s novel ‘Northanger Abbey’ was published posthumously in 1818. Martin Amis adapted it for Miramax Pictures in 2001. The film has yet to be made. This is how it begins.
An excerpt from Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated from the French by Frank Wynne.
‘If I had known it would put a continent between me and my children I would have killed that map-maker myself.’
Anwar Gets Everything
‘Two ways a man can go here, in the direction of God or the direction of believing there is nothing up there but a sun that will kill you whether you pray five times or not.’
Acts of Infidelity
‘Anticipation made it difficult for Ester to swallow.’ Translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel.
‘Nick didn’t kid himself that what he and Olivia had was love. It was more serious than that.’
‘Maybe you heard about the sticks of dynamite he set along military rail routes, waiting for them to spark and explode.’ New flash fiction from Molly Antopol
Morrison Okoli (1955-2010)
‘It is always an honour to have women cry during someone’s burial, but yours is too silent for comfort.’
Man of Principle
A novelette by Roy Chicky Arad, written after one of the wars of Israel in Gaza. Translated from the Hebrew by Maayan Eitan and Oded Even Or.
‘I grew obsessed with the place, thinking that getting to see it, to experience it, would make the pain of that fall go away.’
Coming down from the Mountains
‘There is nothing to be heard now; just, in the darkness, the racket of the victrolas in Loma Colorada barrio, and the organ lording it over all the other noises.’
A Day in the Life in El Salvador
‘I have not failed you, José. I understand that you were saying goodbye when you opened your eye, and that, besides greeting me, you were expressing your pride in me, seeing me standing with my arm around the shoulders of your granddaughter.’
‘When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters.’ 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.
Slip of a Fish
‘Charlie’s swimming. Six strokes then she turns to breathe, six more and all the way to the end of the length. She’s a swimmer, Charlie. She’s a bit of a fish, a slip of a fish.’
Shirley from a Small Place
‘The highs and lows of fame, have been far better and far worse than both mother and daughter could have hoped for. Shirley is only twenty-seven.’
Reconstruction | New Voices
‘There’s nothing like watching the summer sunset with a glass of jellab.’
Leila in the Wilderness
‘It was almost involuntary: it felt like falling, or like rising in a dream.’
The Secular World
‘There is no lack of talent in this country. All we lack is decent leaders.’ Pakistan’s secular world runs against fundamentalism in Nadeem Aslam’s latest novel, The Golden Legend.
Isis in Darkness
‘The lock splits. The iron gate swings open. She emerges, raises her arms towards the suddenly chilled moon. The world changes.’
The Martians Claim Canada
‘Mushrooms have long memories. Some of them are thousands of years old. However, they are not always very talkative.’
‘The method's not important. The only thing that counts is that you go along with it–and that you understand why it has to be done.’
4 3 2 1: Overture
‘According to family legend, Ferguson’s grandfather departed on foot from his native city of Minsk with one hundred rubles sewn into the lining of his jacket’
‘The decks are brick red, the colour of old Australian verandas, as are the metal steps, the rails gloss white.’
The Gentlest Village
‘You are learning – learning a great deal. It is too much for you, so your body bows out. Then you wake up and you can continue.’