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If You Start Breathing

Thea Lim

‘Sharing her pain with other people meant that her pain belonged to her less, Joanne belonged to her less.’

Portion of Jam

Mazen Maarouf

‘My father no longer goes to the hospital to work, because you don’t find nurses in wheelchairs working in hospitals.’

Man of Principle

Roy Chicky Arad

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.

Susan and Miffy

Jane Campbell

‘The lust of an old man is disgusting but the lust of an old woman is worse. Everyone knows that.’

The Panther

Sergio Pitol

‘Haste did not grip the animal. He paced before me languidly, tracing small circles; then, in a single pounce he reached the fireplace’.

Speer

Sheila Heti

‘Every night for three weeks, I sat with Hitler after dinner.’

Yokosuka blue line

Steven Dunn

‘I close my eyes and circle my finger around the map. Wherever my finger lands.’

Stalingrad

Vasily Grossman

‘On the rampage, he truly did become a devil; it was impossible to restrain him.’ Translated from the Russian by Robert & Elizabeth Chandler.

The Heavens

Sandra Newman

‘It was one of those parties where no one knew the hostess.’

No Machine Could Do It

Eugene Lim

‘In the future we have to be as interesting to the AI as our pets are to us.’

Letter of Apology

Maria Reva

‘One can only argue with an intellectual like Konstantyn Illych if one speaks to him on his level.’

Radical Sufficiency

Jess Row

‘We have to reverse-engineer our genius so that we can appreciate the simple things.’

Ardor (Aghast)

Anne Carson

‘I taught you what you know, I never taught you what I know.’

The Swallow’s Nest

John Boyne

Meet Gore Vidal in this excerpt from John Boyne’s novel A Ladder to the Sky.

E.E.G.

Daša Drndić

‘A threatening soundlessness falls like a breeze onto our stone floor.’

The Woman Dies

Aoko Matsuda

‘The woman dies. She dies to provide a plot twist. She dies to develop the narrative. She dies for cathartic effect. She dies because no one could think of what else to do with her.’ Aoko Matsuda, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton.

Freshwater

Akwaeke Emezi

‘We came from somewhere – everything does.’

The Unspoken

David Hayden

Horror from David Hayden. ‘A shuddering, wordless voice rose in the distance, and another, and another; a chorus, a lament, which ended in a low grunt. There was a coda of sobbing. There was silence.’

Common Whipping

Naben Ruthnum

A young film composer turns to prostitution in a short story by Naben Ruthnum, set in a Rome of the early 1970s.

‘I Am Going to Speak to You about Anxiety’

Hernán Díaz

‘Her mother was still sitting on the sofa, stroking the left armrest while she talked.’

Ghost Wall

Sarah Moss

An excerpt from Sarah Moss's Ghost Wall, published by Granta Books.

Regan

Brian Booker

A coming-of-age story about an awkward roommate on Roosevelt Island, ordering bisexual porn tapes from catalogues and writing summaries of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for a living.

Slip of a Fish

Amy Arnold

‘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.’

Candidate

Jessie Greengrass

‘All through winter and another summer we wait, but time passes more quickly now that we have a purpose. I feel it flowing.’

Sharing the same bed, dreaming different dreams

Ma Jian

Ma Jian shows the excess and corruption of the Chinese Communist party in this excerpt from his new novel, China Dream, translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew.

Hoarfrost

John Patrick McHugh

Can infidelity make up for infidelity? New fiction from John Patrick McHugh.

I’ll Go On

Hwang Jungeun

‘Swish-swish, swish-swish. The sound fills the large space around them, and Nana finds this deeply satisfying.’

Day of Awe

Diane Williams

New short fiction from Diane Williams' Collected Stories. ‘I fear I lack deep feelings, have flighty ideas, and am often irritable over trifles.’

After Half-Time

Shamik Ghosh

Subha Prasad Sanyal’s translation of ‘After Half-Time’ by Shamik Ghosh is the winner of Harvill Secker’s Young Translators’ Prize 2018.

The Minutes

Nell Stevens

‘The Minutes’ by Nell Stevens is shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018.

The Seafood Buffet

Pirjo Hassinen

‘Things that felt like cold stones began to be piled around her ankles. Lemon halves.’

The Fucking Lake

Diane Williams

New short fiction from Diane Williams. ‘The major events of my life are done with, except, of course, for my final downfall.’

Now, Now, Louison

Jean Frémon

Jean Frémon on the artist Louise Bourgeois and her fascination with spiders. Translated from the French by Cole Swensen.

The Closet

Kim Sagwa

‘It’s the hour of afterglow, the day’s demise, the sky bleeding to death.’

Cowboys and Angels

Chelsea Bieker

‘I had me a cowboy once on a hot steam Friday night.’ New fiction from Chelsea Bieker.

The Poker

Kathryn Scanlan

‘I looked back and there was something wrong about his hand – how it cupped her bottom, how it probed.’