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Thailand

Haruki Murakami

‘Living and dying are, in a sense, things of equal value.’

How It Ends

Andrew O’Hagan

‘Seagulls murmur overhead, and nip at the banks. You can hear almost nothing.’

The Instant of Passage

Mathias Énard

‘Praying for the unknown dead, for the vague remains of the existences of total strangers, was sadly abstract.’

Motley Notes

Ian Jack

‘What was it like to work in such a place?’

Mnemosyne, Teen Taals, and Tottenham Court Road

Russell Hoban

‘Music is a puissant recaller of time past; music is memory's sister and for its very life relies on memory to hold in our minds the passage of sounds through time.’

Epithalamium

Greg Jackson

‘Hara had stumbled on a kind of play, as if they were sisters left alone by their parents for the first time to explore the different ways a day could be deconstructed.‘

How to be Gay and Indian

Manil Suri

‘This was supposed to be my great in-your-face coming-out campaign, which I’d fretted over for months beforehand. Had India suddenly lost its conservativeness, turned enlightened, even hip?’

Nothing Ever Happens Here

Ottessa Moshfegh

‘I was broke, and I was a nobody, but I was happy.’ A story from Otessa Moshfegh about a young man moving to Hollywood.

Jim Magee’s Hill

Pamela Petro

‘No one who’s seen The Hill has been able to describe it to me without visceral discomfort. Actually, no one’s been able to describe it at all.’

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘We are, it seems, in the middle of nowhere.’

Lavande

Ann Beattie

‘It seemed impossible, but probably everyone marries thinking such a thing impossible.’

The Life and Death of a Homosexual

Pierre Clastres

‘There was no sweetness in the air that day: the corpse gave off a terrible stench’.

Interesting if True

Phillip Knightley

‘The end of the war in the Pacific came just before I left school.’

Two Poems

Jack Underwood

‘We are nearing the conclusion of this anatomy. / We are strung between the point of ending, and / the point of having started.’

Hawk

Joy Williams

‘As regards to life it is much the best to think that the experiences we have are necessary for us.’

Dear Peter

Simon Armitage & Ted Hughes

An unpublished letter by Ted Hughes, introduced by Simon Armitage. ‘It’s reassuring to see a spelling mistake (‘style’ for stile), and I love the maps.’

The Pretty Women of Paris

Anonymous

‘For the last fifteen years she has been richly kept by a Russian prince, who revels in her brutality, viciousness, extravagance and love of brandy.’

Too Hard to Keep

Jason Lazarus & Ariana Reines

‘There are days I can’t even remember the things I want to know.’

The Last Thing We Need

Claire Vaye Watkins

‘I think there will be lightning tonight; the air has that feel.’

How to Get Over Someone You Love

Adam Fitzgerald

‘Would you like to come with me for some / old-fashioned inconclusive combat?’

Famished Eels

Mary Rokonadravu

‘After one hundred years, this is what I have: a daguerreotype of her in bridal finery; a few stories told and retold in plantations, kitchens, hospitals, airport lounges.’

Dance Cadaverous

Uzodinma Iweala

‘It just seemed like the right thing to want, the right thing to do.’

A Lovely and Terrible Thing

Chris Womersley

‘For a moment I could not speak. I looked off into the bleak distance, then at this man, and there was something about the sad shake of his head and the way his hair flapped about on his scalp that filled me with unreasonable warmth.’

Mona’s Story

Urvashi Butalia

‘I’m a woman, I’ve always wanted to be one, it’s that simple.’

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.’

Made in China

Isabel Hilton

‘Visiting a factory was one thing; working in one quite another.’

Six Brazilian Songs

Teju Cole

Teju Cole shares six favourite Brazilian songs.

The Ambivalent

Paulo Scott

‘He not only sees the World Cup as a ceasefire, but also as a series of sleights of hand that hide what’s really going on, political debauchery, spin and chicanery.’

Tales Out of School

Kees Beekmans

‘But it seems I’ve said something stupid again, and blasphemous to boot.’

The Meaning of Zombies

Naomi Alderman

‘They’re the interchangeable anonymous people we encounter on our daily commute, those whose humanity we cannot acknowledge.’

The Barn at The End of Our Term

Karen Russell

‘Eleven of the stabled horses are, as far as Rutherford can ascertain, former presidents of the United States of America.’

The New World Order

Harold Pinter

‘He hasn’t got any idea at all of what we’re going to do to him.’

The Highway of Brotherhood and Unity

Michael Ignatieff

‘Back in 1989, we thought the new world opened up by the breaching of the Berlin Wall would be ruled by philosopher kings, dissident heroes and shipyard electricians.’

A Few Words on the Life Cycle of Frogs

Patricio Pron

‘I wasn’t going to abandon the dream of literature, I was going to keep dreaming.’

Baby Clutch

Adam Mars-Jones

‘Endlessly we reformulate our feelings for each other.’

Scarp | New Voices

Nick Papadimitriou

‘His imagination lingers in the woods and fields like a slowly drifting plant community and then dissolves into ditches lined with black waterlogged leaves – a residue of previous summers – and the ghosts of dead insects.’