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A Rationalist in the Jungle

Héctor Abad

‘A pale-faced, near-sighted urbanite like me is nothing less than handicapped in the heart of the jungle.’

First Sentence: Héctor Abad

Héctor Abad

‘When I began to use the testosterone gel I fell in love with the woman who is now my wife.’

But Why Write? The Writer-To-Be

Walter Abish

‘How to explain this resolve to write, this firm unwavering intent to become a writer on the part of someone who may not even really care for books?’

Benjamin Pell Versus the Rest of the World

Tim Adams

‘You hear Benjamin Pell long before you see him.’

Operation

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘I like to think now that he knew how much I liked him, from the beginning, and that we were both equal participants in the ritual.’

Abbottabad Pastoral

Humera Afridi

‘Until now, I had never experienced a disaster, or witnessed mass suffering and death close up.’

A Gentle Madness

Humera Afridi

‘Pakistan is a nation of memory keepers. We feed our memories as if they are guests at tea, pay homage to them’

Lovely Girls, Very Cheap

Decca Aitkenhead

‘A bar girl in Ko Samui is employed to attract customers. Almost every bar has at least one girl, and some of the larger bars have up to twenty’.

The Foreign Correspondent

Pallavi Aiyar

‘the absence of Indian foreign correspondents was, and is, unexceptional.’

Baghdad Diary

Nuha al-Radi

‘Last week I went to the Rashid Hotel to pick up a letter which Bob Simpson had brought from Cyprus.‘

The Ground Floor

Daniel Alarcón

‘I met Darin Rossi standing in a thick, gooey pool of fake blood, on an early-December night in Los Angeles.’

Life Among the Pirates

Daniel Alarcón

‘When Jacinto was a boy, only rich people had books.’

Lost in Translation

Daniel Alarcón

‘It’s about the music of it. “It’s Hollywood,” Mario said, and assured me the same is true of political speech-making.’

According to Your Will

Naomi Alderman

‘Thank you, God,’ said the boys, ‘for not making me a woman.’ ‘Thank you, God,’ said the girls, ‘for making me according to Your will.’

The Meaning of Zombies

Naomi Alderman

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

Plato Speaks

Caroline Alexander

‘Photographs showed a wood-panelled room, furnished with a long table spread with a leopard skin.’

Boys in Zinc

Svetlana Alexievich

Winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Brexit Win

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

‘The poor hated the poor, natives hated outsiders, settled migrants hated new incomers, the North hated the South, non-Londoners hated London.’

When Denmark Criminalised Kindness

Lisbeth Zornig Andersen

‘We now know that it is a criminal offence to help refugees in distress.’

Confessions of a Middle-Aged Ecstasy Eater

Anonymous

‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and there is much being wasted when one deliberately chooses not to explore the ecstasy of its deeper horizons.’

South of Nowhere

Antonio Lobo Antunes

‘If you and I were anteaters, instead of a man and a woman talking to each other in this corner of the bar, perhaps I would then be able to accustom myself to your silence.’

People Don’t Get Depressed in Nigeria

Ike Anya

‘I open the newspaper and the word ‘Nigeria’ catches my eye.’

Chinua Achebe’s Legacy

Ike Anya

‘Who will speak out for us now? Who will ask the hard questions of us and the world that he did?’

A Poet in Cuba

Reinaldo Arenas

'By 1974, I had published several books abroad that had been banned in Cuba'.

Kopfkino

Chloe Aridjis

‘Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone’.

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’

Best Book of 2008: The Alphabet

Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout on why Ron Silliman's The Alphabet is the best book of 2008.