‘Nothing has changed, Edgar said. What new event is written into their history? None. Where is their future? Nowhere. Are they against or for progress? It was dark when Edgar took the box outside down to the rubbish heap and sprinkled the dead moths upon the ashes of the diseased pawpaw.’ Janet Frame on an unsettling natural process.
‘A man sat on the corner of Karl's anorak and didn't notice, pulling Karl slightly to the right. He stared at the man's shoes. Brogues, a slight residue of shoe polish. He stared ahead at the empty stage. Now he had left it too long to do anything about it.’ Luke Kennard's fictional take on business motivational classes.
‘Nathan: there’s something in the basement. In the locked rooms I was telling you about.’
What’s Not There Can’t Hurt You
‘A shadow gained body and grew, looming over the bed, and he caught the impression of long teeth and many limbs, smelled something claylike and vegetal.’
While the Nightjar Sleeps
‘But while the nightjar sleeps,’ said the mole, ‘it dreams of what it used to be and still sees beyond what isn’t true. And so can we, if we choose to look.’
Our Last Guest
‘Maybe anyone becomes unbearable after enough time in the honeymoon suite.’ Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s story of eternity á deux.
‘Two women appeared embracing two of a kind – that is each woman held onto a globular lamp base that had luster.’
The Beauty and the Bat
‘I knew who she was well enough, by then – a competent woman in earnest who didn’t like me.’
‘When I picture my childhood, it’s like I’m swimming underwater.’ Merethe Lindstrøm’s story is translated from the Norwegian by Marta Eidsvåg, and is the winner of Harvill Secker’s Young Translators’ Prize 2016.
Memoirs of a Polar Bear
‘I was perfectly content with my new life until I began to write my autobiography.’
‘I felt intolerably miserable. There were posters everywhere reminding me I was Manless’
Winnie and the Innocence of the World
‘This is how I became Winnie’s clandestine, outcast and utterly powerless guardian angel.’
The Good Citizens
‘In the black fog of her grief, Anna Kraft received an invitation.’
‘She feels the wildness enter her and keeps her eyes shut.’ New fiction from Eliza Robertson.
‘The bag was full of fresh dogshit. The note attached read For my children and theirs.’
‘In the not-too-distant future, all men would be on their feet, reduced to wearing out their soles on the streets.’
The Weak Spot
‘There was a certain kind of teenage girl who would relish not just the killing, but the trophy taking, choosing a tooth and using the pliers herself.’
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
‘It’s the year of “the human being”. The year of race-creed-color blindness. It’s 1963.’
‘My cousin is an artist. He says, You draw some good knives but you still need to work on your stab wounds.’
‘When I sleep, I dream of Will standing on our bed, flicking a whip against our faces. He draws blood.’
‘The boy was gone, and for a moment she panicked – a feeling that confused her.’
‘It must be a dreadful cross: this hot desire to join in with people who don’t want you.’
His Middle Name Was Not Jesus
‘He didn’t know their language but understood it in their boiling voices, the heat on their faces, how they singed each other with their eyes.’
Bastard Alias the Romantic
‘Can you imagine what it would be like if instead of killing we cuddled?’
things that didn’t happen
‘Suddenly, your heart began; suddenly in the darkness of your mother’s womb there was a crackle and a flash and out of nothing, the current began to run.’