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Self-Portrait

Martin Amis

‘You’ve got your catflap, I’ve got my guy.’

The Courthouse

Tahmima Anam

‘If I had known it would put a continent between me and my children I would have killed that map-maker myself.’

Saving the World

Tahmima Anam

‘Today, my brothers, Mohammed and Rubel, are going to foreign.’

Anwar Gets Everything

Tahmima Anam

‘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.’

Coming down from the Mountains

Reinaldo Arenas

'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

Manlio Argueta

‘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.’

Light

Lesley Nneka Arimah

‘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.

Leila in the Wilderness

Nadeem Aslam

‘It was almost involuntary: it felt like falling, or like rising in a dream.’

Punnu’s Jihad

Nadeem Aslam

‘It is as though the metal itself is bleeding.’

Isis in Darkness

Margaret Atwood

‘The lock splits. The iron gate swings open. She emerges, raises her arms towards the suddenly chilled moon. The world changes.’

The Brooklyn Follies

Paul Auster

‘I was looking for a quiet place to die.’

To the City

Tash Aw

‘He knew he had to find this faraway city.’

Voyage South

Murray Bail

‘The decks are brick red, the colour of old Australian verandas, as are the metal steps, the rails gloss white.’

The Gentlest Village

Jesse Ball

‘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.’

Lucia Series

Jesse Ball

‘People love to say it to you like it counts: Oh, Lucia, she will live on in your memory.’

Under Ice

Iain Banks

‘Andy runs out across the ice.‘

The Enemy Within

John Banville

‘Feeling almost skittish all day. Exhausted now yet feverish also, like a child at the end of a party.’

The Coming Flood

Andrés Barba

‘When it happens, she gets the feeling that the men, for her, are a way to cling to life.’

Lettuce Nights

Vanessa Barbara

‘When Ada died, the wash hadn’t dried yet.‘

The Balance

Nicola Barker

‘She knew she'd have to have sex with him at some point soon and if she put him down over this small semantic issue it might jeopardize his performance. There were no second chances. Things were so finely balanced, after all.’

Blow Your House Down

Pat Barker

‘Brenda stood up, brushing bits of gravel from her knees, and thinking, Christ, there've gotta be easier ways of earning a living than this.’

Marriage Lines

Julian Barnes

‘Grief was in charge of him.’

The Silence

Julian Barnes

‘Naturally the artist is misunderstood. That is normal, and after a while becomes familiar.’

Gnossienne

Julian Barnes

'Let me make it clear that I never attend literary conferences. I know that they're held in art deco hotels close to legendary museums; that sessions on the future of the novel are conducted with camaraderie, brio and bonhomie'

Dragons

Julian Barnes

‘Everything bad came from the north. Whatever else they believed, the whole town, both parts of it, knew that.’

Emma Bovary’s Eyes

Julian Barnes

‘Her eyes are black: passion and depth. Her eyes are green: wildness and jealousy. Her eyes are brown: reliability and ordinariness. Her eyes are violet: the novel is by Raymond Chandler.‘

Harmony

Julian Barnes

‘They had dined well at no. 261 Landstrasse, and now passed eagerly into the music room.’

The Visitor

Colin Barrett

‘The dog was some sort of overbred weedling with a ribcage fine-boned as a chicken’s, a wizened rat’s face and a goony, perpetually bloodshot stare that made Dev Hendrick want to punt the thing over the garden gate.’

Letters from LETTERS

John Barth

‘For autobiographical ‘fiction’ I have only disdain’.

The New Music

Donald Barthelme

‘Went to the grocery store and Xeroxed a box of English muffins, two pounds of ground veal and an apple. In flagrant violation of the Copyright Act.’

Green, Mud, Gold

Sara Baume

‘She shuts her eyes and pictures ears growing out through her ears, her spine turning to wood, pictures herself as a girl-woman scarecrow, arms opened wide, and nailed to two posts in the centre of a great green, mud and gold expanse, crucified.’

Anecdotes

Ann Beattie

‘Christine’s hair had begun to dry, and she looked different, with her hair down and her glasses on. Her earnestness made her look younger, and took me back to the bar where we’d sat in Pennsylvania years ago.’

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.’

Lady Neptune

Ann Beattie

‘The word money popped up like a bit of the ocean’s detritus riding in on a wave, but her lips formed the words ‘Merry Christmas’.’

Taken out of Context

Paul Beatty

‘I am not the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son.’