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The Third Mate

Adam Johnson

‘Please translate that this man is about to get shot.’

In a Blue Time

Hanif Kureishi

‘When the phone rings, who do you most want it to be?’

Accident

Etgar Keret

’Thirty years I’m a cabbie,’ the small guy sitting behind the wheel tells me, ’thirty years and not one accident.’

Dark Air

Lincoln Michel

‘There must have been a dozen ways for us to be crushed or torn apart.’

Numb

Lauren Schenkman

‘She felt things under the skin: scars where the body had torn during childbirth, clumps of cellulite, lobules and ducts.’

The Third Dumpster

Gish Jen

‘Finally, though, it couldn’t be helped; their parents came for a visit. They looked around stupefied.’

Extracts From The Journal Of Flying Officer J

William Boyd

‘The squadron left today for the city. The mess cold and sad, Verschoyle, with uncharacteristic generosity, said I could keep the monoplane.’

The Bridge

David Mamet

'Surely the world was going to end. And probably in fire - in nuclear destruction, by mistake, or at the hands of madmen.'

River So Close

Melinda Moustakis

‘She’s a good-for-nothing chummer. If she survives a week on the slime line without cutting off her thumb or slicing her wrist, she’s hired.’

Lucy the Liar

Patrick deWitt

‘Tell me it’s a lie, now. Will you say that it is?’

Lucky Pierre and the Coldwater Flat

Robert Coover

‘Projections run riot, mirrors tip and weave, there’s a blur of images like film jumping out of its sprockets.’

Frogs

Mo Yan

‘Once the preposterous reality set in, we were overcome by sadness.’

Unguided Tour

Susan Sontag

‘The more that places, customs, the circumstances of adventures are changed, the more we see that we amidst them are unchanging.’

Come, Japanese!

Julie Otsuka

‘On the boat we each had to make choices.’

The Quality of the Affection, Part Two

Lloyd Lynford

‘Ezra, what was your friend Mr Joyce wont to break into?’

Highlights

Alan Hollinghurst

‘Surely we’re not going to Rome for discos.’

Blazing Sun

Tatiana Salem Levy

‘It’s never easy to trade one love for another.’

Item Girls

Kuzhali Manickavel

‘I have heard the item girls singing each to each. / I do not think they will sing to me.’

Crow Fair

Thomas McGuane

‘You’re in a different world when your own mother doesn’t recognize you, or thinks you’re the stranger who gave her a hickey.’

The Moon and Back

Jessica Thummel

‘John Wayne Durler had always needed something to run from.’

To Rio de Janeiro

Gonçalo M. Tavares

‘In the end, what one understands in Rio de Janeiro is that joy is the only coherence of a living being.’

Agnes of Iowa

Lorrie Moore

‘Her mother had given her the name Agnes, believing that a good-looking woman was even more striking when her name was a homely one.’

Five Houses

Melanie McFadyean

‘I live here, we say, this is my house, my home. We settle, dwell, adorn. A house feels permanent. But this illusion of security can end in a minute.’

Thank You for Having Me

Lorrie Moore

‘Every day there was something new to mourn and something old to celebrate.’

The Father

Kirsty Gunn

‘They never had people who could be fathers here before.’

Procreate, Generate

Anthony Doerr

‘Nothingness is the rule. Life is the exception.’

Some are Born to Sweet Delight

Nadine Gordimer

‘She stopped where she was; sourness was in her mouth and nose, oozing towards the foreign stranger, she mustn’t go a step nearer. ’

Stones and Artichokes

Nicole Krauss

‘As we get older, the world grows to fit our fear of death.’

A Clean Marriage

Sayaka Murata

‘Frequency of sex since marriage: zero.’

Give it up for Billy

Edmund White

‘Were there moral cataracts that one could remove?’

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.’

The Love Machine

Julia Elliott

‘Beatrice was my first love. The dark contours of her delicate skeleton, the glowing flesh made translucent by my X-ray gaze, drove me crazy.’

The Colonel’s Son

Roberto Bolaño

‘Then Julie extracts her victim’s heart and eats it.’

Hare in Love

Sam Coll

A wry, fanciful fable about how love can transform both nature and fate.