"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Extracts
A proposition

A proposition

That’s when she arrives. A skinny stick slides her head through the curtain and opens it with a fluid movement. A skinny stick with long disheveled hair at the end. Hamid told me she was the neighbor’s niece but I hadn’t imagined she would be so young. She’s standing in front of the door and...
An ending

An ending

So, this is how your husband dies: not forty years from now, coughing, wilting, consumed from within by cancer, holding your hand, looking into your eyes, the irises reflecting a lifetime of companionship. Not twenty years from now, after the kids that you haven’t yet had grow up and leave home and no longer need...
The housewife and the convict

The housewife and the convict

Jenny stayed quiet on Saturday mornings during Hank’s online yoga class. ‘Welcome to your time,’ Leslie intoned. ‘Yes,’ said Jenny quietly, placing sound-cancelling headphones over her ears. The housevoice had informed her already that the quality of her sleep had been ‘poor’, that she had awoken twenty-six times during the night. She turned over and...
Worlds beyond

Worlds beyond

Penguin Classics Science Fiction has launched with ten titles in a stunning new series design, featuring essential works of space opera, dystopia, slipstream and satire from the great science fiction writers of the US, Russia, Argentina, Germany and beyond. Masters of the genre James Tiptree, Jr., Andreas Eschbach and Angélica Gorodischer are published alongside favourite classics from the likes...
Nicolasito

Nicolasito

Tío Eliécer had owned the bluff until the seventies, when he divided it into four lots and put them up for sale. He had raised Damaris, because the man who got her mother pregnant – a soldier doing his military service in the region – abandoned her when she got knocked up, and in order...
Kyuri

Kyuri

My mother calls me hyo-nyeo – filial daughter – and strokes my hair with so much love it breaks my heart. But sometimes, she has spells when she shakes with anger towards me. “There is no greater sorrow than not getting married!” she says. “The thought of you alone in life, no children, that is...
The Deer's Leap

The Deer’s Leap

You drive slowly, your eyes flickering from the twisty uphill roads to the flickering dashboard clock. In the dense, oppressive heat of the car your smell seems to mix with that of the warm upholstery. It reminds you of the inside of a pet shop – moist and stale. It smells like pellets and fur...
Inside and out

Inside and out

Clarence knew man lived in the shadows and that he’d lived in them for so long he didn’t even realise he lived in them. That, more to the point, man was shadow. Had become it. Had evolved to be it. That’s how disconnected man had become in our hero’s eyes. Man had castrated himself long...
Home truths

Home truths

‘You can’t downsize a potato field… agus sé sin an fhadhb,’ the Chief called from his tractor that night when I went out with a sandwich. The Chief ’s parents – who were burnt to slags in a hay barn when he was a youth – were Gaelgoirs. He kept on the bit of Irish...
Into the void

Into the void

Walk without thinking. We have left colour behind. Everything is grey, even the green of the lichen. The path, bordered by slopes running with stones, climbs from the bottom of an immense furrow. If the mountain wanted to lure us into a trap, this is exactly how it would go about it. Or think about...