“You have one body and one life to live and you only get this one shot – and that reality can drive you crazy.” Ottessa Moshfegh
Extracts
Joe Buck!

Joe Buck!

In his new boots, Joe Buck was six-foot-one and life was different. As he walked out of that store in Houston something snapped in the whole bottom half of him: A kind of power he never even knew was there had been released in his pelvis and he was able to feel the world through...
The muse

The muse

Night after night, a guard would come for me, and Semionov and I would have our little chats. And night after night, my humble interrogator would ask the same questions: What is the novel about? Why is he writing it? Why are you protecting him? I didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear: that...
A neighbourly word

A neighbourly word

All around them, all this time, things were changing and continued to change. As Mrs Glass said, the place wasn’t the same. If she hadn’t lived right through the changes, she told her friend Mrs Fletcher, she wouldn’t have recognized it, she would have walked up the street and right past her house and not...
We are all addicts

We are all addicts

– I feel sorry for Richard. – You always do. – Do you see him as an addict? – Well– – What would his therapist say? – It all depends on how you look at it. First, it’s the person-not-called-Bob who mentions the idea when he presents Richard with the facts. We can sack you...
Flight to Gaza

Flight to Gaza

My seatmate goes on talking as if we come from the same country. As if we share the same fears, the same constellations of film stars. As she recounts stories about the festival, my mind recalls televised scenes of the war – the live coverage of American attacks that sowed democracy across Iraq. The tonnes...
An unlikely avenger

An unlikely avenger

When you want to avoid gruesome images, you resort to euphemism. To say that an army has suffered great losses is more acceptable than describing the horror of an appalling hecatomb. Liberating oneself of someone’s presence generally means leaving him at the door, or avoiding spending time with him, but in a deeper sense it...
God's rib

God’s rib

When I think about my own death, the moment it happens is always the same. I’m wearing a plain, colored shirt and a matching pair of pants, cut from thin material that’s easy to pull on. It’s early in the morning and I am happy, I feel the same sense of contentment and satisfaction as...
Landing a whopper

Landing a whopper

I knew a young man once, he was a most conscientious fellow, and, when he took to fly-fishing, he determined never to exaggerate his hauls by more than twenty-five per cent. ‘When I have caught forty fish,’ said he, ‘then I will tell people that I have caught fifty, and so on. But I will...
Restless days and nights

Restless days and nights

Here we are in the big, barren guest room. Swarms of flies and bluebottles echo inside it, birds with long beaks like horns, the noise of their songs overlapping. Mum delicately stretching her ash-blonde hair on the bed. Her nightdress is a robe. Are we still going sailing? The build-up of rough stones in a...
Anti social

Anti social

Adam Leroux had managed to avoid most of social media. Facebook, the company that owned Instagram, had another social media platform which was also called Facebook. The company was named for the platform, which had started out as a student project at Harvard University. The Harvard version of Facebook, the ur-Facebook, had been designed to...