“Lightin’ Hopkins is my muse, has been for years, it’s music deeply rooted in the part of the country I come from, and with Lightnin’ there are always moments of defiance." Attica Locke
Extracts
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...
Next year will be even better

Next year will be even better

John was troubled by the fact that he could remember neither the precise day nor the particular circumstances under which he first set eyes upon her wispish, bustling figure. It did not matter how busy he had been. That encounter should have struck him with the force of a blinding light. He ought to have...
The incident

The incident

Over the long days she spent behind the counter, Nofar had developed a habit – she looked into the customers’ faces and tried to guess which of them had come into the ice-cream parlour by accident and which were there by design. The accidental visitors were nicer: people strolling leisurely down the street, sailing along...
The cow who wanted to be a dog

The cow who wanted to be a dog

It was the sugarcane harvest and the fields were burning. You could see flames all the way from here to the mountains. Ash floated around all day, sticking to your skin, your moustache, your eyelashes. We were all black with it. On the fifth day it rained. It doesn’t rain in December, but that year...
First date

First date

I met Finn outside the BFI. It was my idea to go there; if he turned out to be incredibly unattractive or boring, at least I’d have seen one more Derek Jarman film, which would give me something to talk to my dad about. I stood at the entrance, eavesdropping on a conversation between two...
First impressions

First impressions

Novels from Latvia, Uzbekistan and Poland competed for the 2019 EBRD Literature Prize, established by the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to celebrate the best fiction in translation from the 38 territories where the bank invests, from Morocco to Mongolia, Estonia to Egypt. The judges were journalist and founder-director of the European Literature Network...
The crossing

The crossing

The girls on the top deck brush the hair from their faces. The hazy blue mountain ranges, rising on both sides of the Strait. The places you will never go, the life there. Ilham’s eyes wander over the mountains of the Rif, the country they are leaving behind. Why did they stay so long in...
Wedding plans

Wedding plans

Mrs Binat’s ambitions for her daughters were fairly typical: groom them into marriageable material and wed them off to no less than princes and presidents. Before their fall, her husband had always assured her that, no matter what a mess Alys or any of the girls became, they would fare well because they were Binat...
Fantasia in F minor

Fantasia in F minor

Breathless, they sank into the armchairs in the Great Room. While Lenny, shaken by a new coughing fit, gasped for air, Hermin began a feverish search for a subject, any subject, capable of guaranteeing a normal conversation. The silence must not be allowed to drag on and on again; topics of an oversensitive nature must...