"Money won’t save us. Things won’t save us. We’ve failed our moral responsibility to be stewards of this planet. I hope this epiphany arrives, and I hope it leads to change." Rumaan Alam
Extracts
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...
Back from the future

Back from the future

If I make a circle it doesn’t matter where I start, so let’s begin with Aaron appearing from the future. How does a time traveller arrive? By buzzing the entryphone. It halts me during Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor for organ – or rather, a piano transcription that seems too thin, too sterile – and...
The country of cats

The country of cats

As he had walked aimlessly, the boy had crossed the border of Gorbstan, the country of cats. The patrols found him half-dead, licked his face, and took him to the city. He slept for two more days before he opened his eyes. The city was built around a large pond surrounded by low hills. The...
Enter Officer Anderson...

Enter Officer Anderson…

Cops are easy. All you have to do is show him your ID, explain you’re a congressman. There will be some perfunctory chit-chat, and you will make the officer feel important, for you know, like, providing the civil service that he provides, and he may or may not write you a light traffic ticket or...
It's coming!

It’s coming!

At stake: the contested objects, nine hundred thousand white leghorn hens, their foremothers brought over from Italy in the mid-nineteenth century and bred in a frenzy ever since. Were they property or individuals? That’s what had to be decided. — It was from this farm, don’t forget, that Cleveland had taken Bwwaauk some three months...
Deciding not to die

Deciding not to die

Increasingly frequently, when out in the street, I run into people I know, but when I go to kiss them I remember they’re dead and realize to my horror that I’m about to kiss a doppelganger. It’s pretty unsettling, having to stop yourself saying hello to the dead. “Hi Régine!” “Excuse me?” “You’re… you’re not...