"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
Extracts
Who's there?

Who’s there?

In an instant, I became the woman they assumed I’d been all along: the wife who lied to protect her husband. I almost didn’t hear the knock on the front door. I had removed the brass knocker twelve days earlier, as if that would stop another reporter from showing up unannounced. Once I realized the...
Flickers of memory

Flickers of memory

Lately, the line between real life and movies has begun to blur. There are times when I’m pounced upon by a memory – the cracked rearview mirror of the first car I ever owned, say, or the ghostly dance of a curtain in front of an open window when I was small and impressionable and...
To watch over them

To watch over them

The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds. The doctor said he didn’t suffer. The broken body, surrounded by toys, was put inside a grey bag, which they zipped shut. The little girl was still alive when the ambulance arrived. She’d fought like a wild animal. They found signs of a struggle, bits...
Taking an interest in the meerschaum tram

Taking an interest in the meerschaum tram

Once, when Moomintroll was quite small, his father got a cold at the very hottest time of summer. Moominpappa refused to drink warm milk with onion juice and sugar, and he refused to go to bed. He sat in the garden hammock blowing his nose and saying his cigars had a horrible taste, and the...
It must be love

It must be love

I sat Yichun on a park bench while I hunkered down to crack the walnuts with a stone. Her face was the same color as the flowers nearby, and I went into a sort of trance as I bashed away. One must have had a mind of its own because, after I struck it, it...
The whiskered stranger

The whiskered stranger

I met the cat in a bar. And he wasn’t just any cat, the kind of cat that likes toy mice or climbing trees or feather dusters, not at all, but entirely different from any cat I’d ever met. I noticed the cat across the dance floor, somewhere between two bar counters and behind a...
The first killings

The first killings

Who now remembers the story of the Limehouse Golem, or cares to be reminded of the history of that mythical creature? ‘Golem’ is the medieval Jewish word for an artificial being, created by the magician or the rabbi; it literally means ‘thing without form’, and perhaps sprang from the same fears which surrounded the fifteenth-century...
The first bride

The first bride

They went crazy for weddings after the war. All weekend long, the shooting of impotent bullets into the air, the aggravating honking of horns and the incessant drone of the traditional Albanian music. As if they were so glad to be alive that they wanted everyone from Podujevo to Pristina to Tirana to know about...
Not selling anything

Not selling anything

“Hello, my name is Belle. I am calling on behalf of—” They hang up. “Hello, my name is Ariel. I am calling behalf of Krippler Incorporated, a market research institute. Today we are conducting—” “On behalf of wha’?” replies a woman with a heavy southern accent. “On behalf of Krippler Incorporated, a market research institute.”...
Doctor's orders

Doctor’s orders

A few days ago, I was fished out of the Seine just in the nick of time. Two feet from the bank, to be precise, but that’s more than far enough to sink into the mud and float to the surface a couple of weeks later, limp and soggy as the hunks of bread people...