"When I read Céline I thought, 'Wow, you can do this, you can do anything!' That was a turning point, because it showed me you just have to follow your heart." Antti Tuomainen
Short stories
A secret

A secret

There was a young lady who had a spare head. She lived in Comodoro Rivadavia. Maybe because of the constant wind, or the monotony of limited society, she began to long for variety. The first step, as we said, was a replacement head. Since she had Armenian features, she chose blonde. Every fondness either grows...
The life of art

The life of art

My friend and I went walking the dog in the cemetery. It was a Melbourne autumn: mild breezes, soft air, gentle sun. The dog trotted in front of us between the graves. I had a pair of scissors in my pocket in case we came across a rose bush on a forgotten tomb. “I don’t...
The hair clasp

The hair clasp

We went swimming, my daughter and I. She was twenty and a good swimmer. I didn’t need to keep an eye on her. I read on the beach while she went into the sea. From time to time, I lifted my eyes from my book and looked at her. She would smile and raise an...
Dad after Mum

Dad after Mum

In the mornings I was still a daughter – a long hoped-for child born in early autumn. I opened the door to his study cautiously, afraid to wake him up, but he was already sitting in his armchair facing the window. Without greeting him, I went straight to the kitchen, poured some fresh apple juice...
Bright white hearts

Bright white hearts

“The sky is falling!” I cried. “It’s falling fast!” “Where?”’ “It’s falling into the ocean.” And everyone watched as the sun sank into the sea, and the moon laughed from the clouds, and the people cried until salt water came up to their chins. “The water wants our words,” they said. “It can’t have them!”...
A happy nation

A happy nation

I don’t believe this is an emergency for Great Britain, officer. It’s just a crisis, you know, a little crisis. See, in an emergency, you call the ambulance. You call the police. But a political crisis is different. It’s just an inconvenience. So you can relax, really. Fully. Entirely. Relax. You can even fall sleep....
“Don’t kill me, I beg you. This is my tree.”

“Don’t kill me, I beg you. This is my tree.”

He woke up and , before the last vestiges of the nightmare faded, made up his mind. He’d take him out to the forest and finish the matter off. Fifteen years ago, before he’d shot him, he’d heard him say, “Don’t kill me, I beg you. This is my tree.” Those words had stayed with...
What to do when you can't do anything

What to do when you can’t do anything

The consultant is still talking, fingertips poised on his desk as if he is about to play a concerto. Unsettling minor-key melodies fill the room, yet I feel nothing while I weep. Palliative is a pretty word. It masks a horror that should not wrap its spindly legs around my three-year-old. A greying moustache hangs...
The chosen vessel

The chosen vessel

She laid the stick and her baby on the grass while she untied the rope that tethered the calf. The length of the rope separated them. The cow was near the calf, and both were lying down. Feed along the creek was plentiful, and every day she found a fresh place to tether it, since...
Description

Description

Joseph and his friend Kevin were driving to New Paltz for a hike. Kevin was driving with one hand, elbow out; Joseph had his whole arm out, hand on roof. They had finished their MFAs in creative writing weeks earlier and they felt great. Kevin had just published an essay in a big-deal magazine that...