"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
Short stories
The shovelist

The shovelist

Guillaume Morin stood at his kitchen window, peering through the falling snow. Across the street, two men in matching brown leather jackets were unloading boxes from a metallic blue Cadillac and lugging them into Suzanne Sillery’s old place. “Stop staring! It’s not proper.” Guillaume looked at his wife. She was seated at the kitchen table,...
Human rights and wrongs

Human rights and wrongs

The Old Familiar Faces are unhappily gathered at a once-elegant four-star golf resort and conference centre to which tourists no longer come. In the reception area and in their workshop room, the Jacaranda room on the second floor, banners proclaim the theme of their workshop: “Assessing, Analysing and Evaluating the Impact of Political Violence on...
Acutely angled

Acutely angled

and I miss the tug of the rod, the crank of the reel, the stench of algae, the bob of my dinghy, the piney taste of gin, but I don’t miss tangling up tipsy in the fishing net and slipping into the lake’s murky blackness where I swear that two-hundred-pound monster sturgeon swam right by...
Six by six

Six by six

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award shortlist has been announced, and we’re delighted to share an extract from each of the stories. The six selected authors – three women and three men from five countries and three continents – also reflect the award’s stated aim to celebrate the best emerging writers alongside established names....
Take it from cats

Take it from cats

If someone moves to make room for you, take up more room. If someone is looking over there, there’s something to see. If somebody sneezes, run. If someone brings a bag into your home, look inside it. If you don’t want someone to leave, sit on his suitcase. Clean between your toes. Flaunt your full...
A butterfly in January

A butterfly in January

Tilly and I stood on the corner together, kicking our feet and sending sprays of white into the air. “Has your dad gone to work?” she said. “No.” I did an especially big kick. “He’s gone to get provisions.” Tilly stopped kicking. “What are provisions?” “It’s what people call food when it snows,” I said....
Spats

Spats

The dogs are scratching at the kitchen door. How long, Lydia thinks, has she been lost in the thought of her rival dead? She passes her hand over her eyes, an unconscious effort to push the hot red edge off everything she sees, and goes to the door to let them in. When Ivan confessed...
The locusts

The locusts

In the village that follows a never-changing script, things are today exactly as they were yesterday, the day before, and last year. Over there, one of the villagers, dutifully executing his daily chores. He’s drawing water from the well using a bucket raised by a beast of burden. Now he’s tossing daily feed to his...
Suzie baby

Suzie baby

Murders: forty-seven. Kidnappings: fourteen. Attempted rapes: five. Car chases: fourteen. Hijacks: two. Helicopter jumps: one. Smuggling expeditions: countless. It’s not exactly Sir Laurence Olivier. But in summing up my film career, mendacity will serve no one. I have acted in eleven films, three of which were shelved: two for financial reasons, the third as a...
Sing for me

Sing for me

In those days the rumour started that there would be an inquiry. Full and frank disclosure, the government kept hinting. A tribunal of independent adjudicators and observers. Independent observers. They’d look into the events thoroughly. And into the sequence of events that led to them, into the decisions and actions that led to those particular...