‘Art is despair with dignity’
'The Long QT' by Hilary Mantel
from The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
A summer garden party ends in blood soaked disaster in this story of infidelity, suburbia and cold glasses of Vino Verde from one of Britain’s greatest living writers.
'The Deep' by Anthony Doerr
from Memory Wall
Set in Detroit during the Depression, Doerr tells the affecting story of Tom, meant to die of a weak heart before he is 18, who is cossetted by his mother, but shown a world of possibilities by the flame-haired Ruby.
'I Will Crawl to Raleigh If I Have To' by Lauren Holmes
from Barbara the Slut and Other People
It’s rare that breaking up with your boyfriend makes it onto the family-vacation itinerary, but for Natalie it’s top of the list. A story from Lauren Holmes’ honest and darkly funny debut collection.
'The Dive Bar' by Katherine Heiny
from Single, Carefree, Mellow
The wife of your married lover calls and asks to meet you for a drink. Would you go? What would you say? And what would your best friend think of it? An enthralling extract from Katherine Heiny’s debut collection.
'Ghosts' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
from The Thing Around Your Neck
James had tried to forget Biafra and the civil war. But when a man he thought dead appears, alive and well, he has to confront its legacy. Read this haunting story from the author of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.
'A Change in the Weather' by Philip Hensher
from Tales of Persuasion
On a snowy day in London, George is taking up his new job in the public service. He doesn’t know what to expect, but he is determined to make a good impression, because when the weather changes, life begins anew.
'Jacked' by Michael Cunningham
from A Wild Swan
Michael Cunningham’s re-imagining of this beanstalk-scaling adventure reveals the flawed characters at its centre, and tells a more human story about the corrosive power of greed and magic beans.
'Duck and Cover' by Molly Antopol
from The UnAmericans
Judy works in a hot diner all summer supporting her unemployed father, but when she spots Alan buying supplies for a bomb shelter, her life begins to open up. A coming of age story, filled with the dread of the McCarthy era.