:: Fiction archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

Go Wild in the Country published 22/10/2014

“Nadine is by my hot head, a curious monkey girl flicking ticks from my hair and rubbing my head. But her hand is cool porcelain; a shop dummy girl in a Victorian dress shop and I start laughing, the Victorian asylum, her Victorian doll-like face, a Victorian clockwork monkey beating a drum, Keith Moon gurning on snare, the pale moon a cymbal, the lay lines that travel beneath me and through the grounds and out onto the Downs, a secret swirling snake . . . wild, go wild in the country. She joins in: ‘where snakes in the grass are absolutely free.’”

New fiction by Alan McCormick.

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Caretaking published 14/10/2014

“A pretty famous German murderer, I forget his name, said that everybody carried their death inside of their chest, like a seed that was waiting to sprout. It’s a pretty thought, and I’d love to be able to kill somebody in a way that uses that someday – I don’t know, maybe bury a landscape architect in a garden that he’s planning. Although that’s a little obscure. You need to pretty much telegraph the thing for critics to figure it out these days… ”

New fiction by Liam Kruger, with art by Tahnee Lonsdale.

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B. Willow published 29/09/2014

“I might employ this shiv to stab through, but B. Willow’s innards are leathern—its innards. I lie back. Are there innards beneath this pitch? It’s a sap-sheet set at ten watts, somehow, so I’m writing in it. ”

New fiction by Joseph Spece, with art by Tahnee Lonsdale.

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The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing published 22/09/2014

“Hector starts the car, adjusts the rearview mirror so that he can see Hector, pulls forward along the curb. The sun is very low now. The earth is disappearing. This is conveyed,” Laing tells me, “by some weird red line that suddenly appears horizontally across the screen. That line, that wavering line, somehow suggests the disappearance of the earth. The very earth itself as well as the conditions that made earth possible along with any thought of humanity. This is something that both Aimee and I felt, as it seemed to drain the space we were in of meaning and while it’s true that my library office was never the same after that red line appeared it may have had more to do with what was going on secretly and magnetically between Aimee and myself than with the line, which after all was just something projected on the wall.”

An exclusive extract from Nicholas Rombes‘s forthcoming debut novel, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing.

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Heads or Tails published 12/09/2014

I realized he wanted to make a dancing bear out of me, strap a backpack to my back and drive me ahead of him all around the world. Oh, you’ll soon see how much people like it, cried my father, and spun on his leg like a top, his left arm fluttering like the weather vane on the roof, which I only know from his stories. On a good day, he accompanied his dancing with singing. He had a voice beautiful and strong, and I listened with my tongue hanging out in joy and savoured every word from his lips, like a slice of marzipan.

New Fiction by Felicitas Hoppe, translated by Katy Derbyshire.

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a call for submissions – fiction published 13/08/2014

It’s difficult to define submission guidelines when one of the things I’ll be looking for is something I’ve never seen. There are sensibilities I know I’ll recognise, as soon as I read them. I’m interested in work that is experimental, playful, serious; in work that pays close attention to form, and language, always in support of what the work is; in intelligent work that wears its learning lightly: to paraphrase Beckett on Joyce, writing that is “not [only] about something; it is that something itself.”

Joanna Walsh – call for submissions – fiction

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A Pound of Panguitch published 28/07/2014

Allen Ginsberg may have been Chögyam Trungpa’s humblest pupil, but he was Ezra Pound’s most assiduous stalker. He actually beat Tolliot to the Poundian punch at Saint Elizabeth’s. The prototypical beatnik had been “forgiving” Mussolini’s former propagandist for decades. It’s not been widely publicized, but the twentieth century’s most famous instance of poetical osculation, in Venice, on Pound’s eightieth birthday, was in fact a re-kissing.

An adapted excerpt from Tom Bradley’s footnotes to This Wasted Land and Its Chymical Illuminations by Marc Vincenz.

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tribute published 30/06/2014

Spanish for cover version is versión. The word versión makes it seem like a cover version is closer to the real thing. Versión is not just wrapped around something like cover version is. Versión is like a shard of some broken whole which could be joined if you were ingenious enough in your copying. Nobody is, and this is why we lose hope: though there are other reasons to lose hope also.

New fiction from Tim Smyth.

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Vulgar Things published 28/06/2014

‘I don’t know what he was up to . . . some kind of moral crusade, as if he was trying to right all his ills . . . The thing is, it’s all a jumble, and I can’t make any sense of it. Then there’re the recordings . . . The recordings, his diary recorded each year, on random days, explaining to those who’ll listen . . . As if he’s talking to me and no one else.’
‘Maybe that’s how he wanted it to be, messy like real life, over before you can take hold of it . . .’
‘It’s these recordings, hundreds of them, spanning decades . . . all his daily frustrations are spilled onto them . . . words, language is such a mess when you are confronted with it . . . head-on, you know . . . Him, leaning in, staring, facing the camera in his favourite chair . . . No one in my family knows they exist, and I don’t know what to do with them. The ones I’ve watched, hours of footage, he’s just so . . . angry and lost . . . and he’s drunk and high on weed so much of the time that he’s practically incoherent, to the point where he’ll burst into song, usually something by Dr Feelgood . . .’

We are proud to bring you an exclusive extract from Lee Rourke‘s new novel, Vulgar Things (Fourth Estate) out on 3 July.

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A Somnambulist in Amman published 06/04/2014

A man emerges from a shop on the passageway in front of where I’m sitting. The man is holding his hand in the air just above himself, looking a little downwards as at something hanging from a thread, invisible to me. I realise that it must be a spider. Very carefully the man carries the spider across to the other side of the passageway, to a dark opening into an anonymous building, and gently attaches it to a wall there. I smile and try to make that smile a gesture of solidarity. The man doesn’t notice. I don’t mind. I wonder if I wouldn’t want to sit here all day, waiting, watching, barely visible, if it were possible to remain in this state of suspension.

By Michael Reid.

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