The Best British Short Stories 2015
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"Hilary Mantel and Helen Simpson feature in the nation's favourite annual guide to the short story, now in its fifth year ..." Best British Short Stories invites you to judge a book by its cover - or more accurately, by its title. This new series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere. The editor's brief is wide ranging, covering anthologies, collections, magazines, newspapers and web sites, looking for the best of the bunch to reprint all in one volume. Authors include Hilary Mantel, Alison Moore, Jenn Ashworth, Helen Simpson, Charles Wilkinson, Rebecca Swirsky, Matthew Sperling, Julianne Pachico, KJ Orr, Bee Lewis, Uschi Gatward, Emma Cleary and Neil Campbell.
prevent Coca-Cola from snorting out of her nose. The sinewy meat and burnt black corn from the grill always get stuck in her teeth and hang down from her upper molars like vines for Tarzan, and she’ll inevitably end up prodding them with her tongue for the rest of the weekend. So no, she tells her mother again, but thank you, and she brushes strands of blonde hair away from her eyes, smiling sweetly. ‘Well fine then,’ her mother says, a little sharply. ‘That means I’m going to have to tell
been seen at least a thousand times before. The Iron Men BEE LEWIS THE OTHERS THINK sunset is the best time, but I prefer sunrise. There is something comforting about seeing my shadow stretching out in front of me, a visual marker of the hours and days to come. I could be a sundial. The beach is quieter in the morning and each new day brings with it a promise that bends the horizon. The joggers stick to the promenade, their pounding heels driving the world forward. In the evenings, they run
Elsie. I go online again and Elsie has written a blog post. It’s all about an art project she’s doing at college. She’s really talented. There are pictures of her laughing and covered in paint. In one photograph, she’s raising the paint-streaked palm of her hand to the camera, and in the other hand she holds a paintbrush dipped in red. There are playing cards tucked into her blouse, and she’s captioned it with a Lewis Carroll quote. I press my hand against the screen briefly, feeling kind of
which they, in turn, had been shown by someone else. It was one of those tricks to make you faint. Perhaps you know the kind – you make yourself hyperventilate, then stand up (or crouch down?) while clasping your arms around your chest. The type of thing that runs through schoolyards for a few months, and then some asthmatic kid dies somewhere, and you have a school assembly warning you not to do it. I tried it, not expecting it to work, but it did work. I was on my parents’ couch, with
always. No.’ ‘Where are you from originally?’ ‘Michigan.’ ‘What about you?’ Joanie asked the boy, but still he didn’t look up. The girl nudged the boy’s hand gently where it lay on the table top, and he did look up, a question in his eyes, his head turned to her. The girl leaned in and said right into his ear, ‘Where are you from, the lady is asking.’ He frowned, moved closer, studying her lips, as if all the answers were there. She tried again, gesturing at Joanie, and finally then he took