Fiction

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The Universal Key

The Universal Key     My father collected keys. He’d always collected keys, from childhood. He had thousands. Maybe more – tens of thousands. But of course the one key that he was looking for had always eluded his grasp. His collection was never complete. There were some keys – important collectors’ keys – that…

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The Wolf Tone

THE WOLF TONE   ONE Lily’s in the window-seat in pyjamas, legs tucked under, the grubby soles of her feet showing. She offers the wraith of a smile. When Aidan stoops to kiss her, Lily puts up her mouth and passively accepts his early-morning kiss. Aidan takes note. Lily’s moods govern the atmosphere in the…

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The Good Guy

This is an extract from Susan Beale’s novel, The Good Guy (John Murray), shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award. Ted, a car-tyre salesman in 1960s suburban New England, is a dreamer who craves admiration. His wife, Abigail, longs for a life of the mind. Single-girl Penny just wants to be loved. When a…

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Threepenny Therapy

Call it what you will – Fate, luck, happenstance, stupidity. It doesn’t matter. I had been feeling a bit edgy for quite a while. So, when someone assaulting me on a bus suggested, between landing a series of painful blows to my head, that I should get some therapy, I decided that perhaps, after all…

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Guests

  It was starting to become a thing, my going up to the wrong person. I would go up to a guest, for example, thinking it was one of my parents, and only when the person responded would I realize that it wasn’t one of my parents. It had happened four times in the past…

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The Im/Im Podcast

THE IM/IM PODCAST   1. – Arthur Havens? – On the line. – Pardon me. He’s on another line? – Sorry. It’s what my father always said. You know, when the call was for him and he answered it. What do you say? – When? – When you pick up and somebody says your name…