The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2015

Chinese-American author Yiyun Li has won The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, managed by Book Trust, for her story ‘A Sheltered Woman’. She is the first woman to win the Award since its inception in 2010.


‘A Sheltered Woman’ is the story of a Chinese-American nanny hired to spend a month supporting a new mother and her baby; trying to keep detached from the emotional turmoil around her, she is also entrapped by her own past.  A story of an outsider and the falseness of self-imposed isolation, it was first published in The New Yorker in March 2014.


The Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate said:
“I’ve been a judge for all six awards and it is fitting, after seeing so many outstanding female authors on the shortlist each year, to see a woman writer picking up this award.  The entrants are read anonymously in the early stages and we have discovered some really fresh new talent over the years, including this year the newcomer Rebecca F John.  The calibre of the entire shortlist was exceptional but the mastery displayed by Yiyun Li in her chillingly cool and insightful story left little doubt she should be the winner.”



The six-person shortlist features international writers and one British newcomer who is yet to publish her first book.

The six shortlisted writers and the titles of their short stories are:
Rebecca F John – ‘The Glove Maker’s Numbers’
Yiyun Li  – ‘A Sheltered Woman’
Elizabeth McCracken – ‘Hungry’
Paula Morris – ‘False River’
Scott O’Connor – ‘Interstellar Space’
Madeleine Thien – ‘The Wedding Cake’
The winner will receive £30,000 – the world’s richest prize for a single short story. The five other shortlisted writers will each receive £1,000. The winner will be announced at Stationers’ Hall in London on Friday 24 April.
All the stories in this year’s shortlist reflect different ways of dealing with pain and grief. Madeleine Thien’s story, ‘The Wedding Cake’ draws on themes of identity and loss, telling of four friends who grew up in war-torn Lebanon, reconvening decades later in Montreal. In Rebecca F. John’s ‘The Glove Maker’s Numbers’ a woman creates an elaborate system of numbers to cope with the loss of her brother. Beijing-born Yiyun Li’s story ‘A Sheltered Woman’ is the story of a Chinese-American nanny hired to spend a month and no more supporting a new mother and her baby; trying to keep detached from the emotional turmoil around her, she is also entrapped by her own past.
Judge critic and broadcaster Alex Clark says:
“We loved all the stories on our longlist, so whittling it down was no easy matter and provoked serious and spirited debate. But our final six represent the variety, ambition and invention we encountered throughout the judging process – and they also reflect the continuing health and vitality of this wonderful form.”
Lord Evans, co-founder of the Award says:
“The 2015 shortlist amply fulfils the aims of the prize, to bring the world’s best short stories to the widest possible audience. We have six brilliant but utterly different examples which showcase the best of the short-story form – ambitious in imagination, global in scope, yet all packing an emotional punch that will stay with readers for a long time after they have finished reading.”



ann-beattieAnn Beattie – ‘The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections, in John Updike’s The Best American Short Stories of the Century, and in Jennifer Egan’s The Best American Short Stories 2014. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award. Ann has an MA in Literature from the University of Connecticut. She was the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia (Emerita).
She is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She and her husband, painter and sculptor, Lincoln Perry, live in Maine and Key West, Florida.
Story first lines:

‘There’s no copyright on titles,’ he said. ‘It wouldn’t be a good idea, probably, to call something Death of a Salesman, but you could do it.


Story last lines:

A lot of people do that when they can’t seem to figure out who or what they love. It might be an oversimplification, but they seem to write poetry when they do know.


colin-barrettColin Barrett – ‘The Ways’

Colin Barrett’s debut collection of short stories, Young Skins, was first published by Stinging Fly in Ireland in 2013. Young Skins won the 2014 Frank O’Connor International short story prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish literature, and the 2014 Guardian First Book Award. His stories have been published individually in the Stinging Fly magazine, Five Dials, A Public Space and The New Yorker.


Colin Barrett received a BA in English in University College Dublin in 2004, where he calls himself a mediocre undergrad. He worked for 5 years for multiple mobile phone companies in Ireland, while writing when he could. He completed an MA in Creative Writing in University College Dublin in 2009. His family home is in Mayo, Ireland and he likes football.



Follow Colin Barrett on Twitter



Story first lines:

The landline was mewling again in the kitchen, obliging Pell Munnelly, woke now for good, to climb from the cosy rut of her bed and pad downstairs in bare feet.


Story last lines:

Gerry knuckled his ringed, tender eyes, and with the resigned defiance of one who has died and come back a thousand times before, moved the cursor to YES and began again another life.



david-peace-credit-naoya-sanukiDavid Peace – ‘After the War, Before the War’

David Peace was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in 1967. He is the author of The Red Riding Quartet, GB84, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2004, and The Damned Utd. The first book of his Tokyo Trilogy, Tokyo Year Zero was published in 2007, followed by Occupied City in 2009. His last novel was Red or Dead in 2013, shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize. He was chosen as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003 and GQ Writer of the Year in 2007. His novels have been widely translated and adapted for film and television. He lives in Tokyo, Japan.


Story first lines:

From the land, on the wharf, two old friends: Murata of the OsakaMainichi Shimbun and Jones of United Press International. To greet Ryūnosuke, to welcome him. To Shanghai, to China –


Story last lines:

Ryūnosuke prayed and he prayed no birds would ever disturb the branches of that tree again. No babies ever born of peaches again.


What you want, you should not want.



ejswift_author-photo_colourEJ Swift – ‘The Spiders of Stockholm’

EJ Swift is the author of The Osiris Project trilogy (Del Rey UK, Penguin Random House), a speculative fiction series set in a world radically altered by climate change, comprising Osiris, Cataveiro and the just-published Tamaruq.

Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Salt Publishing, NewCon Press and Jurassic London, including The Best British Fantasy. She was shortlisted for a 2013 BSFA Award in the Short Fiction category for her story ‘Saga’s Children’ (The Lowest Heaven, Jurassic). She has a long-standing love of dance and circus, and when not writing can usually be found practising aerial circus skills or pole.


Story first lines:

Before there were the spiders there was the emptiness. The emptiness made its home in the space beneath Eva’s bed, a narrow and dusty cavity but large enough to accommodate the body of a small, nimble girl.


Story last lines:

But when the esteemed arachnologist held up specimens of the sixty-seven different varieties of spider, Eva closed her ears, not wanting to hear. Instead, she spoke softly to herself, in her head.

Spider one.

Spider two.

Spider three.

I will not forget you.


Follow EJ Swift on Twitter


elizabeth-mccracken-c-edward-careyElizabeth McCracken – ‘Hungry’


Elizabeth McCracken is the author of two novels, The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again, two short story collections, Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry and Thunderstruck & Other Stories, and a memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. She has won grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The American Academy in Berlin, among other places.


Story first lines:

The grandmother was a bright, cellophane-wrapped hard candy of a person: sweet, but not necessarily what a child wanted.


Story last lines:

– it was never that easy though, was it, to demand a choice. Ask and ask. You might want both. You might get neither.



Follow Elizabeth McCracken on Twitter



emily-franklinEmily Franklin – ‘Qualities of a Modern Farmer’

Emily Franklin is the author of a Liner Notes (Simon & Schuster), a novel, and The Girls’ Almanac (William Morrow), a collection of linked short stories. Her work has appeared on National Public Radio and in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and many literary magazines.  Her non-fiction includes the essay collection How to Spell Chanukah: 18 Writers Celebrate 8 Nights of Lights (Algonquin).  She is also the author of numerous novels for young adults including The Half-Life of Planets (Hyperion) and Last Night at the Circle Cinema (Lerner/Carolrhoda).


Emily was born in Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood between there and London. She attended Oxford University (Wadham) and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in New York with a degree in English and Neuroscience, earning her MA from Dartmouth College. She worked as a chef on historic schooners, taught upper school English, and worked for Nation Public Radio’s Cartalk show before publication of her first novel in 2003. Emily is an avid reader, cook, and full-time parent to four children (one with special needs). She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts with her husband.


Story first lines:

Somewhere between two and three in the morning, hours before the police show up, Miller sits out in the field on a metal folding chair. Luna had offered a cushion but he’d turned her down and here he is with a cold ass and nearly drained coffee seasoned with Nubit, the liquor Luna makes from the pecans nobody wants to buy.


Story last lines:

Each man guards the pecans or the fields or each other. They stay there through the night, taking turns on the cold folding chair, rising and sitting back down like fume-inhaling bears, clumsy-pawed and sad, something impossible to recognize in the dark.



erin-soros-credit-sanny-levisteErin Soros – ‘Still Water, BC’

Erin Soros has published fiction and non-fiction in international journals and anthologies, and her stories have been produced for the BBC and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) as winners of the 2006 Commonwealth Prize for the Short Story and the 2006 CBC Literary Award. In 2008 she was a finalist for the BBC National Short Story Award; in 2011 long-listed for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, and in 2014 a finalist for the Costa Short Story Award.


Initially studying and pursuing a degree in theatre, she has performed as a stage actor and puppeteer. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of British Columbia and a Master’s in Writing from Columbia University. Before she devoted her career to writing, she worked as a community advocate, first as a rape crisis counsellor and then as a literacy coordinator for at-risk youth, developing intergenerational programs in collaboration with First Nations leaders.


Soros has been a writer-in-residence at several universities in the US and UK, including the University of East Anglia where she is completing a PhD and where she has taught modern literature, psychoanalysis, and human rights. She is currently the Harper-Wood fellow at St. John’s College, Cambridge, a position as visiting writer that funds her travel to research oral history in the Canadian Arctic.


Story first Lines:

And it’s my turn. The men nod as I shoulder myself into their game, Olaf strapped to my back, legs kicking.  I bounce him up and down to the wheezing beat of Whisker’s harmonica.


Story last lines:

I reach out to touch the sheets, their cool blankness.  I lift my dress and examine the taut skin.  My belly will stay this size, round and hard, the pale scar surging up and down like a river.



joe_o-neillJoseph O’Neill – ‘The Referees’

Joseph O’Neill is an Irish barrister living in New York. He is the author of novels, This Is the Life, The Breezes and Netherland, which won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, 2009 Kerry Fiction Prize, shortlisted for 2010 IMPAC prize and longlisted for 2008 Booker Prize. His short stories include, ‘Goose’ – New Irish Short Stories (2011) (Faber & Faber), ‘The World of Cheese’ – Harper’s magazine (2009) and ‘The Death of Billy Joel’ – Faber Book of Best New Irish Short Stories (2007) (Faber & Faber).


Joseph’s latest novel The Dog was longlisted for the 2014 Booker Prize and nominated for 2015 Folio Prize. Joseph O’Neill was born in Cork, Ireland, studied law at Girton College Cambridge and moved from London to New York City in 1998 where he lives with his family.


Story first lines:

I’m having lunch with a friend from college days, Michael, with the secret purpose of asking him a favor.


Story last lines:

Who liked most of all to walk in the forest, in fact loved the word ‘forest’, though not as much as the word ‘glade’, and was always asking his father, Dad, is this a glade?



julianne-pachicoJulianne Pachico – ‘Lucky’

Julianne Pachico was born in Cambridge and grew up in Colombia. She now lives in Norwich, where she is working on her PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her pamphlet, ‘The Tourists’, was recently published by Daunt Books.


Story first lines:

Her parents and brother are going to spend the holiday weekend up in the mountains at the neighbor’s country house.


Story last lines:

It feels like noticing the shadow of her own half-closed eyelid, something that had always been there and should have been seen at least a thousand times before.



Follow Julianne Pachicho on Twitter




louise-doughty_credit_charlie-hopkinsonLouise Doughty – ‘Fat White Cop with Ginger Eyebrows’

Louise Doughty is the author of seven novels, most recently the top five bestseller Apple Tree Yard, which was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club, shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards Crime & Thriller of the Year and the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, longlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, and translated into over twenty languages. Her other novels include Whatever You Love, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.


Louise has won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC. She lives in London.


Story first lines:

Cops need pets – we’re no different from anyone else in that respect. My daughter, my Georgia, when she was seven, she really needed a guinea pig.


Story last lines:

And my girl, my little girl, whose guinea pig is long gone with all its squeaking, shitting babies, makes her way carefully across the grass towards us, her fat white policeman dad and Ahmed, the car mechanic, and as she gets near she says,  ‘Here you go then you two, here you go.’


Follow Louise Doughty on Twitter


madeleine-thien-credit-humanitasMadeleine Thien – ‘The Wedding Cake’

Madeleine Thien was born in Vancouver, Canada. She is the author of three books of fiction, including a collection of stories, Simple Recipes (Little, Brown, 2002). Her most recent novel, Dogs at the Perimeter (Granta Books, 2012), set in the aftermath of the civil war in Cambodia, was shortlisted for Germany’s 2014 International Literature Prize.


Madeleine’s books have been translated into 22 languages. With novelists Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ignatius Mabasa, she co-edited A Family Portrait, Stories from Zimbabwe. A new novel, Awake Now and Cross Towards Her, is forthcoming from Knopf in 2016.


Story first lines:

Joseph sat across from the others. He was a stocky man whose every movement seemed sudden and whose nickname, Abu Victor, with Victor pronounced in the French way, had come to him when his son was born 25 years ago just as, 50 years ago, his own father had become Abu Joseph when Joseph, himself, came into this world. It was common.


Story last lines:

Tell me, my love, my life. I beg you. Where is justice? Tell me. Incredulous, Abu Victor saw George, unaided, taking a fifth slice of cake.


Follow Madeleine Thien on Twitter


mark-haddonMark Haddon – ‘The Pier Falls’

Mark Haddon is the author of three novels including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Red House. He has written poetry, TV drama, radio plays and a number of books for children. His play, Polar Bears, was produced by the Donmar Warehouse in 2010.


Story first lines:

23 July 1970, the end of the afternoon. A cool breeze off the Channel, a mackerel sky overhead and, far out, a column of sunlight falling on to a trawler as if God had picked it out for some kind of blessing.


Last story lines:

Ten years after the disaster the pier is brought down in a series of controlled explosions and over many months the remains are lifted laboriously by a floating crane and towed to marine breakers in Southampton. No human remains are found.


Follow Mark Haddon on Twitter


mary-o-donoghue-credit-james-mcnaughtonMary O’Donoghue – ‘Jules Verne Seeks Dreamers for Long-Distance Travel in Time’

Mary O’Donoghue’s short stories have been widely published in the USA and Ireland: Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Irish Times, Stinging Fly, Agni, Dublin Review, Literary Imagination, Salamander, and elsewhere. She is currently completing her first short story collection.


Her first novel, Before the House Burns, was published by Lilliput Press in 2010. She is also a poet and translator. Her writing awards include two fellowships from Massachusetts Cultural Council; residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Virginia Center for Creative Arts; and Irish Times/Legends of the Fall prize for short fiction responding to Ireland’s economic crisis.


She grew up in Co. Clare and now lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her husband and step-daughter. She teaches in the arts and humanities program at Babson College, Massachusetts.


Story first lines:

My father was on his long taxi journey when my mother said she might have a crush on someone. ‘Someone who doesn’t do quixotic things for quick money,’ she flounced.


Story last lines:

He would have liked that I could not let those stagey pages alone. That I pressed a coffee mug ring on the bottom corner of the last one, just to hint I’d been and gone.


simpson-monaMona Simpson – ‘Holiday’

Mona Simpson is the author of novels Casebook, My Hollywood, Off Keck Road, A Regular Guy, The Lost Father and Anywhere But Here. She is a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Sadie Samuelson Levy Professor in Languages and Literature at Bard College. She has recently received a Literary Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Off Keck Road was a finalist for the Pen Faulkner Award and won the Heartland Prize. ‘Lawns’ a short story has recently been selected for inclusion in the 100 Years of Best American Short Stories anthology. It also won the Pushcart Prize.


Mona has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA from Columbia University.

She has two children and lives in California. Mona is also the biological younger sister of the late Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, whom she did not meet until she was 25-years-old.


Story first lines:

Any minute, a car-pool car will pull up with my youngest daughter. She is what I dress for now. I brush make-up around my eyes. I never fussed this much for any date.


Story last lines:

On Jetsetter, I saw a picture of a family, each wearing Santa hats on the sand, in front of spotlit waves.

I’m back, I think, here.

I’ll see Ben Clerk again, later.


Follow Mona Simpson on Twitter


paula-morris-credit-mike-brookePaula Morris – ‘False River’

Paula Morris is a fiction writer of Maori and English descent from New Zealand. For ten years, she worked in London and New York, first as a publicist and marketing executive in the record business, and later as a branding consultant and advertising copywriter.


Paula is the author of four novels published by Penguin NZ. Rangatira (2011), about a group of Maori who visited England in 1863, won best work of fiction at the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards and the Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards. A German edition was published by Walde+Graf/Aufbau in 2012.

She is also the author of four novels for young adults, all published by Scholastic US, including the forthcoming The Eternal City.


Paula’s short stories have been published and broadcast in the UK, New Zealand and the US, and her short story collection, Forbidden Cities (2008), was a regional finalist in the 2009 Commonwealth Prize.


Paula has appeared at festivals and held residencies in China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK and the US. She holds degrees from four universities, including an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has taught creative writing at Tulane University in New Orleans and the University of Sheffield, and is about to begin teaching at the University of Auckland.


Story first lines:

The day my father-in-law died, I was back in New Orleans, pretending to be there on business. Really I was there to attend a funeral – not my father-in-law’s funeral, someone else’s.


Story last lines:

But when I stopped for gas and opened the passenger door to clean them away, I couldn’t see anything at all there, not a trace of sweat or riverbank dirt. There wasn’t a thing to see or smell or touch. The footprints had evaporated, if they’d ever been there at all.



Follow Paula Morris on Twitter




rebecca-johnRebecca F John – ‘The Glove Maker’s Numbers’

Rebecca F. John was born in 1986, and grew up in Pwll, a small village on the South Wales coast. She holds a BA Hons in English with Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing from Swansea University.


Her short story, ‘The Dog Track’, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2013. In 2014, she was highly commended in the Manchester Fiction Prize. Her first short story collection, Clown’s Shoes, will be published by Parthian in Autumn 2015.


Rebecca works as a ski instructor and is currently studying for a PGCE.  When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, sketching, riding horses, watching tennis and playing music. Rebecca lives in Swansea.


Story first lines:

‘No, Christina,’ the woman says. ‘Please don’t read.’ But already Christina has weighed the book between careful palms and, recognising its solid width, flipped open the covers.


Story last lines:

She will be a bending, pliable nine, and she will curl into her husband and tell him just that – that there is no number big enough to hide her brother’s ghost behind.  Despite all her efforts, there is no number for that.


Follow Rebecca F John on Twitter


rotimi-babatunde-credit-akinwunmi-osunkoyaRotimi Babatunde – ‘The Collected Tricks of Houdini’

Rotimi Babatunde, was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and he spent most of his childhood surrounded by forested, breath-taking mountains in Ado Ekiti, Nigeria. His poems and short stories have been published and translated internationally.


In 2012, he was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing for his story ‘Bombay’s Republic’. He is a recipient of the AWF’s Cyprian Ekwensi Prize for Short Stories and of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation award. His plays have been widely produced by theatres which include Halcyon Theatre, Chicago, and Sweden’s Riksteartern. He is a co-author of Feast, a collaboratively written play, which premiered in 2013 at the Young Vic Theatre, London.


Rotimi Babatunde has been awarded fellowships by Ledig House and the MacDowell Colony, both in the United States, and by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre in Italy. In 2014, he was selected as part of Hay Festival’s Africa39 Project. He lives in Ibadan, Nigeria.


Story first lines:

Hannibal now goes to church, the old patrons in the palm wine bar opposite the town hall knew, yet they were surprised when they looked out and saw Hannibal stepping out of a bus with other members of his church, shouting in tongues along with his fellow congregants and raining damnation on the heads of the latter-day Philistines who organised the New Masquerade Festival.


Story last lines:

The bar owner looked in the direction of Hannibal. Everyone followed suit. The cage that will hold Houdini has not yet been built, the bar owner said.


Follow Rotimi Babatunde on Twitter


scott-o-connor-credit-peter-konerkoScott O’Connor – ‘Interstellar Space’

Scott O’Connor was born in Syracuse, New York. Untouchable, his first novel, was published by Tyrus Books in 2011 and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. His second novel, Half World, was published in 2014 by Scribe (UK) and Simon & Schuster (US). He lives with his family in Los Angeles.


Story first lines:

When we were girls, we would lay in the cool blue orb of the above-ground pool in the backyard, our bodies flat across the surface, heads down, arms out, lifeless, what we called Dead Man’s Float, five minutes, ten, lifting our chins only for quick gulps of air, then back down, eleven minutes, twelve, counting in our heads and waiting for our mother’s voice from the kitchen window, calling, Girls? then a pause, and in the waiting silence we could feel her watching, her straining concentration, squinting into the sun toward the pool, then calling again, this time with a small note of panic in her voice, a tight, electric trill, Girls, are you all right? still holding our breath, cheeks full and lungs burning, listening for the sound of the screen door clacking shut, the frantic swish of our mother’s bare feet running through the grass.


Story last lines:

I think about all the visits, all the hours in this room. Our mother, our father, Donnie Rush. Everyone sitting, as Donnie said, in the shared fiction.

‘Cate,’ Meg turns to me, her eyes on mine, desperate. ‘Do you hear that?’

‘No,’ I say. ‘I don’t. Tell me about it.’


yiyun-li-credit-roger-turessonYiyun Li – ‘A Sheltered Woman’

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award for first fiction. Her novel, The Vagrants, won the gold medal of California Book Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for Dublin IMPAC Award. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, her second collection, was a finalist of Story Prize and shortlisted for Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Kinder Than Solitude, her latest novel, was published to critical acclaim. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.


Yiyun Li has received numerous awards, including Whiting Award, Lannan Foundation Residency fellow, 2010 MacArthur Foundation fellow, and 2014 Benjamin H. Danks Award from American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40.


Her story, ‘The Science of Flight’, was shortlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award in 2011.

She lives in Oakland, California with her husband and their two sons, and teaches at University of California, Davis.


Story first lines:

The new mother, groggy from a nap, sat at the table as though she did not grasp why she had been summoned.


Story last lines:

She had, unlike her mother and her grandmother, talked herself into being a woman with an ordinary fate. When she moved on to the next place, she would leave no mystery or damage behind; no one in this world would be disturbed by having known her.

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