Out of the taxi and into the bitter early morning air we got. As I stood there watching the group head into the flat, a horrible realisation hit me. I only had a couple of fags left. The garage was only a five-minute walk from Mary’s, so I set off down the road, and, as I did do, I contemplated doing a runner. ‘This night is going to end in tears’, I thought. They usually do. But the lure of a session was, once again, and regrettably, too much.

Picking Up the Pen Again

Sadly, through events and shenanigans outside of school, my behaviour deteriorated in fourth year, and I was thrown out at the age of fifteen, with a pass in English and no other qualifications to my name. I had only been allowed to sit my Maths and English exams at the end of the year. I didn’t even bother turning up for my Maths exam. How my schooling ended is an immense regret of mine. But, what’s done is done.

I Didn’t Know It At the Time

I didn’t know it at the time, when we were six and seven and would walk to the banks of the Passaic River where overturned shopping carts stood in knee-deep water, acting like seines, capturing the plastic once-white bags that eventually developed a gleam from the muck and pollution, a shimmering like the underbelly of landed bluefish, and we’d watch them undulating in the slow current as if they were alive—I didn’t know that my best friend Paula, my constant companion, the girl next door, would, at the age of seventeen, be blown up by a car bomb planted by the North Jersey mob and meant for her boyfriend.

That Was Before – Novel Excerpt

Nettie dropped to her knees and pulled David’s clumsy body off the porcelain tiles. Against his mother’s skin he reanimated, and Nettie kissed him over and over. There didn’t appear to be any damage, no bruises, cuts or bumps, but then again, why would there be? His tumble had been so quiet, so small, she hadn’t even heard it happen. It was as though he just slid, like Jell-O coming out of a pan. Nettie rocked him back and forth as much for her own comfort as for his, and he gurgled a surprised and excited sound before smiling wide, showing off his new tooth.

The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li

There’s a wonderful distinction in "The Book of Goose" between game-real and the fearsome reality of the world. “Game-real” is when your gameplay is so intense it feels real. Only it isn’t. Only the changing world is real, and in this novel, it eats up people alive.