'Rabbit at Rest' by John Updike

Standing amid the tan, excited post-Christmas crowd at the Southwest Florida Reginal Airport, Rabbit Angstrom has a funny feeling that what he has come to meet, what's floating in unseen about to land, is not his son Nelson and daughter-in-law Pru and their two children, but something more ominous and intimately his: his own death shaped vaguely like an airplane.

'Everyman' by Philip Roth

Around the grave inthe rundown cemetery were a few of his  former advertising colleagues from New York, who recalled his energy and originality and told his daughter, Nancy, what a pleasure it had been to work with him.

'Provinces of Night' by Wiliam Gay

The dozer took the first cut out of the claybank below Hixson's old place promptly at seven o'clock and by nine the sun was well up in an absolutely cloudless sky and it hung over the ragged earth like a malediction.

'The Goldfinch' by Donna Tartt

While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. I'd been shut up in my hotel for more than a week, afraid to telephone anybody or go out; and my heart scrambled and floundered at even the most innocent noises: elevator bell, rattle of the minibar cart, even church clocks tolling the hour.

'America America' by Ethan Canin

When you've been involved in something like this, no matter how long ago it happened, no matter how long it's been absent from the news, you're fated nonetheless, to always search it out. To be on alert for it, somehow, every day of your life. For the small item at the back of the newspaper. For the stranger at the cocktail party or the unfamilliar letter in the mailbox. For the reckoning pause on the other end of the phone line. For the dreadful appearence of something that in all likelihood, is never going to return.

'Concrete Island' by J.G.Ballard

Soon after three o'clock on the afternoon of April 22nd 1973, a 35-year old architect named Robert Maitland was driving down the high-speed exit lane of the Westway interchange in central London. Six hundred yards from the junction with the newly built spur of the M4 motorway, when the Jaguar had already passed the 70 m.p.h. speed limit, a blow-out collapsed the front nearside tyre.

'The Rings of Saturn' by W G Sebald

In August 1992, when the dog days were drawing to an end, I set off to walk the county of Suffolk, in the hope of dispelling the emptiness that takes hold of me whenever I have completed a long stint of work. And in fact my hope was realized, up to a point; for I have seldom felt so carefree as I did then, walking for hours in the day through the thinly populated countryside, which stretches inland from the coast..... in retrospect I became preoccupied not only with unaccustomed sense of freedom but also with the paralysing horror that had come over me at various times when confronted with the traces of destruction, reaching far back into the past, that were evident even in that remote place. Perhaps it was because of that, a year to the day after I began my tour, I was taken into a hospital in Norwich in a state of almost total immobility.