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James Lasdun was born in London and now lives in upstate New York.He has published two collections of short stories, three books of poetry and a novel, The Horned Man. His story The Siege was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci for his film Beseiged. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Sunday (based on another of his stories) which won Best Feature and Best Screenplay awards at Sundance, 1997. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, and currently teaches poetry and fiction workshops at Princeton.
Love and hate, desire and guilt, friendship and betrayal form the coordinates of these two intensely dramatic stories of men and women caught between their irrational passions and the urge for control. In Feathered Glory the seemingly happy marriage of a school principal and his artist wife reveals dangerous fault-lines as an old lover reappears in the husband's life and the wife, fascinated by a charismatic wildlife rehabilitator, brings an injured swan into their home. The poignant denouement leaves every character irreversibly transformed. The past also haunts the present in Afternoon of a Faun, where an accusation of historic sexual assault plunges Marco Rosedale, an English journalist in New York, into a series of deepening crises. Set during the months leading up to Trump's election, this is at once a study of our shifting social and sexual mores, and a meditation on what makes us believe or disbelieve the stories of other people. These gripping, darkly comic novellas reflect and complement each other, offering a sharply observed vision that will resonate with anyone interested in the clash of power and desire in our embattled contemporary lives.
Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountain-top house over the summer. As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines. When a fourth person arrives, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable passions. Who is the real victim? Who is the perpetrator? And who, ultimately, is the fall guy?
It is summer, 2012. Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountaintop house. As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines, and with the arrival of a fourth character, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable passions. As readers of James Lasdun's acclaimed fiction can expect, The Fall Guy is a complex moral tale as well as a gripping suspense story, probing questions of guilt and betrayal with ruthless incisiveness. Who is the real victim here? Who is the perpetrator? And who, ultimately, is the fall guy? Darkly vivid, with an atmosphere of erotic danger, The Fall Guy is Lasdun's most entertaining novel yet.
A true story of obsessive love turning to obsessive hate, Give Me Everything You Have chronicles the author's strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of a former student, a self-styled `verbal terrorist', who began trying, in her words, to `ruin him'. Hate-mail - much of it violently anti-Semitic - online postings and public accusations of theft and sexual misconduct, have been her weapons of choice, and, as with more conventional terrorist weapons, have proved remarkably difficult to combat. James Lasdun's account, while terrifying, is told with compassion and humour, and brilliantly succeeds in turning a highly personal story into a profound meditation on subjects as varied as madness, race, Middle-Eastern politics, and the meaning of honour and reputation in the internet age.
James Lasdun's new book of poems, his first since his acclaimed collection Landscape with Chainsaw, applies his characteristic blend of the celebratory and the elegiac to a rich variety of new themes and old obsessions. At once personal and political, Water Sessions brilliantly registers the shock waves of global tumult in the most intimately domestic of settings, while at the same time constantly feeling its way outward through private experience into the larger arenas of social and civic drama. Fathers and sons, men and women, desire and repression, art and silence, form the book's central polarities. Recurrent motifs of water and gardens give its wide-ranging subjects a satisfying coherence while also supplying its sometimes darkly urgent poems with a note of intense lyrical beauty. Much praised for the wit and tensile strength of his line, Lasdun moves in this volume from the tight formality of 'Stones' through the highly original patient/therapist dialogue form of the title poem, to the exuberant free verse of 'Dog Days', with a versatility and intelligence that ensure his standing as one of the most gifted poets writing today.
In sharply evoked settings that range from the wilds of Northern Greece to the beaches of Cape Cod, these intensely dramatic tales chart the metamorphoses of their characters as they fall prey to the gamut of human passions. The lives in them seethe with love, hate, desire, fear, tender corruption and cruel idealism. They rise to unexpected heights of decency, stumble into comic or tragic folly, they throw themselves open to lust, longing, paranoia - but they are always recognisably, illuminatingly, our lives. Winner of the BBC National Short Story Award.
Stefan Vogel, a young man growing up in the former East Germany, longs for love, glory and freedom - yearnings that express themselves in a lifelong fantasy of going to America. The hopeless son of an ambitious mother and a kind but unlucky diplomat, Stefan lurches between his budding, covert interests - girls and Romantic poetry - to find himself embroiled in dissident politics, which oddly seems to offer both. In time, by a series of blackly comic and increasingly dangerous manoeuvres, he contrives to make his fantasy come true, finding himself not only in the country of his dreams, but also married to the woman he idolises. America seems everything he expected and meanwhile his secrets are safely locked away behind the Berlin Wall. A new life of unbounded bliss seems to have been granted to him. And then that life begins to fall apart...
Part political thriller, part meditation on the nature of desire and betrayal, Seven Lies tells the story of Stefan Vogel, a young East German, whose yearnings for love, glory, and freedom express themselves in a lifelong fantasy of going to America. By a series of increasingly dangerous maneuvers, he makes this fantasy come true, his past seemingly locked behind the Berlin Wall and a new life of unbounded bliss ahead of him. But then his world begins to fall apart.
THIS BOOK, NOW THOROUGHLY REVISED AND UPDATED, IS WRITTEN TO SATISFY READERS WHO WANT TO BUILD THEIR HOLIDAY AROUND WALKING, OR THOSE WHO SIMPLY WANT TO INTEGRATE A BIT OF WALKING INTO THEIR HOLIDAY. IT BEGINS WITH A PRACTICALITIES SECTION AND EXTEND INTO THE WALKS THEMSELVES. FROM SIX OR SO BASE TOWNS, THE AUTHORS OFFER ROUTES OF ONE OR TWO HOURS, HALF DAY, AND ONE, THREE, AND FIVE DAYS. THERE ARE ALSO SOME EXTRAORDINARY WALKS WORTH GOING OUT OF THE WAY FOR. THERE ARE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RESTAURANTS, TRATTORIAS AND PIZZERIAS, AS WELL AS MARKETS AND OTHER TAKE-AWAY OPTIONS. ADDITIONALLY, THE BOOK INCLUDES SUGGESTIONS FOR LODGING, TRANSPORTATION, FLORA AND MANY OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST.
Lawrence Miller, an English expatriate in New York, tells the story of what appears to be an elaborate conspiracy to frame him for a series of brutal killings. The intricate plot entangles Miller, a teacher of Gender Studies, in the lives of a womanising colleague under investigation for sexual harassment, a lonely attorney who has developed an inexplicable passion for Miller, and a shadowy Bulgarian who adapts Kafka for the stage, is prone to acts of explosive violence, and may or may not be sleeping under Miller's office desk. As the novel spirals to its shocking conclusion, Lawrence Miller traverses, in terror, the streets of Manhattan, tracking the lines of human connection across the city and out to the decaying suburbs beyond, in wild pursuit of his persecutors.
His work has been described by the New York Times Book Review as an elegant pathology report on the modern soul, and the Village Voice calls his prose art that burrows into troubling new territory even as it glides by like a dream. Besieged shows his gift for exploring the undertones of contemporary experience at its most haunting and electrically charged. Against a variety of stunningly evoked backgrounds-from the teeming banks of the Ganges in Varanasi to a homeless shelter in New York-these powerful, intensely focused narratives reverberate, as Michiko Kakutani put it in the New York Times, insistently in the reader's mind long after he has finished the book. In Ate/Menos or The Miracle, a young man takes unscrupulous advantage of a woman who mistakes him for someone else and finds himself enmeshed in her desperate obsessions and nightmares. In The Siege, a wealthy recluse falls in love with the immigrant woman who lives in his basement. On discovering she is married and that her husband is a political prisoner, he embarks on a course of action that will lead simultaneously to his destruction and to his salvation. Two of the stories in this collection were made into major independent film. Ate Menos was the basis for the film Sunday, which won the Grand Jury Best Feature Award at Sundance. The Siege was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci for his film Besieged.
Concerned with transformations and dislocations - both physical and emotional - the poems in James Lasdun's second collection speak exquisitely of desire and loss. Jetlagged, estranged, out of synch or out of kilter, the figures in these poems sometimes just miss each other, sometimes connect explosively. And under their feet - whether it's a Roman pavement, a hill-path in Mexico, a Surrey lawn or a New York street - there is always something primitive, turbulent, ready to reveal itself. Intellectually rigorous, musical and deftly formal these apparently classical poems blend a dark, erotic animus with an exhilarating wit.