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'These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: you are not alone' Matilda is the story of a brilliant and sensitive girl who refuses to submit to the cruelty of the adult world, and instead channels her anger and sense of isolation into heroic action. In his depiction of the monstrous Wormwoods and psychotic Miss Trunchbull, Dahl created some of his most memorable villains; and in Matilda, he created his greatest and best-loved heroine - an enduring emblem of resistance in the face of tyranny for more than thirty years.
A lonely woman in Rio de Janeiro makes a connection that will change her life. Ulisses, a mysterious man, has penetrated her soul and turned her inside out. This is a devastating novel of the interior, of a woman yearning to love, of the ultimate unknowability of the other in a relationship, of the cosmic changes that enrich us and destroy us at the dawn of love.
Don Juan, that notorious libertine, has disappeared. Has he been dragged down to hell by demons, as rumoured - or has he escaped? Dona Ana, the woman he tried to seduce, will stop at nothing to discover the truth. Set in a rural eighteenth-century Spain rife with suspicion and cruelty, and featuring a glorious cast of peasants, aristocrats and vengeful ghosts, this moving, surprising tragicomedy is also Sylvia Townsend Warner's response to the dark days of the Spanish Civil War.
It is 1097 and a traveller arrives in the great, walled city of Antioch with a vision of a beautiful and mysterious geometric design that will change the lives of all those who see it. Pilgermann is a mesmerising recreation of the world of the Crusades, following its unlikely hero and those he meets on a journey of picaresque horror across a Europe of hatreds, visions and a desperate wish for salvation.
Born to swim thousands of miles in the ocean, the giant sea turtles are now trapped in a tank of golden-green water at London Zoo. But not for much longer. Two lonely people, a bookseller and a children's illustrator, have begun thinking turtle thoughts. As they come together to hatch a plan to release the turtles into the sea, their diaries reveal how they find their own lives changing in imperceptible and quite unintended ways.
Pillar of society and stern upholder of Victorian values, god-fearing Norfolk merchant John Barnard presides over a large and largely unhappy family. This is their story - his brandy-swilling wife, their hapless offspring and their changing fortunes - over the decades. Sylvia Townsend Warner's last novel, The Flint Anchor gloriously overturns our ideas of history, family and storytelling itself.
On an ordinary day in a strangely unfamiliar London, Kleinzeit is fired from his advertising job and told he must go to hospital with a skewed hypotenuse. There on Ward A4, he falls in love with the divine, rosy-cheeked Sister and is sent spinning into a quest involving, among other things, a glockenspiel, sheets of yellow paper, Orpheus, the Underground and that dirty chimpanzee, Death.
'I have gone to look for a lion.' In a world where lions have become extinct, the map-maker Jachin-Boaz nevertheless abandons his wife and son to find one, leaving just this note. But his decision has unexpected consequences. He will be pursued by his son, Boaz-Jachin, and by something else: a tawny-skinned, amber-eyed beast from another place and time, a bringer of life and death.
'Fanon is our contemporary ... In clear language, in words that can only have been written in the cool heat of rage, Fanon showed us the internal theatre of racism' Deborah Levy Frantz Fanon's urgent, dynamic critique of the effects of racism on the psyche is a landmark study of the black experience in a white world. Drawing on his own life and his work as a psychoanalyst to explore how colonialism's subjects internalize its prejudices, eventually emulating the 'white masks' of their oppressors, it established Fanon as a revolutionary anti-colonialist thinker. 'So hard to put down ... a brilliant, vivid and hurt mind, walking the thin line that separates effective outrage from despair' The New York Times Book Review
Shirley Jackson skewered the trials of domestic life in 1950s America with wry wit and uncanny precision. In this sequel to Life Among the Savages, her four offspring have now grown into fully-fledged demons. As their house starts to burst at the seams, the Jackson clan somehow manage (without really planning it) to move into a larger home, only to take the chaos - absent furniture, vanishing children, misbehaving refrigerators, an avalanche of books - right along with them.
A dreamlike novel of memory and magic, Nostalgia turns the dark world of Communist Bucharest into a place of strange enchantments. Here a man plays increasingly death-defying games of Russian Roulette, a child messiah works his magic in the tenements, a young man explores gender boundaries, a woman relives her youth and an architect becomes obsessed with the sound of his new car horn - with unexpected consequences. Blending reality and symbolism, time and myth, this is a cult masterwork from Romania's most celebrated writer.
Bombed-out Cologne after the war is a strange place to be. The black market in jam and corsets is booming, half-destroyed houses offer opportunities for stealing doors and eggcups, and de-Nazification parties are all the rage. Recently released from a prisoner-of-war camp, Ferdinand drifts around the city, strenuously avoiding his fiancee and drinking brandy with his fabulous cousin. But is this any way to go on? Told with Keun's characteristic humour, irony and generosity of spirit, this is a wry portrait of a man, a city and a nation that asks how we go on living even in the face of total defeat.
After three years on the remote tropical island of Fanua, Timothy Fortune, a missionary from London, has made little headway. The islanders show very little interest in Christianity and he has only a single convert: a boy, Lueli. As Mr Fortune's affections for both Lueli and his new island home deepen, he begins to question all his old certainties - until one day he is put to a terrible test. A wry exploration of faith, colonialism and the demands of love, Mr Fortune's Maggot is as quietly subversive as it is delightful.
Leaving her orphanage at sixteen, Sukey Bond finds employment as a servant in the remote New Easter Farm, deep within the Essex Marshes. There she falls in love with simple, gentle Eric, the son of the rector's wife. But when their relationship is discovered, they are swiftly separated. So begins Sukey's quest to be reunited, a quest that will take her through every layer of Victorian society...
Written in the early 1960s by Adonis, 'the most eloquent spokesman and explorer of Arabic modernity' (Edward Said), Songs of Mihyar the Damascene is widely considered to be the apex of the modernist poetry movement in the Arab world, and a radical departure from the rigid formal structures that had dominated Arabic poetry until the 1950s. Drawing not only on Western influences, such as T.S. Eliot and Nietzsche, but on the deep tradition and history of Arabic poetry, Adonis accomplished a masterful and unprecedented transformation of the forms and themes of Arabic poetry, initiating a profound revaluation of cultural and poetic traditions. Songs of Mihyar is a masterpiece of world literature that rewrote - through Mediterranean myths and renegade Sufi mystics - what it meant to be an Arab in the modern world.
'Life for sale. Use me as you wish. I am a twenty-seven-year-old male. Discretion guaranteed. Will cause no bother at all.' When Hanio Yamada realizes the future holds nothing of worth to him, he puts his life for sale in a Tokyo newspaper, thus unleashing a series of unimaginable exploits. A world of revenge, murderous mobsters, hidden cameras, a vampire woman, poisonous carrots, espionage and code-breaking, a junkie heiress, home-made explosives and decoys reveals itself to the unwitting Hanio. Is there anything he can do to stop it?
Having made his fortune in America, Eel is magnetically drawn back to the Piedmontese countryside where he grew up poor and illegitimate. Spending the summer wandering its valleys and vineyards with his childhood friend Nuto, Eel obsessively returns in memory to the farm where he worked as an adolescent, and to his employer's beautiful daughters. The landscape and its people seem locked in timeless rituals; but as Eel discovers the secret stories of the partisans who hid out in the hills during the war, he comes to recognize that the truth is both more complicated and more disturbing.
'A novel of love, war and death; brilliantly entertaining and far ahead of its time' Guardian 'She is my husband's mistress - and here am I, taking her out to dinner' Sophia Willoughby of Blandamer House, upstanding Victorian matriarch, has packed her errant husband off to Paris with his mistress Minna. But when tragedy throws her life off balance Sophia goes to seek him out, and instead finds herself intensely attracted to the charismatic, bohemian Minna, who leads her on a wild, chaotic adventure through a city in the throes of revolution. 'One of the great under-read British novelists of the twentieth century. This is my favourite of her novels' Sarah Waters 'Every page contains something brilliant, arresting or amusing, and one comes away from it staggered' Claire Harman
'One of the great British novels of the twentieth century: a narrative of extraordinary reach, power and beauty' Sarah Waters The nuns who enter a medieval Norfolk convent are told to renounce the world, but the world still finds ways to trouble them, whether it is through fire, floods, pestilence, a collapsing spire, jealous rivalries, a priest with a secret or a plague of caterpillars. As we follow their daily lives over three centuries, this masterpiece of historical fiction re-creates a world run by women. 'As an act of imagined history this novel has few rivals. Also, as it happens, a work of high, frequent comedy' George Steiner, The Times Literary Supplement 'Spellbinding . . . One starts rereading as soon as one has reached the last page' Sunday Times 'Magnificent' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph
'I thank heaven for small mercies. The first of these is Rumpole' Clive James Horace Rumpole, the irrepressible barrister fuelled by cigars, Tennyson, steak-and-kidney pud and the cooking claret from Pommeroy's wine bar, is back for further misadventures. Amid an unfortunate and temporary downturn in London crime, the Old Bailey Hack sits in Chambers (he never writes at home for fear of She Who Must Be Obeyed) and picks up his pen to recount six classic tales of his recent trials. Here he deals with, among others, a clergyman on a shoplifting rampage, a backstage theatrical murder, a villain with unfortunate sartorial taste and, worst of all, the possibility that he may have to hang up his wig and retire. 'Rumpole, like Jeeves and Sherlock Holmes, is immortal' P. D. James
D. W. Winnicott was one of the most influential figures in child psychiatry. In this landmark work, re-issued on the fiftieth anniversary of his death, he lays out his ground-breaking theories of child development, and how children become independent from their parents. Along the way Winnicott touches on a wide range of questions, from why babies cry and why toddlers are aggressive to how to teach children about sex. Above all, Winnicott encourages parents to ignore external pressures and guilt, and to trust their own instincts. His accessible and non-judgemental approach remains as radical today as it was in the 1960s.
'One of Denmark's most celebrated writers' New Statesman From the acclaimed author of the Copenhagen Trilogy, a searing, haunting novel of a woman on the edge, portrayed with all the vividness of lived experience. Copenhagen, 1968. Lise, a children's book writer and married mother of three, is increasingly haunted by disembodied faces and voices. She is convinced that her husband, already extravagantly unfaithful, will leave her. Most of all, she is scared that she will never write again. Yet as she descends into a world of pills and hospitals, she begins to wonder, is insanity really something to be feared, or does it bring a kind of freedom? 'Ditlevsen explores the surprising contours of Lise's experience: from her point of view, madness can be funny, soft and secure, and far more enlightening than the reality it struggles to evade' The New York Times Translated by Tiina Nunnally
John Kenneth Galbraith, one of America's foremost economists, follows the incredible economic rise and fall that lead to the great crash of 1929 No account of the financial insanity of 1929 has been issued in a form at once so readable, so humorous, and so carefully authenticated as this classic book. J.K. Galbraith examines the 'gold rush fantasy' in American psychology and describes its dire consequences. The Florida land boom, the operations of Insull, Kreuger and Hatry, and the fabulous Shenandoah Corporation all come together in this penetrating study of concerted human greed and folly. From the cold figures of Wall Street the author wrenches a truly human drama.
'Utterly, agonisingly compulsive ... a masterpiece' Liz Jensen, Guardian Following one woman's journey from a troubled girlhood in working-class Copenhagen through her struggle to live on her own terms, The Copenhagen Trilogy is a searingly honest, utterly immersive portrayal of love, friendship, art, ambition and the terrible lure of addiction, from one of Denmark's most celebrated twentieth-century writers. 'Sharp, tough and tender ... wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy ... Ditlevsen can pivot from hilarity to heartbreak in a trice' Boyd Tonkin Spectator 'Astonishing, honest, entirely revealing and, in the end, devastating. Ditlevsen's trilogy is remarkable not only for its honesty and lyricism; these are books that journey deep into the darkest reaches of human experience and return, fatally wounded, but still eloquent' Observer 'The best books I have read this year. These volumes slip in like a stiletto and do their work once inside. Thrilling' New Statesman
In one of the wittiest novels of them all, Nancy Mitford casts a finely gauged net to capture perfectly the foibles and fancies of the English upper class. Set in the privileged world of the county house party and the London season, this is a comedy of English manners between the wars by one of the most individual, beguiling and creative users of the language.
'Lovers of word games and literary puzzles will relish this indispensable anthology.' - The Guardian 'At times, you simply have to stand back in amazement.' - Daily Telegraph 'Philip Terry's collection is packed with fabulous, wide-ranging work that displays the full ingenuity, brio and originality of Oulipian ideals in action. An exhilarating feat of in-depth reading, and translating, it takes its place as the definitive anthology in English for decades to come.' - Marina Warner Brought together for the first time, here are 100 pieces of 'Oulipo' writing, celebrating the literary group who revelled in maths problems, puzzles, trickery, wordplay and conundrums. Featuring writers including Georges Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, it includes poems, short stories, word games and even recipes. Alongside these famous Oulipians, are 'anticipatory' wordsmiths who crafted language with unusual constraints and literary tricks, from Jonathan Swift to Lewis Carroll. Philip Terry's playful selection will appeal to lovers of word games, puzzles and literary delights.
'Masterly, hilarious, truly insightful' - Philip Hensher, The Spectator A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year 2019 The last major collection of Nabokov's published material, Think, Write, Speak brings together a treasure trove of previously uncollected texts from across the author's extraordinary career. Each phase of his wandering life is included, from a precocious essay written while still at Cambridge in 1921, through his fame in the aftermath of the publication of Lolita to the final, fascinating interviews given shortly before his death in 1977. Introduced and edited by his biographer Brian Boyd, this is an essential work for anyone who has been drawn into Nabokov's literary orbit. Here he is at his most inspirational, curious, playful, misleading and caustic. The seriousness of his aesthetic credo, his passion for great writing and his mix of delight and dismay at his own, sudden global fame in the 1950s are all brilliantly delineated.
Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by The Times and Telegraph 'Astonishing. . . Like the great Russian novels, these testimonials ring with emotional truth' - Caroline Moorehead, Guardian Extraordinary stories about what it was like to be a Soviet child during the upheaval and horror of the Second World War, from Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich What did it mean to grow up in the Soviet Union during the Second World War? In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich started interviewing people who had experienced war as children, the generation that survived and had to live with the trauma that would forever change the course of the Russian nation. With remarkable care and empathy, Alexievich gives voice to those whose stories are lost in the official narratives, uncovering a powerful, hidden history of one of the most important events of the twentieth century.Published to great acclaim in the USSR in 1985 and now available in English for the first time, this masterpiece offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human consequences of the war - and an extraordinary chronicle of the Russian soul.
'A brave, beautiful book that could double as a handbook to accompany anyone on their journey through cancer' Jackie Kay, New Statesman The Cancer Journals is an intimate, poetic and invigorating account of the experience of breast cancer, from biopsy to mastectomy, told by the great feminist and activist Audre Lorde. Moving between journal entry, memoir, and essay, Lorde fuses the personal and political to reflect on the many questions breast cancer raises: questions of survival, sexuality, prosthesis and self-care. It is a journey of survival, friendship, and self-acceptance. 'Grief, terror, courage, the passion for survival and for more than survival, are here in the searchings of a great poet' Adrienne Rich 'This book teaches me that with one breast or none, I am still me' Alice Walker
The ground-breaking work of the poet who paved the way for generations of women writers, in a new selection by her daugher and literary executor, Linda Gray Sexton When Anne Sexton took her own life in October 1974, she left behind a body of work which had already, in less than two decades of writing, won her the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, established her as one of the foremost voices of her generation, and shocked America by breaking multiple taboos of subject matter, from insanity, depression and addiction to menstruation, adultery and the figure of the witch. Sexton's name is legendary. Her poetry is read around the world, translated into over thirty languages, and in her own country remains a touchstone for poets and readers looking for rawness of perception, vitality of expression, confessional frankness and fiery passion. Yet, incredibly, there has been no new UK edition of her work for decades. In Mercies, readers are provided with a resonant new selection from the writings of this natural phenomenon of a poet.
'A perfectly formed set of stories about alienation in modern times' Independent 'Mesmerizing - almost ecstatic' The New York Times Mary Gaitskill's coolly compelling, quietly devastating stories explore the messy complexity of relationships between lovers, families and friends. An unsettling encounter on a plane; a tentative affair between an older woman and a younger man; the chasm between a father and his daughter: each expresses our longing for, and our fear of, human connection.
'Not to be born is undoubtedly the best plan of all. Unfortunately it is within no one's reach.' In The Trouble With Being Born, E. M. Cioran grapples with the major questions of human existence: birth, death, God, the passing of time, how to relate to others and how to make ourselves get out of bed in the morning. In a series of interlinking aphorisms which are at once pessimistic, poetic and extremely funny, Cioran finds a kind of joy in his own despair, revelling in the absurdity and futility of our existence, and our inability to live in the world. Translated by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and critic Richard Howard, The Trouble With Being Born is a provocative, illuminating testament to a singular mind.
'A gorgeously entertaining, provocative book' Chicago Tribune It is 4am when the ambulance comes to take the man's wife away - although no-one has called it, and there is nothing wrong with her. As he sets out to find her, he finds himself in the corridors of a vast underground hospital, where he encounters sinister medics, freakish sexual experiments and the unmistakable feeling of being watched. Even when he is suddenly appointed as the hospital's chief of security, reporting to a man who thinks he is a horse, he will not give up his search. Secret Rendezvous is a nightmarish satire of bureaucracy, medicine and modern life. 'Reads as if it were the collaborative effort of Hieronymus Bosch, Franz Kafka and Mel Brooks' Chicago Sun Times
'A brilliant display of pyrotechnics, a compelling tour de force ... by a master jeweller of polished prose' The New York Times A private detective is hired to find a missing person, but nothing is normal about this case. Why has the beautiful, alcoholic wife of the vanished salesman waited over half a year to search for him? Why are the only clues a photo and a matchbox? As the investigator's ever-more puzzling hunt takes him into the labyrinthine depths of the urban underworld, he begins to wonder if it is in fact he who is lost. An intoxicating blend of noir thriller and surreal dream, The Ruined Map questions identity itself. 'An exciting, imaginative and entertaining novel' San Francisco Chronicle
'A spellbinder from beginning to end, an edgy masterpiece' Chicago Sun Times 'This is the record of a box man'. Anonymous and alone, the box man peeps out of his cut-out eyeholes and watches the world from behind his four cardboard walls. At first repulsed by the strange phenomenon of people who have decided to abandon society and live in boxes on the Tokyo streets, he has found himself drawn into the anonymity and voyeurism of their life. As he becomes obsessed with spying on a young nurse, his identity slips away, in Kobo Abe's eerie, disorienting and seductive masterpiece of unease. 'Funny, sad and destructive ... an invention with its own crazy pull, it gnaws at the reader ... a stunning addition to the literature of eccentricity' The New York Times
A moving portrait of the landscape that shaped the life of Laurie Lee, the beloved author of Cider With Rosie 'Before I left the valley I thought everywhere was like this. Then I went away for 40 years and when I came back I realized that nowhere was like this.' Laurie Lee walked out of his childhood village one summer morning to travel the world, but he was always drawn back to his beloved Slad Valley, eventually returning to make it his home. In this portrait of his Cotswold home, Laurie Lee guides us through its landscapes, and shares memories of his village youth - from his favourite pub to winter skating on the pond, the church through the seasons, local legends, learning the violin and playing jazz records in the privy on a wind-up gramophone. Filled with wry humour and a love of place, Down in the Valley is a writer's tribute to the landscape that shaped him, and where he found peace.
'Bernhard is one of the masters of contemporary European fiction'George Steiner Old Masters (1985) is Thomas Bernhard's devilishly funny story about the friendship between two old men. For over thirty years Reger, a music critic, has sat on the same bench in front of a Tintoretto painting in a Viennese museum, thinking and railing against contemporary society, his fellow men, artists, the weather, even the state of public lavatories. His friend Atzbacher has been summoned to meet him, and through his eyes we learn more about Reger - the tragic death of his wife, his thoughts of suicide and, eventually, the true purpose of their appointment. At once pessimistic and exuberant, rancorous and hilarious, Old Masters is a richly satirical portrait of culture, genius, nationhood, class, the value of art and the pretensions of humanity.
The Second World War. Poland. Our narrator has no intention of being a hero. He plans to survive this war, whatever it takes. Meticulously he recounts his experiences: the slow unravelling of national events as well as uncomfortable personal encounters on the street, in the cafe, at the office, in his love affairs. He is intimate but reserved; conversational but careful; reflective but determined. As he becomes increasingly and chillingly alienated from other people, the reader is drawn into complicit acquiescence. We are forced to consider what it means to be heroic and how we ourselves would behave in the same circumstances. Written in 1961, this is the masterpiece of one of the great Polish writers of the twentieth century.
It's not because you're foreigners. It's because you aren't foreign enough ... or else that you are too foreign Just as the Krull house sits on the edge of a rural French town, the family occupies a marginal place in the life of the community around them. Snubbed by the locals despite having lived there for decades, they rely on trade with passing sailors to earn a living. When their relative arrives unannounced from Germany, with his unsettling, nonchalant ways, the family becomes the target of increasing suspicion and the scapegoat for a terrible crime. Written on the eve of the Second World War, The Krull House is a taut, strangely prophetic novel about how distrust and hostility towards outsiders descends into hate-filled violence. 'Irresistible...read him at your peril, avoid him at your loss' Sunday Times
'A great shout of life and individuality ... an act of defiance that gladdens the soul' Guardian Lolly Willowes, so gentle and accommodating, has depths no one suspects. When she suddenly announces that she is leaving London and moving, alone, to the depths of the countryside, her overbearing relatives are horrified. But Lolly has a greater, far darker calling than family: witchcraft. 'The book I'll be pressing into people's hands forever . . . It tells the story of a woman who rejects the life that society has fixed for her in favour of freedom ... tips suddenly into extraordinary, lucid wildness' Helen McDonald 'Witty, eerie, tender ... her prose, in its simple, abrupt evocations, has something preternatural about it' John Updike
'It was the discovery of the essays celebrating his childhood and youth that altered my perception of Camus, from a thinker to a writer whose intellectual lucidity was a product of the wealth - the sensual immediacy and clarity - that had been heaped on his senses' Geoff Dyer Albert Camus was born in a 'world of poverty and sunshine' in Algeria, which would infuse all of his work. This new collection brings together three volumes of Camus' most intimate autobiographical writings for the first time. The Wrong Side and the Right Side, his first book, describes his family and his early years in a working-class neighbourhood. Nuptials rejoices in the sensuality of sun, landscape and sea, while Summer ranges over the cities of Algiers and Oran, nature and identity. Lyrical and emotional, these pieces enrich our understanding of Camus and his love of life.
'One of the greatest European prose writers' Philip Roth In the autumn of 1965, Bohumil Hrabal bought a weekend cottage in the countryside east of Prague. There, until his death, he tended to an ever-growing, unruly community of cats. This is his confessional, tender and shocking meditation on the joys and torments of his life with them; how he became increasingly overwhelmed by the demands of the things he loved, even to the brink of madness. 'Dark and strange ... It begins with warmth and fluffiness, but soon descends into Dostoevskian horror' Daily Telegraph 'The Czech master exposed the animal within us' New Yorker
'To create today means to create dangerously' This new collection contains some of Camus' most brilliant political writing as he reflects on moral responsibility and the role of the artist in the world. Letters to a German Friend, written and published underground during the Nazi occupation of France, was born out of Camus' experience in the Resistance and explores what it truly means to love your country. Reflections on the Guillotine, his impassioned polemic against the death penalty, became a touchstone for the movement to abolish capital punishment, while in his Nobel speeches Camus argues that the artist must engage with dangerous times. Together these powerful pieces express Camus' mistrust of rigid ideologies, and his commitment to human solidarity. 'Probably no European writer of his time left so deep a mark on the imagination' Conor Cruise O'Brien
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE 'Portrays the breakdown of a murderer in ways that recall Camus' The Stranger' The New York Times Joseph Bloch, a once-famous goalkeeper turned construction worker, commits a random murder without thought or regret. As he wanders the streets, from hotel to bar, cinema to tram stop, experiencing strange and violent encounters on the way, he finds himself, and everything around him, disintegrating. Told in spare and icy prose, Peter Handke's masterpiece of alienation takes apart our ideas of humanity and reality itself. 'A Kafkaesque crime novel' Los Angeles Times Translated by Michael Roloff
'A fabulous journey through thirty years of political and intellectual ferment ... will reorient our reading of Foucault's major works' Didier Eribon The Essential Works of Michel Foucault offers the definitive collection of his articles, interviews and seminars from across thirty years of his extraordinary career. This first volume, Ethics, contains the summaries of Foucault's renowned courses at the College de France, as well as key writings and candid interviews on ethical matters: from the role of the intellectual and philosopher in society to friendship, sexuality and the care of the self and others. Edited by Paul Rabinow Translated by Robert Hurley and Others
'Foucault leaves no reader untouched or unchanged' Edward Said Aesthetics, the second volume of the complete collection of Michel Foucault's courses, articles and interviews, focuses on the philosophy, literature and art which informed his engagement with ethics and power, including brilliant commentaries on the work of de Sade, Rousseau, Marx, Magritte, Nietzsche, Freud and Wagner. He also explores a number of avant-garde authors who challenge our traditional notions of humanism, extends his theories on power relations and looks back over the whole of his extraordinary 'critical history of thought'. Edited by James D. Faubion Translated by Robert Hurley and Others
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE 'One of Europe's great writers' Karl Ove Knausgaard One evening Marianne, a suburban housewife living in an identikit bungalow, is struck by the realization that her husband will leave her. Whether at that moment, or in years to come, she will be deserted. So she sends him away, knowing she must fend for herself and her young son. As she adjusts to her disorienting new life alone, what she thought was fear slowly starts to feel like freedom. 'Knifelike clarity of evocation ... Handke is a kind of nature poet, a romantic whose exacerbated nerves cling like pained ivy to the landscape' John Updike Translated by Ralph Manheim
'Irreverent, spirited ... a seriously funny novel' New York Review of Books Sitting in his cramped basement room in Brixton, Battersby dreams of money, women, a T-bone steak - and a place to call his own. So he and a group of friends decide to save up and buy a house together. But amid grasping landlords, the temptations of spending money and the less-than-welcoming attitude of the Mother Country, can this motley group of hustlers and schemers, Trinidadians and Jamaicans, men and women make their dreams a reality? 'Selvon's meticulously observed narratives of displaced Londoners' lives created a template for how to write about migrant, and postmigrant, London for countless writers who have followed in his wake, including Hanif Kureishi and Zadie Smith' Caryl Phillips
'Foucault must be reckoned with by humanists, social scientists, and political activists' The New York Times Book Review Society Must Be Defended is Michel Foucault's devastating critique of the systems of power and control inherent in civilization. Taken from a series of lectures given by Foucault at the College de France in 1975-76, it reveals how war is the foundation of all power relations, and politics ultimately a continuation of battlefield violence. He offers a politically charged re-reading of history, with examples ranging from the Trojan myth to Nazi Germany, to show a continual, 'silent war' between the powerful and the powerless. 'A timely and prescient book, mainly because of what it says about the way in which war is necessary as a means of control' New Statesman Translated by David Macey
'The most innovative and influential French thinker of the contemporary era' Guardian This is the ideal introduction to one of the most significant and radical philosophers of the past century. It includes detailed excerpts from all of Foucault's major works, including Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality, as well as many of his most revealing interviews, covering subjects from madness to desire, art to the nature of truth. No other writer has made us think more about the structures of power and control in our society, both past and present. 'Scarcely any philosopher working on the history of philosophy or historian working on the history of institutions, social science or sexuality can avoid confronting the challenge of Foucault's books' Michael Ignatieff Edited by Paul Rabinow
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE 'Repetition made a great and, as I have since learned, lasting impression on me' W. G. Sebald Filip Kobal, an Austrian teenager, is on the trail of his missing older brother Gregor, who he never knew. All he has is two of Gregor's books: a school copy book, and a dictionary in which certain words have been marked. As he enters Slovenia on his journey, Filip discovers something else entirely: the transformative power of language to describe the world, and the unnerving joy of being an outsider in a strange land. 'One of the most moving evocations I have ever read of what it means to be alive, to walk upon this earth' Gabriel Josipovici Translated by Ralph Manheim
'Who since Weber, or perhaps even Hobbes, has done as much to show why power is such a profound, elusive and treacherous presence throughout our experience?' The Times Higher Education The third and final volume of the Essential Works of Foucault series, Power brings together his writings on the issues that he helped make the core agenda of Western political culture: medicine, prisons, psychiatry, government and sexuality, in particular showing his concerns with human rights, discrimination and exclusion. It also includes articles and open letters published directly in response to the issues of the time, calling for reform in abortion, asylum and the death penalty. All the pieces here bring a new sense of Foucault's huge influence on the politics of personal freedom. Edited by James D. Faubion Translated by Robert Hurley and Others
'One of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century' Michael Cunningham Clarissa Dalloway, elegant and vivacious, is preparing for a party and remembering those she once loved. In another part of London, Septimus Warren Smith is suffering from shell-shock and on the brink of madness. Smith's day interweaves with that of Clarissa and her friends, their lives converging as the party reaches its glittering climax. Virginia Woolf's masterly novel, in which she perfected the interior monologue, brings past, present and future together on one momentous day in June 1923. Edited by Stella McNichol with an Introduction and Notes by Elaine Showalter
'A fantasy, impossible but delicious ... an exuberance of life and wit' The Times Literary Supplement First masculine, then feminine, Orlando begins life as a young sixteenth-century nobleman, then gallops through the centuries to end up as a woman writer in Virginia Woolf's own time. Written for the charismatic, bisexual writer Vita Sackville-West, this playful mock biography of a chameleon-like historical figure is both a wry commentary on gender and, in Woolf's own words, a 'writer's holiday' which delights in its ambiguity and capriciousness. Edited by Brenda Lyons with an Introduction and Notes by Sandra M. Gilbert
'But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction - what has that got to do with a room of one's own?' A Room of One's Own grew out of a lecture that Virginia Woolf had been invited to give at Girton College, Cambridge in 1928 and became a landmark work of feminist thought. Covering everything from why a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write, to authors such as Jane Austen, Aphra Behn and the Bronte sisters, and the tragic story of Shakespeare's fictional sister Judith, it remains a passionate assertion for female creativity and independence in a world dominated by men. 'Fierce, energetic, humorous' Hermione Lee
'An exceptional novel ... a cause for celebration' Washington Post 'The most accomplished Native American writer of her generation' The New York Times Book Review Tayo, a young Second World War veteran of mixed ancestry, is coming home. But, returning to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, he finds himself scarred by his experiences as a prisoner of war, and further wounded by the rejection he finds among his own people. Only by rediscovering the traditions, stories and ceremonies of his ancestors can he start to heal, and find peace. 'Ceremony is the greatest novel in Native American literature. It is one of the greatest novels of any time and place' Sherman Alexie
'The piteousness of his little soft shroud of hair falling down his brow and swept aside by the hand over blue serious eyes' Described by Kerouac as 'my most serious sad and true book', Visions of Gerard forms the first volume of his memoir cycle the 'Duluoz Legend'. Based on Jack Kerouac's memories of the beloved older brother who died when he was a boy, it is unique among his novels for its dreamlike evocation of the sensations of childhood - its wisdom, anguish, intensity, innocence, joy and pain. It is a haunting exploration of the precariousness of existence. 'Called a pain-tale by Kerouac, it's the story of an almost divine, Buddha-like child wracked with sickness and suffering' Guardian
'Tiepolo: the last breath of happiness in Europe' The eighteenth-century Venetian painter Giambattista Tiepolo spent his life creating frescoes that are among the glories of Western art, yet he remains shrouded in mystery. Who was he? And what was the significance of the dark, bizarre etchings depicting sacrifice and magic, which he created alongside his heavenly works? Roberto Calasso explores Tiepolo as the last artist of the ancien regime and at the same time the first example of the painter of modern life evoked by Baudelaire. He was the incarnation of that peculiar Italian virtue sprezzatura: the art of not seeming artful. Translated by Alastair McEwen 'A brilliant, eccentric, provocative . . . and thoroughly splendid celebration of a great painter' John Banville, The New Republic 'Calasso is a myth-maker ... a book that treats paintings as a kind of sorcery' Peter Conrad, Observer
'The first Italian feminist writer' La Repubblica 'To love, to sacrifice oneself, and to submit! Was this what all women were destined for?' When her carefree, aspirational childhood in a seaside town is brought brutally to an end, the nameless narrator of Sibilla Aleramo's blazing autobiographical novel discovers the shocking reality of life for a woman in Italy at the dawn of the twentieth century. As she begins to recognize the similarities between her own predicament and the plight of her mother and the women around her, she becomes convinced that she must escape her fate. Unashamed and remarkably ahead of its time, A Woman is a landmark in European feminist writing. 'Powerful' Luigi Pirandello
'Brodsky charged at the world . . . there is no voice, no vision, remotely like it' The New York Times Book Review Self-educated, intense, impulsive and unmoored, Joseph Brodsky emerged in mid-century Russia as a poetic virtuoso, recognized by such greats as Anna Akhmatova as their worthy heir. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972. Together, the poems in this volume unfold the project that, as Brodsky saw it, the condition of exile presented: 'to set the next man - however theoretical he and his needs may be - a bit more free.' This edition includes poems translated by Derek Walcott, Richard Wilbur and Anthony Hecht, and poems written in English or translated by the author himself. It surveys Brodsky's tumultuous life and illustrious career, and showcases his most notable and poignant work as a poet. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Edited and introduced by Ann Kjellberg
What are Kafka's stories about? Are they dreams? Allegories? Symbols? Things that happen every day? But where and when? In this remarkable book, Roberto Calasso sets out not to dispel the mystery but to let it be illuminated by its own light. With his unique vision, imagination, and intellectual acumen, Calasso attempts to enter the flow, the tortuous movement, the physiology of the stories to discover what they are meant to signify and to delve into the most basic question: Who is K.?
'This is an old and wicked island. An island of Phoenicians and merchants, of bloodsuckers and frauds' Expelled from her convent school for kicking the prioress, and abandoned by her father when her mother dies, rebellious teenager Matia is sent to live with her domineering grandmother on the island of Mallorca. In the hot, oppressive stillness of an adolescent summer, she learns to scheme with her cousin Borja, and finds herself increasingly drawn to the strange outsider Manuel. But civil war has come to Spain, and it will teach Matia about the adult world in ways she could not foresee. This powerful, lyrical coming-of-age novel depicts Mallorca as an enchanted island, a lost Eden and a Never Land combined, where ancient hatreds and present-day passions collide.
Depicting a young woman's life in Nazi Germany, a masterpiece from the author of Child of All Nations 'I cannot think of anything else that conjures up so powerfully the atmosphere of a nation turned insane' Sunday Telegraph Nineteen-year-old Sanna just wants to drink her beer in peace, but that's difficult when Hitler has come to town and his motorcade is blocking the streets of Frankfurt. What's more, her best friend Gerti is in love with a Jewish boy, her brother writes books that have been blacklisted and her own aunt may denounce her to the authorities at any moment, as Germany teeters on the edge of the abyss. Written after she had fled the Nazi regime, Irmgard Keun's masterly novel captures the feverish hysteria and horror of the era with devastating perceptiveness and humour. Translated by Anthea Bell
'No brief survey can do justice to the richness, complexity and detail of Foucault's discussion' New York Review of Books The second volume of Michel Foucault's pioneering analysis of the changing nature of desire explores how sexuality was perceived in classical Greek culture. From the stranger byways of Greek medicine (with its advice on the healthiest season for sex, as well as exercise and diet) to the role of women, The Use of Pleasure is full of extraordinary insights into the differences - and the continuities - between the Ancient, Christian and Modern worlds, showing how sex became a moral issue in the west. 'Required reading for those who cling to stereotyped ideas about our difference from the Greeks in terms of pagan license versus Christian austerity' Los Angeles Times Book Review
'A brilliant display of fireworks, attacking the widespread and banal notion that in the beginning sexual activity was guilt-free and delicious, being repressed and blighted only by the gloom of Victorianism' Spectator We talk about sex more and more, but are we more liberated? The first part of Michel Foucault's landmark account of our evolving attitudes in the west shows how the nineteenth century, far from suppressing sexuality, led to an explosion of discussion about sex as a separate sphere of life for study and examination. As a result, he argues, we are making a science of sex which is devoted to the analysis of desire rather than the increase of pleasure. 'A wealth of insights, original conceptualizations and provocative ideas' The Times Literary Supplement
'Bristles with provocative insights into the tangled liaisons of sex and self' Times Higher Education In the third volume of his acclaimed examination of sexuality in modern Western society, Foucault investigates the Golden Age of Rome to reveal a decisive break from the classical Greek version of sexual pleasure. Exploring the moral reflections of philosophers and physicians of the era, he identifies a growing anxiety over sexual activity and its consequences. At the core of this transformation Foucault found the principles of the 'care of the self': the belief that the self is an object of knowledge to be cultivated over time, and the implications this has for ethics and behaviour. 'Magnificent ... Foucault's great achievement is to illuminate an entire and cohesive body of thought. It is brilliantly done' Daily Telegraph
'Imaginative, illuminating and innovative' The New York Times Book Review The grisly spectacle of public executions and torture of centuries ago has been replaced by the penal system in western society - but has anything really changed? In his revolutionary work on control and power relations in our public institutions, Michel Foucault argues that the development of prisons, police organizations and legal hierarchies has merely changed the focus of domination from our bodies to our souls. Even schools, factories, barracks and hospitals, in which an individual's time is controlled hour by hour, are part of a disciplinary society. 'Foucault's genius is called forth into the eloquent clarity of his passions ... his best book' Washington Post
'Provocative, compassionate and beautiful' - Joy Harjo, US Poet Laureate A moving story of a Maori community's fight for survival, from one of New Zealand's most prominent and celebrated authors On the remote coast of New Zealand, at the curve that binds the land and the sea, a small Maori community live, work, fish, play and tell stories of their ancestors. But something is changing. The prophet child toko can sense it. Men are coming, with dollars and big plans to develop the area for tourism. As their ancestral land becomes threatened, the people must unite in a battle for survival. Weaving together myth and memory, Patricia Grace's prize-winning novel is a spellbinding portrait of a defiant community determined to protect their way of life at any cost.
'Witty, stylish and ferociously absorbing' Observer Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is abandoned on the filthy streets of eighteenth-century Paris as a baby, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Gradually he learns how to exploit this gift in the art of creating the most sublime perfumes in France. Yet there is one scent he cannot capture: the scent of an innocent young virgin. In order to perfect his experiments, he must have this final ingredient, at any cost. A cult international bestseller, Perfume is a bewitching, darkly humorous fable of desire, obsession and death.
Playful and ironic, witty and warm-hearted, Stella Gibbons gives us her debut novel and the masterpiece that is Cold Comfort Farm. When sophisticated and educated socialite Flora Poste is orphaned at 19 with little income, she descends upon her relatives the gloomy Starkadders in deepest rural Sussex. A veritable bunch of misfits with melodrama galore, the family is taken under the wing of Flora as she looks to release everyone and everything from the clutches of her Aunt Ada Doom and fix their social, sexual and psychological issues. A brilliantly funny tale. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
A collection of Kafka's greatest short fiction, translated by Michael Hofmann Kafka's masterpiece of unease and black humour, Metamorphosis, the story of an ordinary man transformed into an insect, is brought together in this collection with the rest of his works that he thought worthy of publication. It includes Contemplation, a collection of his earlier short studies; The Judgement, written in a single night of frenzied creativity; The Stoker, the first chapter of a novel set in America; and an eyewitness account of an air display. Together, these stories, fragments and miniature gems reveal the breadth of his vision, his sense of the absurd, and above all his acute, uncanny wit. Translated with an introduction by Michael Hofmann
A brilliant, bestselling feminist novel from Weimar Germany, from the author of Child of All Nations 'A formidable literary talent ... Sharp yet naive, Gilgi is utterly human' Irish Times Gilgi knows where she's going in life: she's ambitious, focused and determined, even when her boss tries it on with her, even when her parents reveal a terrible secret on her twenty-first birthday. Then she meets the charming but feckless Martin and, for the first time, Gilgi finds herself bewilderingly and dangerously derailed. Irmgard Keun's electrifying debut was an instant sensation in Weimar Germany, with its frank, fearless exploration of sex, work and love. Translated by Geoff Wilkes 'How contemporary the novel feels, with its portrait of a woman fighting to maintain control over her life and her body' The New York Times
'Sentence by sentence, page by page, Bellow is simply the best writer we have' The New York Times Book Review In It All Adds Up, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Saul Bellow takes readers on a brilliantly insightful journey through literary America over a forty-year period. In sentence after sentence, page after page, readers are offered brilliant perceptions and unusual insights into everyday life in America and the life of the mind. Moving from political figures like Roosevelt and Khrushchev to artists like Mozart, Dostoevsky, and John Cheever, from New York and Chicago to Paris-and including the deeply personal Autobiography of Ideas -Bellow, with great humor and wisdom, records the enduring thoughts and opinions of a lifetime of observation, thoughts that speak to us with renewed energy for our times.
Ranging from the age of slavery to contemporary injustices, this groundbreaking history of race, gender and class inequality by the radical political activist Angela Davis offers an alternative view of female struggles for liberation. Tracing the intertwined histories of the abolitionist and women's suffrage movements, Davis examines the racism and class prejudice inherent in so much of white feminism, and in doing so brings to light new pioneering heroines, from field slaves to mill workers, who fought back and refused to accept the lives into which they were born. 'The power of her historical insights and the sweetness of her dream cannot be denied' The New York Times
'Utterly, agonisingly compulsive ... a masterpiece' Liz Jensen, Guardian The first volume in The Copenhagen Trilogy, the searing portrait of a woman's journey through love, friendship, ambition and addiction, from one of Denmark's most celebrated twentieth-century writers Tove knows she is a misfit, whose childhood is made for a completely different girl. In her working-class neighbourhood in Copenhagen, she is enthralled by her wild, red-headed friend Ruth, who initiates her into adult secrets. But Tove cannot reveal her true self to her or to anyone else. For 'long, mysterious words begin to crawl across my soul', and she comes to realize that she has a vocation, something unknowable within her - and that she must one day, painfully but inevitably, leave the narrow street of her childhood behind. Childhood, the first volume in The Copenhagen Trilogy, is a visceral portrait of girlhood and female friendship, told with lyricism and vivid intensity.
One man hunts obsessively for his lost identity, in this intoxicating noir masterpiece from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 'Modiano is a pure original' Adam Thirlwell 'I am nothing. Nothing but a pale shape, silhouetted that evening against the cafe terrace, waiting for the rain to stop' Guy Roland, a private detective in Paris, is trying to solve the mystery of his own past. His memories erased by amnesia, he has no idea where he is from, or even his real name. As he searches for clues through the city's shadowy streets and smoky bars, latching on to strangers, accumulating mementoes, photographs, scraps and stories, he starts to piece together the events that brought him here, all leading back to the murky days of wartime occupation.
'Utterly, agonisingly compulsive ... a masterpiece' Liz Jensen, Guardian The second volume in The Copenhagen Trilogy, the searing portrait of a woman's journey through love, friendship, ambition and addiction, from one of Denmark's most celebrated twentieth-century writers Forced to leave school early, Tove embarks on a chequered career in a string of low-paid, menial jobs. But she is hungry: for poetry, for love, for real life to begin. As Europe slides into war, she must navigate exploitative bosses, a Nazi landlady and unwelcome sexual encounters on the road to hard-won independence. Yet she remains ruthlessly determined in the pursuit of her poetic vocation - until at last the miracle she has always dreamed of appears to be within reach. Youth, the second volume in The Copenhagen Trilogy, is a strikingly honest and immersive portrait of adolescence, filled with biting humour, vulnerability and poeticism.
'Utterly, agonisingly compulsive ... a masterpiece' Liz Jensen, Guardian The final volume in The Copenhagen Trilogy, the searing portrait of a woman's journey through love, friendship, ambition and addiction, from one of Denmark's most celebrated twentieth-century writers Tove is only twenty, but she's already famous, a published poet and wife of a much older literary editor. Her path in life seems set, yet she has no idea of the struggles ahead - love affairs, wanted and unwanted pregnancies, artistic failure and destructive addiction. As the years go by, the central tension of Tove's life comes into painful focus: the terrible lure of dependency, in all its forms, and the possibility of living freely and fearlessly - as an artist on her own terms. The final volume in The Copenhagen Trilogy, and arguably Ditlevsen's masterpiece, Dependency is a dark and blisteringly honest account of addiction, and the way out.
'A wonderful rediscovery. . . human, suspenseful, shot through with hard-earned wisdom' - Lee Child One of the first bestsellers in Germany after the Second World War, Berlin Finale is a breathtaking novel of resistance set against the downfall of the Third Reich April 1945, the last days of the Nazi regime. While bombs are falling on Berlin, the Gestapo still search for traitors, resistance fighters and deserters. People mistrust each other more than ever. In the midst of chaos, a disparate group - a disillusioned young soldier; a trade unionist and saboteur; a doctor helping refugees - continues to fight back. And in Oskar Klose's pub, the resistance plan their next move, hunted at every step by the SS. Published in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Berlin Finale is an unforgettable portrait of life in a city devastated by war. Translated by Shaun Whiteside
'One of the hidden geniuses of the twentieth century' Colm Toibin 'She suddenly leaned toward the mirror and sought the love liest way to see herself' Lucrecia Neves is vain, unreflective, insolently superficial, almost mute. She may have no inner life at all. As she morphs from small-town girl to worldly wife of a rich man, and her small home town surrenders to the forces of progress, Lucrecia seeks perfection: to be an object, serene, smooth, beyond the burden of words or even thought itself. A book that obsessed its author, The Besieged City is unlike any other work in Lispector's canon: a story of transformation, of what it means to see and to be seen.
A darkly funny account of family life from the author of The Haunting of Hill House and The Lottery 'Sometimes, in my capacity as a mother, I find myself sitting open-mouthed and terrified before my own children' As well as being a master of the macabre, Shirley Jackson was also a pitch-perfect chronicler of everyday family life. In Life Among the Savages, her caustically funny account of raising her children in a ramshackle house in Vermont, she deals with rats in the cellar, misbehaving imaginary friends, an oblivious husband and ever-encroaching domestic chaos, all described with wit, warmth and plenty of bite. 'Jackson's family chronicles have a genuinely subversive aspect ... Read today, her pieces feel surprisingly modern - mainly because she refuses to sentimentalize or idealize motherhood' The New York Times Book Review 'Comic masterpieces, laced with hints of the discontent that lies beneath' Guardian
From 'A giant of twentieth-century science fiction' (Guardian), the adventures of Pirx, a hapless everyman in outer space 'By now he fancied himself something of a rocket jockey, a space ace, whose real home was among the planets' In a future where space travel has become routine and unremarkable, Pirx the pilot bumbles and daydreams his way through the solar system. These endearing tales follow his progress from cadet to captain. But, whether he is wrestling with a misbehaving spacesuit, feeling uncomfortable on a luxury space cruise ship or encountering a mysterious malfunctioning robot on a mission to Mars, the hapless Pirx just can't stop things from going terribly wrong. Translated by Louis Iribarne
'The best Norwegian novel ever' Karl Ove Knausgaard Mattis doesn't understand much about the world. He doesn't understand why others call him simple. Or why his sister Hege, who has cared for him in their peaceful lakeside cottage since they were young, gets so frustrated. But he knows that the woodcock which starts to fly over their house every day is a sign something is about to change. And when Hege falls in love, disrupting their familiar existence and unbalancing his thoughts, he decides he must face his fate. Translated by Torbjorn Stoverud and Michael Barnes 'A masterpiece' Literary Review 'Mattis, absurd and boastful, but also sweet, pathetic and even funny, is shown with great insight' Sunday Times
'She understands Karma, she says: What I do, I reap ' Her name means sadness, yet Tristessa, a prostitute and morphine addict, lives without cares in her shabby room with a menagerie of pets and an altar to the Virgin Mary. Based on Jack Kerouac's own real-life love affair in Mexico city, this is the story of a man's ill-fated relationship with a woman he portrays with tenderness and dignity, even as her life spirals out of control. 'A narrative meditation studying a hen, a rooster, a dove, a cat, a chihuaha dog, family meat, and a ravishing, ravished junky lady, first in their crowded bedroom, then out to drunken streets, taco stands, and pads at dawn in Mexico City slums' Allen Ginsberg
'I want to be considered a jazz poet blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam session on Sunday' Freewheeling and spontaneous, Mexico City Blues is Jack Kerouac's most significant and emblematic poem. Consisting of 242 loosely linked 'choruses', it takes in life, death, spirituality, jazz improvisation, memory, fantasies and dreams, all infused with the rhythm of the blues, to create a surreal and all-encompassing epic. 'A spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature' Allen Ginsberg 'A jazz poet. His sentences frequently move into tempestuous sweeps and whorls and sometimes they have something of the rich music of Gerard Manley Hopkins or Dylan Thomas' The New York Herald Tribune
Kerouac's last published novel, Pic is an endearing portrait of a road trip across America, seen through the eyes of one innocent, adventurous boy. 'Pic', or Pictorial Review Jackson, is a ten-year-old boy from North Carolina. When his grandfather dies and he is sent to live with another relative, his older brother, Slim, comes to rescue him. Together they hitch to New York City and, eventually, all the way to California, encountering hardship, kindness, music, love and danger as they go.
I have been woman for a long time beware my smile I am treacherous with old magic Filled with rage and tenderness, Audre Lorde's most acclaimed poetry collection speaks of mothers and children, female strength and vulnerability, renewal and revenge, goddesses and warriors, ancient magic and contemporary America. These are fearless assertions of identity, told with incantatory power. 'Audre Lorde writes as a black woman, a mother, a daughter, a lesbian, a feminist, a visionary; poems of elemental wildness and healing, nightmare and lucidity ... which blaze and pulse on the page' Adrienne Rich
The woman's place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep The revolutionary writings of Audre Lorde gave voice to those 'outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women'. Uncompromising, angry and yet full of hope, this collection of her essential prose - essays, speeches, letters, interviews - explores race, sexuality, poetry, friendship, the erotic and the need for female solidarity, and includes her landmark piece 'The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House'. 'The truth of her writing is as necessary today as it's ever been' Guardian
Accra, Ghana, the 1970s. In the streets, marketplaces and crowded houses of this sprawling city, an unforgettable cast of characters live, love and try to get by: an idealistic professor, a beautiful young witch, a wide-eyed student, a corrupt politician, a healer and a man intent on founding his own village. Through their stories, and those of the living, breathing city itself, Kojo Laing's dazzling novel creates a portrait of a place caught between colonialism and freedom, eternity and the present. 'The finest novel written in English ever to come out of the African continent' Binyavanga Wainaina
'An intense, courageous novel, equal to the best of Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett' The New York Times Part detective novel, part love story, part psychoanalytic case study, Malina is a staggering portrait of a writer trying to tell her own story in a world dominated by men. 'I was subordinate to him from the beginning, and I must have known early on that he was destined to be my doom' A woman in postwar Vienna walks a tightrope between the two men in her life. There is her lover Ivan, beautiful and unavailable, who obsesses her. And there is Malina, the civil servant with whom she shares an apartment: reserved, fastidious, exacting, chillingly calm. As the balance of power between them starts to shift, she feels her fragile identity unravelling, gradually revealing the dark, bruised heart of her past.
A New York Times Notable Book 2018 'A rebel French writer ... a brilliant storyteller, a master craftsman and one of France's most original writers' Independent 'The Kites is a novel touched from beginning to end with grace, a great saga about the innate dignity of love that succeeds in the feat of being funny and poetic, tender and sharp, committed and fierce, with a touch of brilliance in the art of dialogue' Muriel Barbery, author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog A quiet village in Normandy, 1932. Ludo is ten years old and lives with his uncle, a kindly, eccentric creator of elaborate kites. One day, sitting in a strawberry field, Ludo meets the beautiful young Polish aristocrat Lila. And so begins Ludo's lifelong adventure of love and longing for Lila, who only begins to return his feelings just as Europe descends into the devastation of World War 2. After Poland and France fall, Lila and Ludo are separated. Ludo's friends in the village must find their own ways of resisting: the local restaurateur who is dedicated above all to France's haute cuisine, a Jewish brothel madam who sleeps with her unwitting enemies and Ludo, who cycles past the Nazis every day, passing on messages for the French Resistance - thinking always of Lila.
'This novel is a jewel ... one of those books that enters the soul, which it is impossible not to be conquered by. It is a masterpiece like few others' Huffington Post Miguel and Alicia fall quietly in love as teenagers, walking back from school together. When Lucas - enigmatic, charismatic - arrives, everything changes, and Miguel is certain he has lost Alicia. Yet, against the odds, she marries him. Now, eleven years later, their marriage has begun to fray, and Alicia sets out to see Lucas again. As each member of this strange love triangle tells their side of what happened, an unforgettable story of desire, deception and tragic misunderstanding unfolds.
'It will be read and re-read not as a treatise but as a story: one of the most extraordinary that has ever been written of the origins of Western self-consciousness' Simon Schama The marriage of Cadmus and Harmony was the last time the gods of Olympus feasted alongside mortals. What happened in the distant ages preceding it, and in the generations that followed, form the timeless tales of ancient Greek mythology. In this masterful retelling of the myths we think we know, Roberto Calasso illuminates the deepest questions of our existence. 'The kind of book one comes across only once or twice in one's lifetime' Joseph Brodsky 'A perfect work like no other' Gore Vidal
'To read Ka is to experience a giddy invasion of stories - brilliant, enigmatic, troubling, outrageous, erotic, beautiful' The New York Times 'Who?' - or 'ka' - is the question that runs through Roberto Calasso's retelling of the stories of the minds and gods of India; the primordial question that continues to haunt human existence. From the Rigveda to the Upanishads, the Mahabharata to the life of Buddha, this book delves into the corpus of classical Sanskrit literature to re-imagine the ancient Indian myths and how they resonate through space and time. 'The very best book about Hindu mythology that anyone has ever written' Wendy Doniger 'Dazzling, complex, utterly original ... Ka is his masterpiece' Sunday Times
Mary Gaitskill's tales of desire and dislocation in 1980s New York caused a sensation with their frank, caustic portrayals of men and women's inner lives. As her characters have sex, try and fail to connect, play power games and inflict myriad cruelties on each other, she skewers urban life with precision and candour. 'Stubbornly original, with a sort of rhythm and fine moments that flatten you out when you don't expect it, these stories are a pleasure to read' Alice Munro 'An air of Pinteresque menace hangs over these people's social exchanges like black funereal bunting ... Gaitskill writes with such authority, such radar-perfect detail' Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
'Stands in the absolute first rank of books about the resistance in World War II. If you wish to read about a man more courageous and honourable than Jan Karski, I would have no idea who to recommend' Alan Furst It is 1939. Jan Karski, a brilliant young Polish student, enjoys a life of parties and pleasure. Then war breaks out and his familiar world is destroyed. Now he must live under a new identity, in the resistance. And, in a secret mission that could change the course of the war, he must risk his own life to try and save those of millions. 'Insistently asks the question: What would you do? Would you fight, or acquiesce, or collaborate? ... Karski was deeply patriotic and ludicrously brave ... an astonishing testament of survival' Ben Macintyre 'Karski's adventures are worthy of the wildest spy thriller' Daily Telegraph 'This eye-witness testimony is imbued with a passion that subsequent memoirs can rarely match' Financial Times 'Deeply moving' Daily Mail 'Reads like the screenplay to an incredibly exciting war movie - but it is all true' Andrew Roberts
'Wonderfully poetic ... extraordinary freshness ... a Virginia Woolf quality' Margaret Drabble Territory of Light is the radiant story of a young woman, living alone in Tokyo with her two-year-old daughter. Its twelve chapters follow the first year of the narrator's separation from her husband. The novel is full of light, sometimes comforting and sometimes dangerous: sunlight streaming through windows, dappled light in the park, distant fireworks, dazzling floodwater, de-saturated streetlamps and mysterious explosions. The delicate prose is beautifully patterned: the cumulative effect is disarmingly powerful and bright after-images remain in your mind for a long time.
The exquisite last novel from Nobel Prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata Ineko has lost the ability to see things. At first it was a ping-pong ball, then it was her fiance. The doctors call it 'body blindness', and she is placed in a psychiatric clinic to recover. As Ineko's mother and fiance walk along the riverbank after visiting time, they wonder: is her condition a form of madness - or an expression of love? Exploring the distance between us, and what we say without words, Kawabata's transcendent final novel is the last word from a master of Japanese literature. 'Lusciously peculiar' Paris Review
The gripping story of an affair gone horribly wrong, from one of Japan's greatest twentieth-century writers Koji, a young student, has fallen hopelessly in love with the beautiful, enigmatic Yuko. But she is married to the literary critic and serial philanderer Ippei. Tormented by desire and anger, Koji is driven to an act of violence that will bind this strange, terrible love triangle together for the rest of their lives. A starkly compelling story of lust, guilt and punishment, The Frolic of the Beasts explores the masks we wear in life, and what happens when they slip. 'One of the greatest avant-garde Japanese writers of the twentieth century' New Yorker
'Rumpole, like Jeeves and Sherlock Holmes, is immortal' P. D. James Horace Rumpole - dishevelled barrister at law, drinker of claret and smoker of cigars, inveterate quoter of Wordsworth and eternal defender of the underdog - is one of the greatest English comic characters ever created. This is the original volume of Rumpole stories, introducing us to the legal triumphs that first made the Old Bailey Hack's name, along with a host of choice villains, frequent forays to Pommeroy's wine bar and, of course, his formidable, magisterial wife Hilda, She Who Must Be Obeyed. 'I thank heaven for small mercies. The first of these is Rumpole' Clive James 'A fruity, foxy masterpiece, defender of our wilting faith in mankind' Sunday Times
Clarice Lispector's masterly second novel, now available in English for the first time 'She found the best clay that one could desire: white, supple, sticky, cold ... She would get a clear and tender material from which she could shape a world' Like the clay from which she sculpts figurines as a girl, Virginia is constantly shifting and changing. From her dreamlike childhood on Quiet Farm with her adored brother Daniel, through an adulthood where the past continues to pull her back and shape her, she moves through life, grasping for the truth of existence. Illuminating Virginia's progress through intense flashes of image, sensation and perception, The Chandelier, Lispector's landmark second novel, is a disorienting and exhilarating portrait of one woman's inner life. 'Utterly original and brilliant, haunting and disturbing' Colm Toibin Translated by Benjamin Moser and Magdalena Edwards
A hilarious, tragic novel about a would-be movie star in 1920s Berlin, from the author of Child of All Nations Doris is going to be a big star. Wearing a stolen fur coat and recently fired from her office job, she takes an all-night train to Berlin to make it in the movies. But what she encounters in the city is not fame and fortune, but gnawing hunger, seedy bars, and exploitative men - and as Doris sinks ever lower, she resorts to desperate measures to survive. Very funny and intensely moving, this is a dazzling portrait of roaring Berlin in the 1920s, and a poignant exploration of the doomed pursuit of fame and glamour. The Artificial Silk Girl was a huge bestseller in Weimar Germany before the Nazis banned it, and is today Keun's best-loved book in Germany. Funny, fresh and radical in its dissection of the limited options available to working women, it is a novel that speaks to our times.
'Read him at your peril, avoid him at your loss' Sunday Times Captain Lannec has finally managed to buy his own ship with the financial help of his in-laws, the Pitards - and they've never let him forget it. When his temperamental wife Mathilde insists on coming along on the ship's first voyage, Lannec becomes increasingly unnerved by her presence, especially when he receives an anonymous note saying he won't make it back to port. As they hit a storm in the Atlantic, jealousy, spite, snobbery and suspicion are churned up in the boat's stiflingly close quarters... First published in 1935, The Pitards was one of the first novels Simenon wrote when he shelved his famous Maigret series in order to strike out in a new direction and make a name for himself as a literary writer. This gripping evocation of life at sea revolves around class and the tense unravelling of relationships, powerful themes that Simenon would return to throughout his writing career.
An extraordinary story of love and exile, from one of the great masters of the Latin American novel 'Having news from you is like opening a window' Santiago is trapped. Taken political prisoner in Montevideo after a brutal military coup, he can do nothing but write letters to his family, and try to stay sane. Far away in a different country, his father tries to adjust to life in exile, his nine-year-old daughter marvels at the big city, and his beautiful, careworn wife finds herself irresistibly drawn to another man, as day by day Santiago edges closer to freedom. Told with tenderness and fury through the voices of a family torn apart by history, Springtime in a Broken Mirror asks whether shattered lives can ever truly be mended. 'A masterful novel ... a remarkable collage of unique perspectives - or shards from that eponymous broken mirror' The National
The great novel of 1920s Berlin life, in a superb new translation by Michael Hofmann Franz Biberkopf is back on the streets of Berlin. Determined to go straight after a stint in prison, he finds himself thwarted by an unpredictable external agency that looks an awful lot like fate. Cheated, humiliated, thrown from a moving car; embroiled in an underworld of pimps, thugs, drunks and prostitutes, Franz picks himself up over and over again - until one day he is struck a monstrous blow which might just prove his final downfall. A dazzling collage of newspaper reports, Biblical stories, drinking songs and urban slang, Berlin Alexanderplatz is the great novel of Berlin life: inventing, styling and recreating the city as reality and dream; mimicking its movements and rhythms; immortalizing its pubs, abattoirs, apartments and chaotic streets. From the gutter to the stars, this is the whole picture of the city. Berlin Alexanderplatz brought fame in 1929 to its author Alfred Doeblin, until then an impecunious writer and doctor in a working-class neighbourhood in the east of Berlin. Success at home was short-lived, however; Doblin, a Jew, left Germany the day after the Reichstag Fire in 1933, and did not return until 1945. This landmark translation by Michael Hofmann is the first to do justice to Berlin Alexanderplatz in English, brilliantly capturing the energy, prodigality and inventiveness of Doeblin's masterpiece.
A brilliantly varied new selection of D. H. Lawrence's essays, chosen and introduced by Geoff Dyer For D. H. Lawrence the novel was the pinnacle, 'the one bright book of life', yet his non-fiction shows him at his most freewheeling and playful. This is a selection of his essays, on subjects including art, morality, obscenity, songbirds, Italy, Thomas Hardy, the death of a porcupine in the Rocky Mountains and the narcissism of photographing ourselves. Arranged chronologically to illuminate the patterns of Lawrence's thought over time, and including many little-known pieces, they reveal a writer of enduring freshness and force. 'The greatest writer of this century, and in many things the greatest writer of all times' Philip Larkin
'A masterpiece ... a moving image of post-war Poland, and the first breathing of one of the essential voices of the twentieth century... the master of literary reportage' The Times Literary Supplement When the great traveller-reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski was a young journalist in the early 1960s, he was sent to write about the farthest reaches of his native Poland. The resulting essays brought together here reveal a place as strange as any of the distant lands he visited on foreign assignments: caught between ties to the past and dreams of escape, a country on the edge of modernity. 'Kapuscinski trascends the limitations of journalism and writes with the narrative power of a Conrad or Kipling or Orwell' Blake Morrison
From the bestselling author of Alone in Berlin, his acclaimed novel of a young couple trying to survive life in 1930s Germany 'Nothing so confronts a woman with the deathly futility of her existence as darning socks' A young couple fall in love, get married and start a family, like countless young couples before them. But Lammchen and 'Boy' live in Berlin in 1932, and everything is changing. As they desperately try to make ends meet amid bullying bosses, unpaid bills, monstrous mothers-in-law and Nazi streetfighters, will love be enough? The novel that made Hans Fallada's name as a writer, Little Man, What Now? tells the story of one of European literature's most touching couples and is filled with an extraordinary mixture of comedy and desperation. It was published just before Hitler came to power and remains a haunting portrayal of innocents whose world is about to be swept away forever. This brilliant new translation by Michael Hofmann brings to life an entire era of austerity and turmoil in Weimar Germany. 'An inspired work of a great writer ... Fallada is a genius. The Little Man is Mr Everybody' Beryl Bainbridge 'There are chapters which pluck the nerves...there are chapters which raise the spirits like a fine day in the country. The truth and variety of the characterization is superb...it recognizes that the world is not to be altered with moral fables' Graham Greene 'Fallada deserves high praise for having reported so realistically, so truthfully, with such closeness to life' Herman Hesse 'Fallada at his best' Philip Hensher 'Performs the most astounding task, of taking us to a moment before history' Los Angeles Review of Books
Radical and inspiring ... Yanagi's vision puts the connection between heart and hand before the transient and commercial - Edmund de Waal The daily lives of ordinary people are replete with objects, common things used in commonplace settings. These objects are our constant companions in life. As such, writes Soetsu Yanagi, they should be made with care and built to last, treated with respect and even affection. They should be natural and simple, sturdy and safe - the aesthetic result of wholeheartedly fulfilling utilitarian needs. They should, in short, be things of beauty. In an age of feeble and ugly machine-made things, these essays call for us to deepen and transform our relationship with the objects that surround us. Inspired by the work of the simple, humble craftsmen Yanagi encountered during his lifelong travels through Japan and Korea, they are an earnest defence of modest, honest, handcrafted things - from traditional teacups to jars to cloth and paper. Objects like these exemplify the enduring appeal of simplicity and function: the beauty of everyday things.
'A masterpiece, as fresh and shocking as if it were written yesterday' Craig Brown I've been told that no one sings the word 'hunger' like I do. Or the word 'love'. Lady Sings the Blues is the inimitable autobiography of one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century. Born to a single mother in 1915 Baltimore, Billie Holiday had her first run-in with the law at aged 13. But Billie Holiday is no victim. Her memoir tells the story of her life spent in jazz, smoky Harlem clubs and packed-out concert halls, her love affairs, her wildly creative friends, her struggles with addiction and her adventures in love. Billie Holiday is a wise and aphoristic guide to the story of her unforgettable life.
Haunting, terrifying and hilarious, The Day of the Oprichnik is a dazzling novel and a fierce critique of life in the New Russia Moscow 2028: Andrei Danilovich Komiaga, oprichnik, member of the czar's inner circle of trusted courtiers, rouses himself from a drunken stupor and prepares for another day of debauchery, violence, terror and beauty. In this New Russia, futuristic technology combine with the draconian world of Ivan the Terrible to create a dystopia chillingly akin to reality. Over the twenty-four-hour span of the novel, Komiaga will rape, pillage and torture, in the name of the czar he fears and adores. Shimmering with invention, fierce social commentary and razor-sharp wit, Day of the Oprichnik imagines a near future too disturbing to contemplate and too close to reality to ignore.
As Stephen Rojack, a decorated war hero and former congressman who murders his wife in a fashionable New York City high-rise, runs amok through the city in which he was once a privileged citizen, Mailer peels away the layers of our social norms to reveal a world of pure appetite and relentless cruelty. One part Nietzsche, one part de Sade, and one part Charlie Parker, An American Dream grabs the reader by the throat and refuses to let go.
October 21, 1967, Washington, D.C. 20,000 to 200,000 protesters are marching to end the war in Vietnam, while helicopters hover overhead and federal marshals and soldiers with fixed bayonets await them on the Pentagon steps. Among the marchers is Norman Mailer. From his own singular participation in the day's events and his even more extraordinary perceptions comes a classic work that shatters the mould of traditional reportage. Intellectuals and hippies, clergymen and cops, poets and army MPs crowd the pages of a book in which facts are fused with techniques of fiction to create the nerve-end reality of experiential truth. The Armies of the Night uniquely and unforgettably captures the Sixties' tidal wave of love and rage at its crest and a towering genius at his peak.
Miami, Summer 1968. The Vietnam War is raging; Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy have just been assassinated. The Republican Party meets in Miami and picks Richard Nixon as its candidate, to little fanfare. But when the Democrats back Lyndon Johnson's ineffectual vice president, Hubert Humphrey, the city of Chicago erupts. Antiwar protesters fill the streets and the police run amok, beating and arresting demonstrators and delegates alike, all broadcast on live television, and captured in these pages by one of America's fiercest intellects.
A darkly comic dystopian odyssey, from one of Russia's leading contemporary novelists Garin, a country doctor, is desperately trying to reach the village of Dolgoye, where a mysterious epidemic is transforming the villagers into zombies. He has with him a vaccine which will prevent the spread of this epidemic, but a terrible blizzard turns his journey into the stuff of nightmare. A trip that should take hours turns into a metaphysical odyssey, in which he encounters strange beasts, apparitions, hallucinations and dangerous fellow men. Trapped in this existential storm, Sorokin's characters fight their way through a landscape that owes as much to Chekhov's 19th-century Russia as it does to near-future, post-apocalyptic literature. Fantastical, comic and richly drawn, The Blizzard at once answers to the canon of Russian writers and makes a fierce statement about life in contemporary Russia.
Advertisements for Myself is a comprehensive collection of the best of Norman Mailer's essays, stories, interviews and journalism from the Forties and Fifties, linked by anarchic and riotous autobiographical commentary. Laying bare the heart of a witty, belligerent and vigorous writer, this manifesto of Mailer's key beliefs contains pieces on his war experiences in the Philippines (the basis for his famous first novel The Naked and the Dead), tributes to fellow novelists William Styron, Saul Bellow, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal and magnificent polemics against pornography, advertising, drugs and politics. Also included is his notorious exposition of the phenomenon of the 'White Negro', the Beat Generation's existentialist hero whose life, like Mailer's, is 'an unchartered journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self'
Based on Mailer's own experience of military service in the Philippines during World War Two, The Naked and the Dead' is a graphically truthful and shattering portrayal of ordinary men in battle. First published in 1949, as America was still basking in the glories of the Allied victory, it altered forever the popular perception of warfare. Focusing on the experiences of a fourteen-man platoon stationed on a Japanese-held island in the South Pacific during World War II, and written in a journalistic style, it tells the moving story of the soldiers' struggle to retain a sense of dignity amidst the horror of warfare, and to find a source of meaning in their lives amisdst the sounds and fury of battle.
Three seasonal stories set in Paris at Christmas, from the celebrated creator of Inspector Maigret. It is Christmas in Paris, but beneath the sparkling lights and glittering decorations lie sinister deeds and dark secrets... This collection brings together three of Simenon's most enjoyable Christmas tales, newly translated, featuring Inspector Maigret and other characters from the Maigret novels. In 'A Maigret Christmas', the Inspector receives two unexpected visitors on Christmas Day, who lead him on the trail of a mysterious intruder dressed in red and white. In 'Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook', the sound of alarms over Paris send the police on a cat and mouse chase across the city. And 'The Little Restaurant in Les Ternes (A Christmas Story for Grown-Ups)' tells of a cynical woman who is moved to an unexpected act of festive charity in a nightclub - one that surprises even her...
In this tender, impassioned fourth novel, James Baldwin created one of his most striking characters: a man struggling to become himself. 'Everyone wishes to be loved, but in the event, nearly no one can bear it' At the height of his theatrical career, the actor Leo Proudhammer is nearly felled by a heart attack. As he hovers between life and death, we see the choices that have made him enviably famous and terrifyingly vulnerable. For between Leo's childhood on the streets of Harlem and his arrival into the world of the theatre lies a wilderness of desire and loss, shame and rage. And everywhere there is the anguish of being black in a society that seems poised on the brink of racial war. In this tender, angry 1968 novel, James Baldwin created one of his most striking characters: a man struggling to become himself. 'The emotion surrounding family attachment... is deeply felt and is one reasons he continues to be read with such intensity' Colm Toibin
The final novel in the Great Plains trilogy, this is a celebration of the American midwest with Cather's strongest heroine at its heart Jim and Antonia meets as children in the wide open plains of Nebraska at the end of the nineteenth century. Jim leaves for college and a career in the east, while Antonia stays at home, dedicating herself to her farm and family. As the years roll by, Jim will come to view Antonia as the embodiment of the prairie itself - tough, spirited and enduring, despite the hardness and loneliness of pioneer life. Willa Cather's beautiful novel is a celebration of the Nebraskan prairie she loved she much, and a powerful depiction of a pivotal era in the making of America.
The funny and moving story of the apocalypse - as seen from one small village in England 'I loved this book, by turns funny and tragic ... It moves between abject despair and good old-fashioned British stoicism with ease. Magical' Jeff Noon, Spectator, Books of the Year 2018 Retired teacher Edgar Hopkins lives for the thrill of winning poultry prizes. But his narrow world is shattered when he learns that the moon is about to come crashing into the earth, with apocalyptic consequences. The manuscript he leaves behind will be a testament - to his growing humanity and to how one English village tried to survive the end of the world... Written in 1939 as the world was teetering on the brink of global war, R. C. Sherriff's tragicomic novel is a masterly work of science fiction, and a powerful warning from the past. 'Spectacular, skilled and moving. It is supremely and alarmingly relevant' Fay Weldon 'Intensely readable and touching' Sunday Telegraph
'The book breathes life, anger and excitement' Observer Tessa Quayle, a brilliant and beautiful young social activist, has been found brutally murdered by Lake Turkana in Nairobi. The rumours are that she was faithless, careless, but her husband Justin, a reserved, garden-loving British diplomat, refuses to believe them. As he sets out to discover what really happened to Tessa, he unearths a conspiracy more disturbing, and more deadly, than he could ever have imagined. A blistering expose of global corruption, The Constant Gardener is also the moving portrayal of a man searching for justice for the woman he has barely had time to love. 'A cracking thriller' Economist
The concluding part of John le Carre's celebrated Karla Trilogy, Smiley's People sees the last confrontation between the indefatigable spymaster George Smiley and his great enemy, as their rivalry comes to a shattering end. A Soviet defector has been assassinated on English soil, and George Smiley is called back to the Circus to clear up - and cover up - the mess. But what he discovers sends him delving into the past, on a trail through Hamburg and Paris to Cold War Berlin - and a final showdown with his elusive nemesis, Karla. 'An enormously skilled and satisfying work' Newsweek 'We are all Smiley's people, a kind of secular god of intelligence' New Yorker THE SEVENTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL
'One of his most enthralling creations' Daily Telegraph Broke and working as a tour guide in Germany, rootless Englishman Ted Mundy catches a glimpse of an old friend hiding in the shadows. A friend he thought was lost to him. A friend who took him from radical 1960s Berlin to life as a double agent. Now, decades later, the Cold War is over and the war on terror has begun. Sasha has another mission for them both, but this time it is impossible to tell the difference between allies - and enemies. Set in a world of lies and shifting allegiances, Absolute Friends is a savage fable of our times. 'Thoroughly gripping' Sunday Times
'One of the most sophisticated fictional responses to the war on terror yet published' Guardian An illegal Muslim immigrant arrives in Hamburg with a traumatic past and the key to a fortune held in a private bank. He says his name is Issa. To the idealistic young human rights lawyer Annabel, determined to save him from deportation, he is a worthy cause. To the intelligence services of Britain, Germany and America, however, he is a potential jihadist - and a pawn between them as they seek to make a kill in the war on terror. A Most Wanted Man is a gripping and disquieting story of paranoia, disillusionment and betrayal in the moral no-man's land of the post-9/11 world. 'A first-class novel about the most pressing concerns of our time' Daily Telegraph
Aldo Cassidy is the naive and sentimental lover. A successful, judicious man, he is wrenched away from the ordered certainties of his life by a sudden encounter with Shamus, a wild, carousing artist and Helen, his nakedly alluring wife. Cassidy, plunged into a whirlpool of recklessness and spontaneity, becomes a man bewildered and agonised as he is torn between two poles of a nature more complex than he had ever imagined.
'Mesmerising' Sunday Times As an interpreter of African languages, Bruno Salvador is much in demand. He makes it a principle to remain neutral - no matter what he hears. But when he is summoned on a secret job for British Intelligence, he is told he will have to get his hands dirty. His mission is to help bring democracy to the Congo - democracy that will be delivered at the end of a gun barrel. The Mission Song is an excoriating depiction of a corrupt world where loyalty can be bought and war is simply an opportunity to settle old scores. 'Simply astonishing ... a formidably sophisticated work of fiction' Charles Cumming
'Wonderful' The New York Times Charlie, a jobbing young English actress, is accustomed to playing different roles. But when the mysterious, battle-scarred Joseph recruits her into the Israeli secret services, she enters the dangerous 'theatre of the real'. As she acts out her part in an intricate, high-stakes plot to trap and kill a Palestinian terrorist, it threatens to consume her. Set in the tragic arena of the Middle East conflict, this compelling story of love and torn loyalties plays out against the backdrop of an unwinnable war. 'The Little Drummer Girl is about spies as Madame Bovary is about adultery or Crime and Punishment about crime' The New York Times
A stunning story' Wall Street Journal A mole, implanted by Moscow Centre, has infiltrated the highest ranks of the British Intelligence Service, almost destroying it in the process. And so former spymaster George Smiley has been brought out of retirement in order to hunt down the traitor at the very heart of the Circus - even though it may be one of those closest to him. The first part of le Carre's acclaimed Karla Trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sees the beginning of the stealthy Cold War cat-and-mouse game between the taciturn, dogged Smiley and his wily Soviet counterpart. 'A great thriller, the best le Carre has written' Spectator THE FIFTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL
'An adventure that takes us to the ends of the earth via the rich but often barren landscape of the human heart' The Times Why was an English lawyer shot dead in Turkey by his firm's top client? How can a down-at-heel magician in Devon explain the vast fortune that has mysteriously appeared in his daughter's trust fund? With customs officer Nat Brock on the trail, the answers point to the House of Single - once a respectable finance company, now entangled with a Russian crime syndicate. West is pitted against East, and the British establishment against a labyrinthine criminal superpower, in le Carre's searing novel of lives built upon lies. 'A masterly work, faultless fiction of the highest order' Glasgow Herald
In the second part of John le Carre's Karla Trilogy, the battle of wits between spymaster George Smiley and his Russian adversary takes on an even more dangerous dimension. George Smiley, now acting head of the Circus, must rebuild its shattered reputation after one of the biggest betrayals in its history. Using the talents of journalist and occasional spy Jerry Westerby, Smiley launches a risky operation uncovering a Russian money-laundering scheme in the Far East. His aim: revenge on Karla, head of Moscow Centre and the architect of all his troubles. 'Energy, compassion, rich and overwhelming sweep of character and action' The Times 'A remarkable sequel ... the achievement is in the characters, major and minor ... all burned on the brain of the reader' The New York Times THE SIXTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL
'The best English novel since the war' Philip Roth Magnus Pym - ranking diplomat, consummate Englishman, loving husband, secret agent - has vanished. Has he defected? Gone to ground? As the hunt for Pym intensifies, the secrets of his life are revealed: the people he has loved and betrayed, the unreliable con-man father who made him, the two mentors who moulded and shaped him, and now wish to claim this perfect spy as their own. Described by le Carre as his most autobiographical novel, A Perfect Spy is a devastating portrayal of a man who has played different roles for so long, he no longer knows who he is. 'Le Carre understood that espionage is an extreme version of the human comedy, even the human tragedy. A Perfect Spy will very likely remain his greatest book' New Yorker
Over the course of his career, Tomas Transtroemer - a poet who could look on the barren isolation of Sweden's landscapes and seascapes like no other, and find in them something hauntingly transcendent - emerged as one of the 20th century's essential global voices. By the time he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011, his luminous, almost mystical work had been translated into more than 50 languages. Gathering his poems from the early, nature-focused work to the later poetry's widening of the scope to take in painting, travel, urban life, and the impositions of technology on the natural world, and stirred throughout by the poet's profound love of music, The Half-Finished Heaven is a unique selection from Transtroemer's work. It is also, in its way, a deeply intimate one: the poems hand-picked here are not only the most beloved, but also those which were translated in the course of Transtroemer's nearly thirty-year correspondence with his close friend and collaborator, the American poet Robert Bly. Few names are more strongly associated with Transtroemer's; and few people have understood not only his poetry, but the processes behind it, more profoundly. The result is perhaps the best English-language introduction to this great and strange poet's work that there could be.
'A must read' - Margaret Atwood 'It would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original' - Viv Groskop, Observer Extraordinary stories from Soviet women who fought in the Second World War - from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? Their words and feelings? A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown... I want to write the history of that war. A women's history. In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich set out to write her first book, The Unwomanly Face of War, when she realized that she grew up surrounded by women who had fought in the Second World War but whose stories were absent from official narratives. Travelling thousands of miles, she spent years interviewing hundreds of Soviet women - captains, tank drivers, snipers, pilots, nurses and doctors - who had experienced the war on the front lines, on the home front and in occupied territories. As it brings to light their most harrowing memories, this symphony of voices reveals a different side of war, a new range of feelings, smells and colours. After completing the manuscript in 1983, Alexievich was not allowed to publish it because it went against the state-sanctioned history of the war. With the dawn of Perestroika, a heavily censored edition came out in 1985 and it became a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union - the first in five books that have established her as the conscience of the twentieth century.
'You will be a great hero, a general, Gabriele d'Annunzio, Ambassador of France!' For his whole life, Romain Gary's fierce, eccentric motherhad only one aim: to make her son a great man. And she did. This, his thrilling, wildly romantic autobiography, is the story of his journey from poverty in Eastern Europe to the sensual world of the Cote d'Azur and on to wartime pilot, resistance hero, diplomat, filmmaker, star and one of the most famed French writers of his age.
The second novel in the Great Plains trilogy, this is a passionate portrait of the artist as a young woman Thea Kronberg, a young girl from a small town in Colorado has a great gift - her beautiful singing voice. Her talent takes her to the great opera houses of Europe, and through ambition and hard work, she forges a life as an artist. But if she can never go home again, nor can she leave behind her past. At last, in a desert canyon in Arizona, Thea has a revelation that will allow her to attain a new state of spirituality and become a truly great artist. 'Willa Cather makes a world which is burningly alive, sometimes lovely, often tragic' Helen Dunmore 'The Song of the Lark illuminates all her work' A. S. Byatt 'Lingers long in the memory' Joyce Carol Oates
An extraordinary history of French lives under occupation in the First and Second World Wars, this is an intimate, unforgettable meditation on the strange mixture of compromise and betrayal, collaboration and resistance that marks defeat, written by one of the greatest historians of France. 'A splendid book for comprehending human kind ... Cobb has a strong sense of how ordinary life has to go on, even through disasters, and a sensitivity for what it was like at the time, matched by a gift for the telling phrase' Economist 'Prophet of the past, Richard Cobb is a visionary' New York Review of Books 'His France - urban, northern, provincial, pedestrian, noisy, unpuritanical, festive - was in contrast to, and predicated upon, another France: bureaucratic, official, suburban, safe' Julian Barnes
The first novel in the Great Plains trilogy, this is an ode to the American Midwest and the immigrants who transformed it To the anger of her brothers, it is Alexandra who is entrusted to manage their family farm in the tough, hostile prairie of Hanover, Nebraska following the death of their father. As the years pass, Alexandra rises heroically to the challenge, finding strength in the savage beauty of the land even as loneliness and personal tragedies crowd in. A rapturous work of understated lyricism, Willa Cather's 1913 tale of a pioneer woman who tames the wild, hostile lands of the Nebraskan prairie is also the story of what it means to be American.
A darkly humorous Czech satire: a new super-breed tries to conquer the world... War with the Newts (1936) is Karel Capek's darkly humorous allegory of early 20th-century Czech politics. Captain van Toch discovers a colony of newts in Sumatra which can not only be taught to trade and use tools, but also to speak. As the rest of the world learns of the creatures and their wonderful capabilities, it is clear that this new species is ripe for exploitation - they can be traded in their thousands, will do the work no human wants to do, and can fight - but the humans have given no thought to the terrible consequences of their actions.
'A terrific novel' Angela Carter Koko won't do what is expected of her. Defying her family's wishes, she has brought up her eleven-year-old daughter alone in her apartment. And now, after a casual affair, she is unexpectedly pregnant again. What will this mean for her already troubled relationship with her daughter? As she faces the future, memories of her own childhood loss flood into her consciousness, threatening to overwhelm her. Combining the beauty and unease of a dream, this haunting novel is an unflinching portrayal of a woman's innermost fears and desires. 'As relevant today as when it was published ... at once powerfully uplifting and achingly sad' Japan Times
A Short History of Decay (1949) is E. M. Cioran's nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid 20th-century Europe. Touching upon man's need to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the Ancient Greeks and the melancholy baseness of all existence, Cioran's pieces are pessimistic in the extreme, but also display a beautiful certainty that renders them delicate, vivid, and memorable. Illuminating and brutally honest, A Short History of Decay dissects man's decadence in a remarkable series of moving and beautiful pieces.
A dark love story set in wartime Rome from the author of In Love and Your Face for the World to See Rome, 1944. Robert is a lonely American soldier looking for a girl. Lisa is cold and hungry, obliged to seek work at Mamma Pulcini's house on the Via Flaminia. Their lives come together in what should be a simple exchange, a temporary arrangement without love or complication. But in a city broken by war, its people defeated, nothing is simple. Based on Alfred Hayes'own experiences of wartime Italy, this spare, searing novel exposes the dark complexities of the relationship between men and women, victor and vanquished. 'Hayes has done for bruised men what Jean Rhys does for bruised women, and they both write heartbreakingly beautiful sentences' Paul Bailey, Guardian 'Rings true as gold ... every single character in the book is sharp with the infallible stroke of art' Daily Mail
One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive A little black girl opens her eyes in 1930s Harlem, weak and half-blind. On she stumbles - through teenage pain and loneliness, but then to happiness in friendship, work and sex, from Washington Heights to Mexico, always changing, always strong. This is Audre Lorde's story. A rapturous, life-affirming autobiographical novel by the 'Black, lesbian, mother, warrior poet', it changed the literary landscape. 'Her work shows us new ways to imagine the world ... so many themes of Audre's work have endured' Renni Eddo Lodge, author of Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race 'I came across Audre Lorde's Zami, and I cried to think how lucky I was to have found her. She was an inspiration' Jackie Kay
'There were two kinds of landscape characteristic of the inner planets of the Sun: the purposeful and the desolate.' The planet Quinta is pocked with ugly mounds and covered by a spiderweb-like network draped from spindly poles. It is a kingdom of phantoms and of a beauty afflicted by madness. The Earth spaceship Hermes arrives on Quinta with the best of intentions towards the humans' 'brothers in intelligence'. But something on the planet has gone terribly wrong...
'Reinvents the particulars of slavery in America with a comic rage ... The book explodes. Reed's special grace is anger ... a muscular, luminous prose' The New York Times 'It always was, and will always be the most fearlessly original, most viciously political, most rambunctiously funny epic of slavery ever written. America almost doesn't deserve it' - Marlon James (2015 Man Booker Prize Winner) 'I loves it here ... We gets whipped with a velvet whip, and there's free dentalcare' Three slaves are on the run in the deep South, with their former master hot on their heels and the Civil War raging. One of them arms himself for a final showdown; one sells his body for pornographic movies; while the last, Raven Quickskill - hero, poet, heartbreaker - swigs champagne on a non-stop jumbo jet to Canada. Taking us on a wild ride through a nineteenth century littered with limousines, waterbeds and colour TVs, Flight to Canada is a surreal, madly funny satire on race in America. 'A satirical neo-slave narrative , the novel wittily conjoins the past of slavery to the present of America's bicentennial' New York Review of Books
'New York City is very peaceful and quiet, and the pale grey mists are slowly rising, to show me the world' Pip switches identities, sexes and centuries in this punk, fairytale reimagining of Charles Dickens's original Great Expectations. Both familiar and unfamiliar, our orphaned narrator is transplanted to New York City in the 1980s; becoming, by turns, a sailor, a pirate, a rebel and an outlaw, through adventures incorporating desire, creativity, porn, sadism and art. This ribald explosion of literature, sex and violence shows the literary anarchist Kathy Acker at her most brilliant and brave. 'Acker's most accomplished experimental work' The Village Voice 'A postmodern Colette with echoes of Cleland's Fanny Hill' William S. Burroughs
'Quite simply a masterpiece ... I am completely bowled over by it; by the power of its writing, by the vividness of its scene painting and by the stories it tells' A. N. Wilson 'Where there is great love there are always miracles' Two French priests have been sent to New Mexico to reawaken the faith. There, they must contend with unforgiving landscapes, danger, rebellion and loneliness. But through their many years together they are sustained by faith, friendship and the awe-inspiring majesty that surrounds them. A work of great simplicity and sublime beauty, Willa Cather's acclaimed novel asks, what is a life well lived? Death Comes for the Archbishop is a masterpiece by the author of O Pioneers! and the great novelist of American frontier life. 'Its whole effect works slowly and mysteriously ... a major, and rare, artistic achievement' A. S. Byatt
'Not only our most distinguished historian but also one of the most valuable contributors to historical theory' Spectator In answering the question, 'what is history?', E. H. Carr's acclaimed and influential bestseller shows that the facts of history are simply those which the historian selects for scrutiny. His fluent and hugely wide-ranging account of the nature of history and the role of the historian argues that all history is to some degree subjective, written by individuals who are above all people of their own time. 'Lively and controversial, full of wit and humour, E. H. Carr's What Is History? played a central role in the historiographical revolution in the 1960s' Richard J. Evans With an introduction by Richard J. Evans, author of the Third Reich trilogy.
A brilliant, bruising depiction of the dark side of 1950s Hollywood, from the author of In Love. At a Hollywood party, a screenwriter rescues an aspiring actress from a drunken suicide attempt. He is married, disillusioned; she is young, seemingly wise to the world and its slights. They slide into a casual relationship together, but as they become ever more entangled, he realises that his actions may have more serious consequences than he could ever have suspected. Hayes' exquisite novella, written in his cool, inimitable style, holds a revealing light to the hollowness of the Hollywood dream and exposes the untruths we tell ourselves, even when we think we have left illusions behind.
'Exquisite. . . a classic tour de force' The New York Times 'It struggled to keep itself aloft, to gain height. But then it suddenly gave up, and dropped as though it were breaking into many pieces' Early on a cold Sunday morning, forty-five-year-old Edgardo Limentani gets up to join a shooting party in the countryside surrounding the town of Ferrara. As the day passes, he contemplates his past, his disappointments and how he has got here. Like the birds he shoots, he realizes, he is trapped, broken, waiting alone for the final coup de grace. Then he sees a way out. The fifth book in Bassani's Novel of Ferrara sequence, and his final novel, The Heron is a taut, poignant portrait of a middle-aged man's reckoning with his life.
'Football is a pleasure that hurts' This unashamedly emotional history of football is a homage to the romance and drama, spectacle and passion of a 'great pagan mass'. Through stories of superstition, heartbreak, tragedy, luck, heroes and villains, those who lived for football and those who died for it, Eduardo Galeano celebrates the glory of a game that - however much the rich and powerful try to control it - still retains its magic. 'The Uruguayan whose writing got right to the heart of football ... readers were never in doubt of the warmth of the blood running through his veins' Guardian 'Galeano can run rings round our glamorous football intelligentsia' When Saturday Comes 'Stands out like Pele on a field of second-stringers' New Yorker
Bold, moving, entertaining and controversial, this is the great novel of 1960s Lagos life - with one of the most unforgettable heroines in literature. Jagua Nana, no longer young but still irresistible, lives a life of hedonism in Lagos: men, parties, fights, wild nights in the Tropicana with her handsome young boyfriend Freddie. Rushing from one experience to the next in search of something she can't quite grasp, Jagua finds herself embroiled in shady politics, caught up in village feuds and a source of drama wherever she goes. In this vivid depiction of 1960s Nigeria, everyone is hustling and everyone is on the make - and a woman like Jagua must find her own unconventional path to fulfilment.
A unique history of the Beats, in the words of the movement's most central member, Allen Ginsberg, based on a seminal series of his lectures In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem 'Howl', Allen Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation - partly to preserve his own memories of those years. The Best Minds of My Generation presents the best of these candid, intimate and illuminating lectures, revealing Kerouac, Burroughs and the rest of the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors and fellow visionaries in a group who started a revolution. 'Marvellous ... spellbinding ... preserving intact the story of the literary movement Ginsberg led, promoted and never ceased to embody' The New York Times Book Review 'An awesome exhaustive feat ... fascinatingly readable' Sunday Times 'Astonishingly intimate ... Full of penetrating insight and fascinating literary gossip, the book is a major contribution to the core Beat canon ... situates the Beats in cultural history in a way that no other exploration of their work does' San Francisco Chronicle
Take a ringside seat next to A. J. Liebling at some of the greatest fights in history. Here is Joe Louis's devastating final match; Sugar Ray Robinson's dramatic comeback; and Rocky Marciano's rise to heavyweight glory. The heated ringside atmosphere, the artistry of the great boxers and the blows and parries of the classic fights are all vividly evoked in a volume described by Sports Illustrated as 'the best American sports book of all time'. 'A rollicking god among boxing writers ... before Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson were out of diapers, Liebling was taking his readers on excursions through the hidden and often hilarious levels of this bruised subculture ... the Master' Los Angeles Times 'Nobody wrote about boxing with more grace and enthusiasm' The New York Times
'Your Face Tomorrow is already being compared with Proust and rightly so' Observer 'One of contemporary literature's major works ... you have to open this book' Ali Smith The concluding part in Javier Marias' spy trilogy masterwork Jacques Deza is back in London and once again working for the secret intelligence agency run by Bertram Tupra. Deza finds himself forced to watch Tupra's collection of incriminating videotapes of important public figures. The recordings document unconventional private lives - and horrific acts. The scenes enter him like a poison, contaminating everything good, yet he is powerless to counteract them. Set against a background of brutality, Poison, Shadow and Farewell asks whether violence can ever be justified and completes the extraordinary journey that has led us on a descent into hell and a re-emergence, not entirely unscathed, into life.
'He changed the course of history' Barack Obama 'Lightning makes no sound until it strikes' This is the momentous story of the Civil Rights movement, told by one of its most powerful and eloquent voices. Here Martin Luther King, Jr. recounts the pivotal events in the city of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 that propelled his non-violent campaign for racial justice from a movement of lunch counter sit-ins and prayer meetings to a phenomenon that 'rocked the richest, most powerful nation to its foundations'. As inspiring and resonant as it was upon publication, Why We Can't Wait is both a unique historical document, and an enduring testament to one man's wise, courageous and endlessly hopeful vision.
'As fresh, poignant and individual as his paintings' Lucy Beckett, TLS, Books of the Year 2018 'Here is my soul. Look for me here; here I am, here are my pictures, my roots' Marc Chagall, one of the twentieth century's most popular artists, grew up in a close-knit, bustling Russian-Jewish community, the son of a herring seller. In his colourful, dreamlike autobiography, written as he was about to leave his homeland for good in 1922, he vividly brings to life the memories and places that fed into his unique work, from his shtetl childhood to revolutionary Russia and Belle Epoque Paris. Filled with Chagall's own evocative illustrations, My Life is as warm, joyful and humane as his art. 'Chagall writes as whimsically as he paints: lovingly ofother people, humorously and lovingly of himself' Daily Mail 'Anyone who likes Chagall's paintings will enjoy this book:the work of an unteachable, unspoiled folk artist' Evening Standard
'What had happened to the lost manuscripts, what train of chances took Rolfe to his death in Venice? The Quest continued' One summer afternoon A.J.A. Symons is handed a peculiar, eccentric novel that he cannot forget and, captivated by this unknown masterpiece, determines to learn everything he can about its mysterious author. The object of his search is Frederick Rolfe, self-titled Baron Corvo - artist, rejected candidate for priesthood and author of serially autobiographical fictions - and its story is told in this 'experiment in biography': a beguiling portrait of an insoluble tangle of talents, frustrated ambitions and self-destruction.
'How simple this novel is. How subtle. How strong. How unlike any other. It is unique. It is unforgettable. It is extraordinary' Doris Lessing 'I'm surprised it isn't the most famous book in the world' Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers 'She was close to the edge now: the ice laid its hand upon her' The schoolchildren call it the Ice Palace: a frozen waterfall in the Norwegian fjords transformed into a fantastic structure of translucent walls, sparkling towers and secret chambers. It fascinates two young girls, lonely Unn and lively Siss, who strike up an intense friendship. When Unn decides to explore the Ice Palace alone and doesn't return, Siss must try to cope with the loss of her friend without succumbing to a frozen world of her own making.
George Orwell's moving reflections on the English character and his passionate belief in the need for political change. The Lion and the Unicorn was written in London during the worst period of the blitz. It is vintage Orwell, a dynamic outline of his belief in socialism, patriotism and an English revolution. His fullest political statement, it has been described as 'one of the most moving and incisive portraits of the English character' and is as relevant now as it ever has been.
'Unquestionably the most significant Spanish writer of his generation ... Your Face Tomorrow is rich, haunting, intriguing' Observer 'This trilogy must be one of the greatest novels of our age' Antony Beevor 'Fear is the greatest force that exists, as long as you can adapt to it' Jacques Deza has been recruited into an undercover spy network by the inscrutable Bertram Tupra. But when he is forced to witness an act of horrifying brutality in a night-club, he finds himself falling apart, haunted by his own memories of the bloodshed of the Spanish Civil War. As Deza tries to disentangle himself from an increasingly disturbing world, the second volume in Javier Marias' magnificent trilogy explores violence, corruption and what we are capable of. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
'Your Face Tomorrow is already being compared with Proust and rightly so' Observer 'One of contemporary literature's major works ... you have to open this book' Ali Smith 'I am myself my own fever and pain' Jacques Deza has been told he has a gift: he can see through people; guess just from their faces what will become of them. When he encounters the enigmatic Bertram Tupra at a party, Deza is persuaded to join a mysterious underground group. His task: to observe an assortment of people - politicians, celebrities, seemingly ordinary citizens - and predict their next move. But where will Deza's descent into this twilight world eventually take him? The first part of Javier Marias' masterly trilogy asks how well we truly know and understand those around us. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
'Musa Dagh stood beyond the world. No storm would reach it, even if one should break' It is 1915 and Gabriel has returned to his childhood home, an Armenian village on the slopes of Musa Dagh. But things are becoming increasingly dangerous for his people in Turkey, and, as the government orders round-ups and deportations, the villagers of Musa Dagh decide to fight back. The seminal novel of the Armenian genocide, Franz Werfel's bestselling 1933 epic brought the catastrophe to the world's attention for the first time, and has become a talismanic story of resistance in the face of hatred. 'Forty Days will invade your senses and keep the blood pounding. Once read, it will never be forgotten' The New York Times Translated by Geoffrey Dunlop and James Reidel
'A giant of twentieth-century science fiction' Guardian 'This Room Guaranteed BOMB-FREE. From the Management' Hapless cosmonaut Ijon Tichy has been sent back to earth to attend the Eighth Futurological Congress in smog-bound, overpopulated Costa Rica, holed up with an assortment of scientists in a luxury hotel (fully equipped with tear gas sprinklers in case things get out of hand). But when an unfortunate incident occurs involving a revolution and hallucinogenic drugs in the water supply, Tichy finds himself shot, frozen and thawed out in a future beyond anything he could ever have imagined.
The young naturalist W. N. P. Barbellion described this remarkably candid record of living with multiple sclerosis as 'a study in the nude'. It begins as an ambitious teenager's notes on the natural world, and then, following his diagnosis at the age of twenty-six, transforms into a deeply moving account of battling the disease. His prose is full of humour and fierce intelligence, and combines a passion for life with clear-sighted reflections on the nature of death. Barbellion selected and edited this manuscript himself in 1917, adding a fictional editor's note announcing his own demise. This Penguin Classics edition includes 'The Last Diary', which covers the period between submission of the manuscript and Barbellion's actual death in 1919.
'Few novelists match the intensity of her vision' J. G. Ballard No one knows why the ice has come, and no one can stop it. Every day it creeps further across the earth, covering the land in snow and freezing everything in its path. Through this bleached, devastated world, one man pursues the sylph-like, silver-haired girl he loves, as she keeps running - away from her husband; away from the sinister 'warden' who seeks to control her; away from him. 'A raw, brutal tale set in a frozen post-nuclear dystopia ... addictive and extremely entertaining' Guardian 'There is nothing else quite like Ice' Doris Lessing 'She is De Quincey's heir and Kafka's sister' Brian Aldiss
'The story of the negro in America is the story of America ... it is not a very pretty story' James Baldwin's breakthrough essay collection made him the voice of his generation. Ranging over Harlem in the 1940s, movies, novels, his preacher father and his experiences of Paris, they capture the complexity of black life at the dawn of the civil rights movement with effervescent wit and prophetic wisdom. 'A classic ... In a divided America, James Baldwin's fiery critiques reverberate anew' Washington Post 'Edgy and provocative, entertainingly satirical' Robert McCrum, Guardian 'Cemented his reputation as a cultural seer ... Notes of a Native Son endures as his defining work, and his greatest' Time
'Every man had not only a weak spot but also a criminal one' At his wife's insistence, upstanding citizen and artillery officer Anselm Eibenschutz leaves his beloved Austro-Hungarian army and takes up a civilian post, as Inspector of Weights and Measures in a remote backwater near the Russian border. At first he does everything by the book, but gradually he finds himself adrift in a world of petty corruption, bribery and drunkenness - and undone by his passion for the beautiful gypsy Euphemia. A haunting evocation of Eastern Europe's borderlands in the early twentieth century, Weights and Measures is also the story of the disintegration of a good man. Translated by David Le Vay
Step into the unsettling world of Shirley Jackson this autumn with a collection of her finest, darkest short stories, revealing the queen of American gothic at her mesmerising best. There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods... Includes the following stories: 'The Possibility of Evil'; 'Louisa, Please Come Home'; 'Paranoia'; 'The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith'; 'The Story We Used to Tell'; 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'; 'Jack the Ripper'; 'The Beautiful Stranger'; 'All She Said Was Yes'; 'What a Thought'; 'The Bus'; 'Family Treasures'; 'A Visit'; 'The Good Wife'; 'The Man in the Woods'; 'Home'; 'The Summer People'.
Demian is a coming-of-age story that follows a young boy's maturation as he grapples with good and evil, lightness and darkness, and forges alternatives to the ever-present corruption and suffering that he sees all around him. Crucial to this development are his relationships with a series of older mentors, of who the titular Demian is the most charismatic, otherworldly and ultimately influential. Many have noted the influence of Jungian psychology upon this novel and it is fascinating to see Herman Hesse's interests in the self, existence and free will play out through through the lens of early twentieth-century Europe; Christian imagery and themes are ever-present, as is the shadow of the First World War.
Thirteen strangely wrought, ingeniously crafted stories make up Nabokov's baker's dozen. In some of these stories shadowy people pass through, cooped up by life, with nowhere to escape to. Their dreams lie stifled, smothered by routine and repetition, and frustrations lurk in all the corners. In others, elusive glimpses of fleeting happiness, which flutter away before they can be snatched, waylay their victims. Like the shimmer of the sea, the gleam of a glass caught by the sun, they sparkle brilliantly only to dissolve again.
'Acker gives her work the power to mirror the reader's soul' William S. Burroughs 'Kathy Acker's writing is virtuoso, maddening, crazy, so sexy, so painful, and beaten out of a wild heart that nothing can tame. Acker is a landmark writer' Jeanette Winterson This is the story of Janey, who lived in a locked room, where she found a scrap of paper and began to write down her life. It's a story of lust, sex, pain, youth, punk, anarchy, gangs, the city, feminism, America, Jean Genet and the prisons we create for ourselves. A heady, surreal mash-up of coming-of-age tale, prose, poetry, plagiarism and illustration, Kathy Acker's breakthrough 1984 novel caused huge controversy and made her an avant-garde literary icon. Published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Kathy Acker's untimely death, Blood and Guts in High School is published for the first time in Penguin Classics, acknowledging the profound impact she has had on our culture, and alongside the authors her work pulsates with the influence of: William S. Burroughs, Cervantes and Charles Dickens, among others.
'There is in this world a kind of desire like stinging pain' A Japanese teenager is overcome with longing for his male classmate. He imagines his body punctured with arrows, like the body of St Sebastian in the painting that obsesses him. Over and over again, each night in his private fantasies, the objects of his lust are tortured, killed and maimed. But, in the rigid world of imperial wartime Japan there is no place for such transgressive desires. He must wear a false mask and hide his true nature, whatever the cost. 'A terrific and astringent work of beauty' The Times Literary Supplement 'Mishima is lucid in the midst of emotional confusion, funny in the midst of despair' Christopher Isherwood 'Never has a confession been freer from self-pity' Sunday Times
'It was useless to think I'd ever be able to throw open the door behind which I was yet again hiding ... Not now. Not ever.' School is a place of unspoken hierarchies and rivalries for a young teenage boy growing up in the provincial town of Ferrara. But as the everyday classroom and playground dramas are played out, they begin to reflect the disturbing undertones of 1930s Italy, and the narrator realizes that being Jewish means he will always be excluded. The fourth book in Bassani's Romanzo di Ferrara cycle, Behind the Door is a luminous portrayal of childhood friendship and the loss of innocence. A new translation by Jamie McKendrick 'Giorgio Bassani is one of the great witnesses of this century, and one of its great artists' Guardian 'Powerful new translations . . . Bassani began as a poet, and McKendrick's redelivery of this taut uncompromising fiction reveals resonance and generosity' Ali Smith
In 1613 the missionary Father Pedro Velasco's dream comes true. For the first time, the Japanese are going to cross the Pacific Ocean. And he is going with them. As he sets sail with a group of Samurai, for Mexico, then Spain and finally Rome, his zealous hope is that, by opening up relations with the western world, Japan will become ripe for conversion to Christianity - with him as Bishop. But fate has other plans for Father Velasco. A gripping portrayal of an extraordinary historical voyage, filled with danger and hardship, The Samurai is a haunting novel of endurance, faith and hubris. 'Endo to my mind is one of the finest living novelists' Graham Greene 'Powerful, beautifully written' New Statesman
'A great writer' James Baldwin 'Part vision, part satire, part farce ... a wholly original, unholy cross between the craft of fiction and witchcraft' The New York Times A plague is spreading across 1920s America, racing from New Orleans to New York. It's an epidemic of free expression, carried by black artists, and its symptoms are an uncontrollable urge to dance, sing, laugh and jive. The state will stop at nothing to suppress the outbreak, but, deep in the heart of Harlem, private eye and Vodum priest Papa LaBas has other ideas - and, possibly, the key to everything. A freewheeling, explosive blend of jazz, ragtime, ancient myth, magic and conspiracy thriller, this anarchic postmodern classic is a satire for our times.
'A novelist of immense power ... uncompromising and original' Colm Toibin 'I can feel the passage of time, as though it were coursing through my veins, along with my blood...' One June day in 1955 Alejandra, last of a noble yet decaying Argentinian dynasty, shoots her father, locks herself up with his body, and sets fire to them both. What caused this act of insanity? Does the answer lie with Martin, her troubled lover, Bruno, the writer who worshipped her mother, or with her father Fernando himself, demonic creator of the strange 'Report on the Blind'? Their lives entwine in Ernesto Sabato's dark epic of passion, philosophy and paranoia in Buenos Aires. 'Bewitched, baroque, monumental' Newsweek
'As I crammed the cream horn voraciously into my mouth, at once I heard Francin's voice saying that no decent woman would eat a cream puff like that' In a quiet town where not much happens, Maryska, the flamboyant brewer's wife, stands out. She cuts her skirt short so that she can ride her bicycle, her golden hair flying out behind her. She butchers pigs. She drinks and eats with relish. And when the garrulous ranconteur Uncle Pepin comes to visit the locals are scandalized even further, in Bohumil Hrabal's affecting, exuberant portrayal of a small central European community between the wars. 'One of the greatest European prose writers' Philip Roth 'Hrabal combines good humour and hilarity with tenderness' Observer
'... a human being, an intellectual human being who constantly bends the entire force of his mind on the ridiculous task of forcing a wooden king into the corner of a wooden board, and does it without going mad!' A group of passengers on a cruise ship challenge the world chess champion to a match. At first, they crumble, until they are helped by whispered advice from a stranger in the crowd - a man who will risk everything to win. Stefan Zweig's acclaimed novella Chess is a disturbing, intensely dramatic depiction of obsession and the price of genius.
Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
This extraordinary re-creation of the life of a medieval Italian merchant, Francesco di Marco Datini, is one of the greatest historical portraits written in the twentieth century. Drawing on an astonishing cache of letters unearthed centuries after Datini's death, it reveals to us a shrewd, enterprising, anxious man, as he makes deals, furnishes his sumptuous house, buys silks for his outspoken young wife and broods on his legacy. It is an unequalled source of knowledge about the texture of daily life in the small, earthy, violent, striving world of fourteenth-century Tuscany. 'Datini has now probably become most intimately accessible figure of the later Middle Ages ... brilliant and intricate' The Times 'As a picture of Tuscany before the dawn of the Renaissance it is a complement to The Decameron' Sunday Times
'Art is not a luxury. Art is a basic social need to which everyone has a right'. This extraordinary collection of 100 artists' manifestos from across the globe over the last 100 years brings together activists, post-colonialists, surrealists, socialists, nihilists and a host of other voices. From the Negritude movement in Africa and Martinique to Brazil's Mud/Meat Sewer Manifesto, from Iraqi modernism to Australia's Cyberfeminist Manifesto, they are by turns personal, political, utopian, angry, sublime and revolutionary. Some have not been published in English before; some were written in climates of censorship and brutality; some contain visions of a future still on the horizon. What unites them is the belief that art can change the world.
'The foremost work on the key democratic task: helping people to identify and challenge the sources of their oppression ... a transformative text' George Monbiot, Guardian Arguing that 'education is freedom', Paulo Freire's radical international classic contends that traditional teaching styles keep the poor powerless by treating them as passive, silent recipients of knowledge. Grounded in Freire's own experience teaching impoverished and illiterate students in his native Brazil and over the world, this pioneering book instead suggests that through co-operation, dialogue and critical thinking, every human being can develop a sense of self and fulfil their right to be heard. 'Truly revolutionary' Ivan Illich
'Maryse Conde is an extraordinary storyteller who brings the history of an African kingdom alive as vividly as if it existed today. . . This is a great novel: unputdownable and unforgettable' Bernardine Evaristo Winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature 2018 The bestselling epic novel of family, treachery, rivalry, religious fervour and the turbulent fate of a royal African dynasty It is 1797 and the African kingdom of Segu, born of blood and violence, is at the height of its power. Yet Dousika Traore, the king's most trusted advisor, feels nothing but dread. Change is coming. From the East, a new religion, Islam. From the West, the slave trade. These forces will tear his country, his village and the lives of his beloved sons apart, in Maryse Conde's glittering epic. 'Rich and colorful and glorious. It sprawls over continents and centuries to find its way into the reader's heart' - Maya Angelou 'A stunning reaffirmation of Africa and its peoples... It's a starburst' - John A. Williams
'One of his masterpieces . . . without doubt a great novel' Guardian One of Hermann Hesse's greatest novels, Narcissus and Goldmund is an extraordinary recreation of the Middle Ages, contrasting the careers of two friends, one of whom shuns life in a monastery and goes on the road, tangled in the extremes of life in a world dominated by sin, plague and war, the other staying in the monastery and struggling, with equal difficulty, to lead a life of spiritual denial. An superb feat of imagination, Narcissus and Goldmund can only be compared to such films set in medieval Europe as Bergman's The Seventh Seal and Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev. It is a gripping, profound reading experience - as startling, in its different way, as Hesse's Siddhartha and Steppenwolf.
New to Penguin Classics, the remarkable, devastating collected stories by the author of Wide Sargasso Sea. Some of Jean Rhys's most powerful writing is to be found in this rich, dark collection of her collected stories. Her fictional world is haunted by her own, painful memories: of cheap hotels and drab Parisian cafes; of devastating love affairs; of her childhood in Dominica; of drifting through European cities, always on the periphery and always perilously close to the abyss. Rendered in extraordinarily vivid, honest prose, these stories show Rhys at the height of her literary powers and offer a fascinating counterpoint to her most famous novel, Wide Sargasso Sea. This volume includes all the stories from her three collections,The Left Bank (1927), Tigers Are Better-Looking (1968) and Sleep It Off, Lady (1976).
A classic of postwar literature, a small masterpiece of humour, humanity and heroism from one of the best Czech writers For twenty-two-year-old Milos, bumbling apprentice at a sleepy Czech railway station, life is full of worries: his burdensome virginity, his love for the pretty conductor Masha, the scandalous goings-on in the station master's office. Beside them, the part he will come to play against the occupying Germans seems a simple affair, in Bohumil Hrabal's touching, absurd masterpiece of humour, humanity and heroism. Closely Watched Trains, which became the award-winning Jiri Menzel film of the 'Prague Spring', is a masterpiece that fully justifies Hrabal's reputation as one of the best Czech writers of the twentieth century.
'How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times' Washington Post Hannah Arendt's chilling analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes is a warning from history about the fragility of freedom, exploring how propaganda, scapegoats, terror and political isolation all aided the slide towards total domination. 'A non-fiction bookend to Nineteen Eighty-Four' The New York Times 'The political theorist who wrote about the Nazis and the 'banality of evil' has become a surprise bestseller' Guardian
'England is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family.' 'England Your England' is one of the most compelling and insightful portraits of the nation ever written. Shot through with Orwell's deeply felt sense of patriotism and love for his homeland, the essay is at the same time unfailingly clear-eyed about the nation's failings: entrenched social inequality, a dishonest press and a class system that only works for those at the top. Written during the Second World War, as the bombs were falling on England, the essay today speaks to the nation's current moment of crisis just as urgently as it did in Orwell's own time. It is a crucial read for anyone who wants to understand who we are, and where we've come from.
Haunting stories from the Soviet-Afghan War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature - A new translation of Zinky Boys based on the revised text - From 1979 to 1989 Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed thousands of casualties on both sides. While the Soviet Union talked about a 'peace-keeping' mission, the dead were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins. Boys in Zinc presents the honest testimonies of soldiers, doctors and nurses, mothers, wives and siblings who describe the lasting effects of war. Weaving together their stories, Svetlana Alexievich shows us the truth of the Soviet-Afghan conflict: the killing and the beauty of small everyday moments, the shame of returned veterans, the worries of all those left behind. When it was first published in the USSR in 1991, Boys in Zinc sparked huge controversy for its unflinching, harrowing insight into the realities of war.
'A work of rare brilliance' The Times Charmer, fabulist and tailor to Panama's rich and powerful, Harry Pendel loves to tell stories. But when the British spy Andrew Osnard - a man of large appetites, for women, information and above all money - walks into his shop, Harry's fantastical inventions take on a life of their own. Soon he finds himself out of his depth in an international game he can never hope to win. Le Carre's savage satire on the espionage trade is set in a corrupt universe without heroes or honour, where the innocent are collateral damage and treachery plays out as tragic farce. 'A tour de force in which almost every convention of the classic spy novel is violated' The New York Times Book Review
A remarkable collection of dark, funny and haunting short stories from the inimitable author of 'The Lottery'. An anxious devil, an elderly writer of poison pen letters and a mid-century Jack the Ripper; a pursuit though a nightmarish city, a small boy's thrilling train ride with a female thief, and a town where the possibility of evil lurks behind perfect rose bushes. This is the world of Shirley Jackson, by turns frightening, funny, strange and unforgettably revealed in this brilliant collection of short stories. 'Jackson at her best: plumbing the extraordinary from the depths of mid-twentieth-century common. [Just an Ordinary Day] is a gift to a new generation' - San Francisco Chronicle 'For Jackson devotees, as well as first-time readers, this is a feast ... A virtuoso collection' - Publishers Weekly
'The greatest history of an event I know' - C.L.R. James Regarded by many as among the most powerful works of history ever written, The History of the Russian Revolution offers an unparalleled account of one of the most pivotal and hotly debated events in world history. This book presents, from the perspective of one of its central actors, the profound liberating character of the early Russian Revolution. Originally published in three parts, Trotsky's masterpiece is collected here in a single volume. It is still the most vital and inspiring record of the Russian Revolution ever published.
'A wonderful, unsparing epic ... an intimate human story of loss and love' New Statesman, Books of the Year The epic novel of love, war and revolution from Mikhail Sholokhov, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature An extraordinary Russian masterpiece, And Quiet Flows the Don follows the turbulent fortunes of the Cossack people through peace, war and revolution - among them the proud and rebellious Gregor Melekhov, who struggles to be with the woman he loves as his country is torn apart. Borne of Mikhail Sholokhov's own early life in the lands of the Cossacks by the river Don, it is a searing portrait of a nation swept up in conflict, with all the tragic choices it brings.
Hayes's masterpiece is an exquisite depiction of a doomed love affair set in noirish, 1950s New York. In a Manhattan bar, a middle-aged man tells a pretty girl a story: of how he fell into a relationship with a lonely young divorcee; of how one night she was offered a thousand dollars to sleep with a stranger; and of how he and she would subsequently betray each other in turn. In Alfred Hayes's exquisite novella, love - in all its bewildering turns of longing, elation, heartbreak and regret - is dissected with unforgettable honesty and heartbreaking clarity.
A superb new translation by Michael Hofmann of some of Kafka's most frightening and visionary short fiction Strange beasts, night terrors, absurd bureaucrats and sinister places abound in this collection of stories by Franz Kafka. Some are less than a page long, others more substantial; all were unpublished in his lifetime. These matchless short works range from the gleeful miniature horror 'Little Fable' to the off-kilter humour of 'Investigations of a Dog', and from the elaborate waking nightmare of 'Building the Great Wall of China' to the creeping unease of 'The Burrow', where a nameless creature's labyrinthine hiding place turns into a trap of fear and paranoia.
'An eerily prescient foreshadowing of current affairs' Guardian 'Not only Lewis's most important book but one of the most important books ever produced in the United States' New Yorker A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fearmongering demagogue runs for President of the United States - and wins. Sinclair Lewis's chilling 1935 bestseller is the story of Buzz Windrip, 'Professional Common Man', who promises poor, angry voters that he will make America proud and prosperous once more, but takes the country down a far darker path. As the new regime slides into authoritarianism, newspaper editor Doremus Jessup can't believe it will last - but is he right? This cautionary tale of liberal complacency in the face of populist tyranny shows it really can happen here.
'[He] inspired a generation ... He changed the course of history' Barack Obama As Martin Luther King, Jr. prepared for the Birmingham campaign in early 1963, he drafted the final sermons for Strength to Love, a volume of his best-known lectures. King had begun working on the sermons during a fortnight in jail in July 1962 and A Gift of Love includes these classic sermons, along with two new lectures. Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the non-violent philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, A Gift of Love illustrates King's vision of love and peaceful action as social and political forces for change.
The first volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades 'On a February day in the year AD 638 the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem, riding upon a white camel' An enthralling work of grand historical narrative, Steven Runciman's A History of the Crusades overturned the traditional view of the Crusades as a romantic Christian adventure, and instead shifted the focus of the story to the East. With verve and drama, volume one of Runciman's trilogy tells the story of the First Crusade - from its unlikely beginnings in pilgrimage to the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem and the carving out of new territory on the edge of the eastern Mediterranean. 'Without question one of the major feats of contemporary historical writing' The New York Times 'The historian whose magisterial works transformed our understanding of Byzantium, the medieval church and the crusades' Guardian
The third volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades 'The whole tale is one of faith and folly, courage and greed, hope and disillusion' Steven Runciman's triumphant three-volume A History of the Crusades remains an unsurpassed account of the events that changed the world and continue to resonate today. This final volume of the trilogy begins with the glamorous Third Crusade and ends with the ruinous collapse of the crusader states and the degeneration of their ideals, which reached its nadir in the tragic destruction of Byzantium. 'When historical events are written about with this sort of command, they take on not only the universality of a fairy tale but also a certain moral weight. Runciman writes both seductively and instructively about the dignity and beauty of different religious beliefs and about the difficulties of their co-existence' Independent
A brilliant new translation of one of Simenon's best loved masterpieces. 'A certain furtive, almost shameful emotion ... disturbed him whenever he saw a train go by, a night train especially, its blinds drawn down on the mystery of its passengers' Kees Popinga is a respectable Dutch citizen and family man. Then he discovers that his boss has bankrupted the shipping firm he works for - and something snaps. Kees used to watch the trains go by to exciting destinations. Now, on some dark impulse, he boards one at random, and begins a new life of recklessness and violence. This chilling portrayal of a man who breaks from society and goes on the run asks who we are, and what we are capable of. 'Classic Simenon ... extraordinary in its evocative power' Independent 'What emerges is the bare human animal' John Gray 'Read him at your peril, avoid him at your loss' Sunday Times
Walter Mitty is an ordinary man living an ordinary life. But he has dreams - vivid, extraordinary day dreams - in which the life he leads is one of excitement and even adventure, in which he - a weary, put upon middle-aged man - is the hero of his own story. A man can dream, can't he? The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is just one of the brilliant humorous and witty stories written by James Thurber and collected here.
A brilliant new translation of Simenon's critically acclaimed masterpiece. 'And always the dirty snow, the heaps of snow that look rotten, with black patches and embedded garbage ... unable to cover the filth.' Nineteen-year-old Frank - thug, thief, son of a brothel owner - gets by surprisingly well despite living in a city under military occupation, but a warm house and a full stomach are not enough to make him feel truly alive in such a climate of deceit and betrayal. During a bleak, unending winter, he embarks on a string of violent and sordid crimes that set him on a path from which he can never return. Georges Simenon's matchless novel is a brutal, compelling portrayal of a world without pity; a devastating journey through a psychological no-man's land. 'Among the best novels of the twentieth century' New Yorker 'An astonishing work' John Banville 'So noir it makes Raymond Chandler look beige' Independent
A brilliant companion piece to Wide Sargasso Sea, this is Jean Rhys' beautifully written, bitter-sweet autobiography, covering her chequered early years in Dominica, England and Paris. Jean Rhys wrote this autobiography in her old age, now the celebrated author of Wide Sargasso Sea but still haunted by memories of her troubled past: her precarious jobs on chorus lines and relationships with unsuitable men, her enduring sense of isolation and her decision at last to become a writer. From the early days on Dominica to the bleak time in England, living in bedsits on gin and little else, to Paris with her first husband, this is a lasting memorial to a unique artist. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
'Magical' Daily Mail 'I finished it with an ache in my heart and a tear in my eye' Spectator From the author of Cider With Rosie, Village Christmas is a moving, lyrical portrait of England through the changing years and seasons. Laurie Lee left his childhood home in the Cotswolds when he was nineteen, but it remained with him throughout his life until, many years later, he returned for good. This collection brings to life the sights, sounds, landscapes and traditions of his home - from centuries-old May Day rituals to his own patch of garden, from carol singing in crunching snow to pub conversations and songs. Here too he writes about the mysteries of love, living in wartime Chelsea, Winston Churchill's wintry funeral and his battle, in old age, to save his beloved Slad Valley from developers. Told with a warm sense of humour and a powerful sense of history, Village Christmas brings us a picture of a vanished world. 'Brings to life the landscapes and traditions of Lee's home in Gloucestershire, from centuries-old May Day rituals and carol-singing on Christmas Eve, to his battle in old age to save his beloved Slad valley from developers' Guardian 'Simply written, observant and shot through with Lee's characteristic humility ... Against his whitewashed prose are touches of beauty' The Times Literary Supplement
'A virtuoso storyteller ... a Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age' The New York Times 'He was a robot-hypochondriac. On his squeaking cart he carried a complete set of spare parts.' A freighter pilot leads a manhunt across the Moon for a robot gone berserk; a shapeshifting assassin falls in love with the man she's programmed to kill; a paranoid King converts his kingdom into his artificial mind, but his dreams rebel. These stories range from surreal fables that satirically turn the fairy tale on its head, to longer works including the man vs. robot thriller, 'The Hunt', and possibly fiction's strangest love story, 'The Mask'. InMortal Engines Stanislaw Lem lays bare humanity's clash with machines, masterfully exploring science fiction's furthest frontiers.
A new translation of George Simenon's taut, devastating psychological novel set in American suburbia. The inspiration for the new play by award-winning playwright David Hare. 'I had begun, God knows why, tearing a corner off of everyday truth, begun seeing myself in another kind of mirror, and now the whole of the old, more or less comfortable truth was falling to pieces' Confident and successful, New York advertising executive Ray Sanders takes what he wants from life. When he goes missing in a snow storm in Connecticut one evening, his closest friend begins to reassess his loyalties, gambling Ray's fate and his own future. 'The romans durs are extraordinary: tough, bleak, offhandedly violent, suffused with guilt and bitterness, redolent of place . . . utterly unsentimental, frightening in the pitilessness of their gaze, yet wonderfully entertaining' John Banville 'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian 'A supreme writer . . . unforgettable vividness' Independen
Henry Earlforward, a shabby Clerkenwell bookseller, has retired from life to devote himself (and his wife Violet) to a consuming passion for money. Miserliness becomes a fatal illness and Bennett gives a terrifying description of its ravages. But the book's horrible situation is saved through the character of Elsie - whose life-affirming refusal to engage with the nightmarish world of the bookseller transforms the story. Bennett wished in Riceyman Steps to create an English novel as powerful as anything by Balzac, the writer he most admired, with the same sense of great human issues being played out within the confines of a household. The result is an unforgettable work which is also a gripping description of the harsh, battered London of the period just after the First World War.
'No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's' Exploring the primordial nightmares that lurk within humanity's dreams of progress and technology, H. G. Wells was a science fiction pioneer. This new omnibus edition brings together four of his hugely original and influential science-fiction novels - The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds - with his most unsettling and strange short stories. Containing monstrous experiments, terrifying journeys, alien occupiers and grotesque creatures, these visionary tales discomfit and disturb, and retain the power to trouble our sense of who we are. With an introduction by Matthew Beaumont
'The stories here will provoke, delight and impress. Joost Zwagerman's selection forms a fascinating guidebook to a landscape you'll surely want to wander in again.' Clare Lowden, TLS 'There is a lot of northern European melancholy in the collection, though often tinged with wry humour...an excellent book' Jonathan Gibbs, Minor Literatures 'We were kids - but good kids. If I may say so myself. We're much smarter now, so smart it's pathetic. Except for Bavink, who went crazy' A husband forms gruesome plans for his new fridge; a government employee has a haunting experience on his commute home; prisoners serve as entertainment for wealthy party guests; an army officer suffers a monstrous tropical illness. These short stories contain some of the most groundbreaking and innovative writing in Dutch literature from 1915 to the present day, with most pieces appearing here in English for the first time. Blending unforgettable snapshots of the realities of everyday life with surrealism, fantasy and subversion, this collection shows Dutch writing to be an integral part of world literary history. Joost Zwagerman (1963-2015) was a novelist, poet, essayist and editor of several anthologies. He started his career as a writer with bestselling novels, describing the atmosphere of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Gimmick!(1988) and False Light (1991). In later years, he concentrated on writing essays - notably on pop culture and visual arts - and poetry. Suicide was the theme of the novel Six Stars (2002). He took his own life just after having published a new collection of essays on art, The Museum of Light.
From the peerless author of The Lottery and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, this is a treasure trove of deliciously dark and funny stories, essays, lectures, letters and drawings. Let Me Tell You brings together the brilliantly eerie short stories Jackson is best known for with frank and inspiring lectures on writing; comic essays she wrote about her large, rowdy family; and revelatory personal letters and drawings. Jackson's landscape here is most frequently domestic - dinner parties, children's games and neighbourly gossip - but one that is continually threatened and subverted in her unsettling, inimitable prose. This collection is the first opportunity to see Shirley Jackson's radically different modes of writing side by side, revealing her to be a magnificent storyteller, a sharp, sly humorist and a powerful feminist. 'The stories range from sketches and anecdotes to complete and genuinely unsettling tales, somewhat alarming and very creepy ... The whole of the book offers insights into the vagaries of her mind, which was ruminant and generous ... For those of us whose imaginations, and creative ambitions, were ignited by 'The Lottery', Jackson remains one of the great practitioners of the literature of the darker impulses' - Paul Theroux, New York Times 'Shirley Jackson made a reputation with a short story in 1948. Like a lot of people I read 'The Lottery' when I was young, in an anthology of short stories from the New Yorker, and never forgot it. Let Me Tell You is a rich, enjoyable compendium of her unpublished short fiction and occasional writings, kicking off with a story of a dozen pages, 'Paranoia', which I won't forget, either' - Tom Stoppard, TLS Books of the Year
'Deeply moving, original, and dealing with material that I had never encountered in fiction, but only in life' Margaret Drabble Growing up in the world of the 'five towns' of industrial England, with their furnaces and chimneys, huddled red-brown streets, prayer meetings and small-minded bigotry, Anna is dominated by her miserly and tyrannical father. When she inherits a fortune and finds love, she struggles to break free from the constraints upon her, even though she is torn between duty and her deepest feelings. Arnold's novel of parental tyranny and rebellion is a portrayal of a woman of great spirit, complexity and integrity.
'This selection is a ceaseless delight ... there is a treat on almost every page' Daily Telegraph George Orwell wrote, in his words, from 'a desire to see things as they are'. This new collection of his journalism and other writings, including articles, essays, broadcasts, poems, book and film reviews from across his career, shows his unmatched genius for observing the world. Whether discussing Polish immigration or Scottish independence, railing against racism, defending the English language or holding an imaginary conversation with Jonathan Swift, these pieces reveal a clear-eyed, entertaining and eternally relevant chronicler of his age. Edited with an introduction by Peter Davison 'Orwell's luminous gift was for seeing things, for noticing what others missed, took for granted or simply found uninteresting, for discovering meaning and wonder in the familiarity of the everyday... Nothing escaped or seemed beneath his notice, which was what made him such a good reporter... Seeing Things As They Are is intended to be a collection first and foremost of his journalism, with preference given to lesser-known pieces and reviews as well as some of the poems he wrote. It is full of interest and curiosities' Jason Cowley, Financial Times 'Peter Davison gives us a feast of [Orwell's] shorter writings, showing how from such hesitant beginnings he evolved into the writer of enduring importance we know, committed to decency, equality and political honesty, who could nevertheless wax lyrical over the first signs of spring or an imaginary English pub' Gordon Bowker, Independent
'Words connect the visible track to the invisible thing ... like a fragile makeshift bridge cast across the void' With imagination and wit, Italo Calvino sought to define the virtues of the great literature of the past in order to shape the values of the future. His effervescent last works, left unfinished at his death, were the Charles Eliot Norton lectures, which he was due to deliver at Harvard in 1985-86. These surviving drafts explore the literary concepts closest to his heart: Lightness, Quickness, Multiplicity, Exactitude and Visibility (Constancy was to be the sixth), in serious yet playful essays that reveal his debt to the comic strip and the folktale. This collection, now in a fluent and supple new translation, is a brilliant precis of a great writer whose legacy will endure through the millennium he addressed. Translated by Geoffrey Brock 'The book I give most to people is Six Memos for the Next Millennium' Ali Smith 'Wonderful . . . full of wit and erudition' Daily Telegraph
'I was living in even greater circles of gangsterdom than I had dreamed, latitudes and longitudes of gangsterdom' It's 1930's New York and fifteen-year-old streetkid Billy, who can juggle, somersault and run like the wind, has been taken under the wing of notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. As Billy learns the ways of the mob, he becomes like a son to Schultz - his 'good-luck kid' - and is initiated into a world of glamour, death and danger that will consume him, in this vivid, soaring epic of crime and betrayal.
One of fiction's greatest chancers - the story of Denry Machin and his unceasing, ingenious efforts to become a great man. Set in the raw, Victorian world of the 'Five Towns', The Card tells the extremely funny and tangled story of Denry Machin's rise from mediocrity to fame through a series of ludicrous and yet perversely successful schemes. He dances, pleads, cheats and inspires his way through life in a series of set-pieces which wonderfully evoke a now long-gone world of civic balls, seaside excursions, newspaper boys and patent chocolate remedies. As everybody said after one of his most stylish coups, Denry 'was not simply a card; he was the card.'
Published after Ellison's death, this follow-up to Invisible Man is a thunderous epic of memory, faith, loss and identity. 'Words are your business, boy. Not just the Word. Words are everything' 'Tell me what happened while there's still time,' demands the dying Senator Adam Sunraider to the itinerate black baptist minister he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young orphan, Sunraider was taken in and raised by Hickman, before reinventing himself as a racist politician. Now, as the two men confront the truth about their shared past in a final reckoning, Ellison's masterly novel takes in memories of a southern childhood, the rhythms of jazz and gospel and the richness of the African-American experience. 'Majestic' Toni Morrison
'The smaller we come to feel ourselves compared with the mountain, the nearer we come to participating in its greatness.' Philosopher, mountaineer, activist and visionary, Arne Naess's belief that all living things have value made him one of the most inspirational figures in the environmental movement. Drawing on his years spent in an isolated hut high in the Norwegian mountains, and on influences as diverse as Gandhi's nonviolent action and Spinoza's all-encompassing worldview, this selection of the best of his writings is filled with wit, charisma and intense connection with nature. Emphasizing joy, cooperation and 'beautiful actions', they create a philosophy of life from a man who never lost his sense of wonder at the world. 'Arne Naess's ideas ... inspired environmentalists and Green political activists around the world' The New York Times
Raw, lyrical and blazing with intensity, these short stories are a potent distillation of the genius of Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man. 'He saw the dark bird glide into the sun and glow like a bird of flaming gold' Ranging from the Jim Crow South to a Harlem bingo parlour, from the hobo jungles of the Great Depression to Wales during the Second World War, they all display the musically layered voices, soaring language and sheer ebullience that made Ellison a giant of twentieth-century American writing. Written early in Ellison's career, several of these fourteen stories were unpublished in his lifetime, including 'A Storm of Blizzard Proportions' which features in this collection for the first time. 'Approach the simple elegance of Chekhov' Washington Post
'Breathtaking ... The stories are special. They stand in their own right as lovely vignettes of the lives of the lonely, broken and troubled' Andrew Johnson, Independent Written when Truman Capote was in his teens and twenties, these recently-discovered short stories give a rare insight into an American icon. Tales of disappointed lovers, ageing spinsters, hoboes and murderous housewives, of yearning, poverty, despair, compassion, wit and wonder, they show us the boy from Alabama who became one of the twentieth century's most celebrated literary voices. 'An intriguing glimpse of Capote as a boy: precocious, provocative, spirited and strange, a pocket Merlin spinning tall tales' Olivia Laing, New Statesman
'Folks, life is beautiful! Bring on the drinks, I'm sticking around till I'm ninety! Do you hear?' A young boy grows up in a sleepy Czech community where little changes. His raucous, mischievous Uncle Pepin came to stay with the family years ago, and never left. But the outside world is encroaching on their close-knit town - first in the shape of German occupiers, and then with the new Communist order. Elegiac and moving, Bohumil Hrabal's gem-like portrayal of the passing of an age is filled with wit, life and tenderness. 'What is unique about Hrabal is his capacity for joy' Milan Kundera 'Even in a town where nothing happens, Hrabal's meticulous and exuberant fascination with the human voice insists that, as long as there's still breath in a body, life is endlessly eventful' Independent
A 50th anniversary edition of the classic crime novel that inspired the Oscar-winning film starring Sidney Poitier. 'They call me Mr Tibbs!' A small southern town in the 1960s. A musician found dead on the highway. It's no surprise when white detectives arrest a black man for the murder. What is a surprise is that the black man - Virgil Tibbs - is himself a skilled homicide detective from California, whom inexperienced Chief Gillespie reluctantly recruits to help with the case. Faced with mounting local hostility and a police force that seems determined to see him fail, it isn't long before Tibbs - trained in karate and aikido - will have to fight not just for justice, but also for his own safety. The inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film starring Sidney Poitier, this iconic crime novel is a psychologically astute examination of racial prejudice, an atmospheric depiction of the American South in the sixties, and a brilliant, suspense-filled read set in the sultry heat of the night.
'There they stood, bumbling into lines with a bit of difficulty: Mother Finland's chosen sacrifice to world history' Unknown Soldiers follows the fates of a ramshackle troupe of machine-gunners in the Second World War, as they argue, joke, swear, cadge a loaf of bread or a cigarette, combat both boredom and horror in the swamps and pine forests - and discover that war will make or break them. One of Finland's best-loved books, this gritty and unromantic depiction of battle honours the dogged determination of a country and the bonds of brotherhood forged between men at war, as they fight for their lives. 'A rediscovered classic... profound and enriching ... Unknown Soldiers still has the power to shock' Herald
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 'Absolutely essential and heartbreaking reading. There's a reason Ms. Alexievich won a Nobel Prize' - Craig Mazin, creator of the HBO / Sky TV series Chernobyl - A new translation of Voices from Chernobyl based on the revised text - In April 1986 a series of explosions shook the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Flames lit up the sky and radiation escaped to contaminate the land and poison the people for years to come. While officials tried to hush up the accident, Svetlana Alexievich spent years collecting testimonies from survivors - clean-up workers, residents, firefighters, resettlers, widows, orphans - crafting their voices into a haunting oral history of fear, anger and uncertainty, but also dark humour and love. A chronicle of the past and a warning for our nuclear future, Chernobyl Prayer shows what it is like to bear witness, and remember in a world that wants you to forget. 'Beautifully written. . . heart-breaking' - Arundhati Roy, Elle 'One of the most humane and terrifying books I've ever read' - Helen Simpson, Observer
'One of the greatest football novels ever written and a comic masterpiece' DJ Taylor' DJ Taylor 'But is this story believable? Ah, it all depends upon whether you want it to believe it.' J.L. Carr In their new all-buttercup-yellow-stripe, Steeple Sinderby Wanderers, who usually feel lucky when their pitch is above water-level, are England's most obscure team. This uncategorizable, surreal and extremely funny novel is the story of how they start the season by ravaging the Fenland League and end it by going all the way to Wembley. Told through unreliable recollection, florid local newspaper coverage and bizarre committee minutes, How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup is both entertaining and moving. There will never be players again like Alex Slingsby, Sid 'the Shooting Star' Swift and the immortal milkman-turned-goalkeeper, Monkey Tonks.
A new translation of Giorgio Bassani's award winning collection of novellas, which inspired his masterpiece The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. A young working class woman abandoned by her bourgeois lover; the tensions of intermarriage between established classes and communities; a holocaust survivor seemingly back from the dead; a formidable socialist activist defying house arrest; the only surviving witness to the first local atrocity of the Second World War. In these five unforgettable stories, Bassani gave life to the characters that would inform the Romanzo di Ferrara, his suite of novels depicting life in the city. Moving, poetic, atmospheric and artfully observed, this collection is a distillation of Bassani's genius. It won the Strega Prize on first publication as Cinque Storie Ferraresi in 1956, and established Bassani as one of the greatest Italian writers of the twentieth century. 'Giorgio Bassani is one of the great witnesses of this century, and one of its great artists' Guardian 'The most uncompromising, merciful and merciless writer' Ali Smith
In these short, capricious and irreverent portraits of twenty-six great writers, from Joyce to Nabokov, Sterne to Wilde, Javier Marias, winner of the Dublin IMPAC prize and author of the bestselling A Heart So White, throws unexpected, and very human, light on authors too often enshrined in the halo of artistic sainthood. Revealing that Conrad actually hated sailing and Emily Bronte was so tough she was known as 'The Major', among many other stories of eccentricity, drunkenness and even murder, this joyful book uses unusual angles and peculiar details to illuminate writers' lives in a new way. Javier Marias was born in Madrid in 1951. He has published ten novels, two collections of short stories and several volumes of essays. His work has been translated into thirty-two languages and won a dazzling array of international literary awards, including the prestigious Dublin IMPAC award for A Heart So White. He is also a highly practised translator into Spanish of English authors, including Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Thomas Browne and Laurence Sterne. He has held academic posts in Spain, the United States and in Britain, as Lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University.
Rainy night on Union Square, full moon. Want more poems? Wait till I'm dead. Allen Ginsberg, August 8, 1990, 3:30 A.M. Allen Ginsberg wrote incessantly for more than fifty years, and many of the poems collected for the first time in this volume were scribbled in letters or sent off to obscure publications and unjustly forgotten. Containing more than a hundred previously unpublished poems, accompanied by original photographs, and spanning from the 1940s to the 1990s, Wait Till I'm Dead is the final major contribution to Ginsberg's sprawling oeuvre, a must have for Ginsberg neophytes and long-time fans alike.
'Nothing I have read is more affecting than Mihail Sebastian's magnificent, haunting 1934 novel, For Two Thousand Years' - Philippe Sands, Guardian Books of the Year A prescient interwar masterpiece, available in English for the first time 'Absolutely, definitively alone', a young Jewish student in Romania tries to make sense of a world that has decided he doesn't belong. Spending his days walking the streets and his nights drinking and gambling, meeting revolutionaries, zealots, lovers and libertines, he adjusts his eyes to the darkness that falls over Europe, and threatens to destroy him. Mihail Sebastian's 1934 novel was written amid the anti-Semitism which would, by the end of the decade, force him out of his career and turn his friends and colleagues against him. For Two Thousand Years is a lucid, heart-wrenching chronicle of resilience and despair, broken layers of memory and the terrible forces of history.
GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014 No marriage of a major twentieth-century writer lasted longer than Vladimir Nabokov's. Vera Slonim shared his delight at the enchantment of life's trifles and literature's treasures, and he rated her as having the best and quickest sense of humour of any woman he had met. From their meeting in 1921, Vladimir's letters to his beloved Vera form a narrative arc that tells a forty-six year-long love story, and they are memorable in their entirety. Almost always playful, romantic, and pithy, the letters tell us much about the man and the writer; we see that Vladimir observed everything, from animals, faces, speech, and landscapes with genuine fascination.
'For personal reasons, or for reasons I don't know myself, I began feeling old, and I began keeping notebooks. I was nearing the age of sixty' Georges Simenon's autobiographical notebooks, in which he recorded his observations, experiences, anxieties and 'all the silly ideas that pass through my head', are one of the most candid self-portraits of a writer ever put to paper. Here, as the celebrated author ruthlessly examines his tortuous writing methods, his past, his fame, his intimate relationships and his fears of ageing, the result is an unsparing, often painfully revealing insight into a man trying both to find and to escape himself. 'As revealed in these notebooks, Simenon's is a shrewd, lucid mind ... the balance tips toward the real, the immediate, the mysteries of human complexity above all ... Utterly unpretentious' The New York Times
The second novel by the great American novelist, now the subject of a major new film, Genius, starring Jude Law, Colin Firth, Dominic West and Nicole Kidman. It is 1920 and Eugene Gant leaves the American South for Harvard, New York and Europe, determined to make his way as a writer. On the boat home, he meets Esther Jack, the woman who is to dominate his life. Autobiographical, vital and passionate, Wolfe's second novel blazes with energy and life. Wolfe's first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, is also now available in Penguin Classics. Together, the two novels tell the story of Eugene Gant, Wolfe's fictional alter-ego, as he grows up in a dysfunctional family in the American South and discovers his true vocation as a writer. This new edition includes an introduction by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian.
'New York is an aquarium ... where there are nothing but hellbenders and lungfish and slimy, snag-toothed groupers and sharks' In 1935 Henry Miller set off from his adopted home, Paris, to revisit his native land, America. Aller Retour New York, his exuberant, humorous missive to his friend Alfred Perles describing the trip and his return journey on a Dutch steamer, is filled with vivid reflections on his hellraising antics, showing Miller at the height of his powers. This edition also includes Via Dieppe-Newhaven, his entertaining account of a failed attempt to visit England. 'The greatest American writer' Bob Dylan
'Here, even if I had a thousand dollar in my pocket, I know of no sight which could arouse in me the feeling of ecstasy' Looking back to Henry Miller's bohemian life in 1930s Paris, when he was an obscure, penniless writer, Quiet Days in Clichy is a love letter to a city. As he describes nocturnal wanderings through shabby Montmartre streets, cafes and bars, sexual liaisons and volatile love affairs, Miller brilliantly evokes a period that would shape his entire life and oeuvre. 'His writing is flamboyant, torrential, chaotic, treacherous, and dangerous' Anais Nin
The first novel by the great American novelist, now the subject of a major new film, Genius, starring Jude Law, Colin Firth, Dominic West and Nicole Kidman. Eugene Gant, born in 1900 to hard-drinking stone-cutter Oliver and entrepreneurial Eliza, grows up in small-town America. Both lonely outsider and passionate chronicler of American life, Eugene experiences upheaval and family tragedy before coming to realise that he must leave his home behind if he is to forge his own path in the world. This is the dazzlingly rich first novel from one of the most brilliant and mercurial voices of early twentieth-century, who was a major influence on writers including Hunter S. Thompson, Ray Bradbury, Philip Roth and the Beats. This new edition includes an introduction by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian. Wolfe's second novel, Of Time and the River, continuing the story of Eugene Gant, is also now available in Penguin Classics.
'Out of the sea, as if Homer himself had arranged it for me, the islands bobbed up, lonely, deserted, mysterious in the fading light' Enraptured by a young woman's account of the landscapes of Greece, Henry Miller set off to explore the Grecian countryside with his friend Lawrence Durrell in 1939. In The Colossus of Maroussi he describes drinking from sacred springs, nearly being trampled to death by sheep and encountering the flamboyant Greek poet Katsumbalis, who 'could galvanize the dead with his talk'. This lyrical classic of travel writing represented an epiphany in Miller's life, and is the book he would later cite as his favourite. 'One of the five greatest travel books of all time' Pico Iyer
Le Carre's post-Cold War masterpiece, filled with suspense, betrayal, desire and drama The Cold War is over and retired secret servant Tim Cranmer has been put out to pasture, spending his days making wine on his Somerset estate. But then he discovers that his former double agent Larry - dreamer, dissolute, philanderer and disloyal friend - has vanished, along with Tim's mistress. As their trail takes him to the lawless wilds of Russia and the North Caucasus, he is forced to question everything he stood for. Set in a fragmented, uncertain post-Soviet world, le Carre's brutal story of falsehoods and betrayal shows men playing dangerous games beyond their control.
NEW STATESMAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015 'Sublime ... it inspires a kind of evangelical cult passion among its devotees' Simon Schama 'Roth is Austria's Chekhov' William Boyd Strauss's Radetzky March, signature tune of one of Europe's most powerful regimes, presides over Joseph Roth's account of three generations of the Trotta family in the years preceding the Austro-Hungarian collapse in 1918. Grandfather, son and grandson are equally dependent on the empire: the first for his enoblement; the second for the civil virtues that make him a meticulous servant of an administration whose failure he can neither comprehend nor survive; the third for the family standards of conduct which he cannot attain but against which he is too enfeebled to rebel.
'How often, honestly, does the unveiling in translation of a 'forgotten genius' live up to the hype? Well here's one that does: Raduan Nassar' Times Literary Supplement 'I felt the powerful strength of my family overrunning me like a heavy rush of water' For Andre, a young man growing up on a farm in Brazil, life consists of 'the earth, the wheat, the bread, our table and our family'. He loves the land, fears his austere, pious father who preaches from the head of the table as if it is a pulpit, and loathes himself, as he starts to harbour shameful feelings for his sister Ana. Lyrical and sensual, told with biblical intensity, this classic Brazilian coming-of-age novel follows Andre's psychological and sexual awakening, as he must choose between body and soul, duty and freedom.
The second volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades 'There was magic about. Saladin himself was troubled by terrible dreams...' Steven Runciman's unrivalled history of the Crusades is a classic of learning and vivid, compelling storytelling, which brilliantly brings to life the personalities, battles, massacres, triumphs and follies of these epochal events. In this second volume of his trilogy Runciman tells the story of the foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the disastrous, bloody Second Crusade and the inexorable rise of the crusaders' nemesis, Saladin. 'The pre-eminent historian of the Byzantine Empire and of the Crusades ... a surefooted guide who could render the past visible and familiar' Daily Telegraph 'He tells his story plain ... always pleasurable to read' Gore Vidal
A Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age - The New York Times Stanislaw Lem's set of short stories, written over a period of twenty years, all feature the adventures of space traveller Ijon Tichy and recount him spinning in time-warps, spying on robots, encountering bizarre civilizations and creatures in space and being hopelessly lost in a forest of supernovae. This is a philosophical satire on technology, theology, intelligence and human nature from one of the greatest of science fiction writers
An official tie-in edition of Philip K. Dick's dazzling speculative novel to accompany the new TV series, executive produced by Ridley Scott. Philip K. Dick's acclaimed cult novel gives us a horrifying glimpse of an alternative world - one where the Allies have lost the Second World War. In this nightmare dystopia the Nazis have taken over New York, the Japanese control California and the African continent is virtually wiped out. In a neutral buffer zone in America that divides the world's new rival superpowers, lives the author of an underground bestseller. His book offers a new vision of reality - an alternative theory of world history in which the Axis powers were defeated - giving hope to the disenchanted. Does 'reality' lie with him, or is his world just one among many others? 'The most brilliant science fiction mind on any planet' Rolling Stone 'Dick's finest book, and one of the very best science fiction novels ever published' Eric Brown
The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was perhaps the most ambitious, elaborate and confident of all the British attempts to master the South Pole. Like the others it ended in disaster, with the Endeavour first trapped and then crushed to pieces in the ice and its crew trapped in the Antarctic, seemingly doomed to a slow and horrible death. In the face of extraordinary odds, Shackleton, the expedition's leader, decided on the only course that might just save them: a 700 nautical mile voyage in a small boat across the ferocious Southern Ocean in the forelorn hope of reaching the only human habitation within range: a small whaling station on the rugged, ice-sheeted island of South Georgia. South tells the story both of the whole astonishing expedition and of Shackleton's journey to rescue his men - one of the greatest feats of navigation ever recorded.
TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR and OBSERVER BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014 Limonov is not a fictional character, but he could have been. He's lived a hundred lives. He was a hoodlum in Ukraine, an idol of the Soviet underground, punk-poet and valet to a billionaire in Manhattan, fashion writer in Paris, lost soldier in the Balkans, and now, in the chaos after the fall of communism a charismatic party leader of a gang of political desperados. Limonov sees himself as a hero, but he is also a bastard. Carrere suspends judgment. Carrere decided to write about Limonov because he thought that his life, romantic and reckless, tells us something, not just about Limonov or Russia, but the story of all of us after the end of World War II.
The Castle is the story of K., the unwanted Land Surveyor who is never to be admitted to the Castle nor accepted in the village, and yet cannot go home. As he encounters dualities of certainty and doubt, hope and fear, and reason and nonsense, K.'s struggles in the absurd, labyrinthine world where he finds himself seem to reveal an inexplicable truth about the nature of existence. Kafka began The Castle in 1922 and it was never finished, yet this, the last of his three great novels, draws fascinating conclusions that make it feel strangely complete.
'The most exciting book I have ever read ... a feverish, fascinating novel' Antony Beevor, Sunday Telegraph 'I can't take any more of your revolting merciful kindness!' Who would have thought that the great military hero Captain Hofmiller - that living monument to his own courage - would have anything burdening his soul? But when he reveals his story, it is not one of bravery but tragedy: a simple blunder at a dance from which disaster grows, ruining lives with his weak, foolish pity... Impatience of the Heart is Stefan Zweig's greatest novel, fiercely capturing human emotions in all their subtleties and extremes - while Hofmiller, his unforgettable, naive creation, misunderstands everything, resulting in his downfall. A new translation by Jonathan Katz
Arthur Miller's penultimate play, Resurrection Blues, is a darkly comic satirical allegory that poses the question: What would happen if Christ were to appear in the world today? In an unidentified Latin American country, General Felix Barriaux has captured an elusive revolutionary leader. The rebel, known by various names, is rumoured to have performed miracles throughout the countryside. The General plans to crucify the mysterious man, and the exclusive television rights to the twenty-four-hour reality-TV event have been sold to an American network. An allegory that asserts the interconnectedness of our actions and each person's culpability in world events, Resurrection Blues is a comedic and tragic satire of precarious morals in our media-saturated age.
A car wreck on the slopes of Mount Morgan puts insurance tycoon Lyman Felt in the hospital. While Lyman recovers, two women meet in the hospital waiting room only to discover that they are both married to him. With his secrets exposed, Lyman tries to justify himself to the two women - the prim, cultured Theo and the restless, ambitious Leah - at the same time hoping to convince himself that he is blameless. Moving between broad farce and delicate tragedy, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan explores the struggle between honesty with others and honesty with oneself.
'The strong must learn to be lonely' When Dr Stockmann discovers that the water in the small Norwegian town in which he is the resident physician has been contaminated, he does what any responsible citizen would do: reports it to the authorities. But Stockmann's good deed has the potential to ruin the town's reputation as a popular spa destination, and instead of being hailed as a hero, Stockmann is labelled an enemy of the people. Arthur Miller's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic drama is a classic in itself, a penetrating exploration of what happens when the truth comes up against the will of the majority.
When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.
'Perhaps that moment had been exceptional, but still, I felt alive. That pressure on my chest means being alive.' Forty-nine, with a kind face, no serious ailments (apart from varicose veins on his ankles), a good salary and three moody children, widowed accountant Martin Santome is about to retire. He assumes he'll take up gardening, or the guitar, or whatever retired people do. What he least expects is to fall passionately in love with his shy young employee Laura Avellaneda. As they embark upon an affair, happy and irresponsible, Martin begins to feel the weight of his quiet existence lift - until, out of nowhere, their joy is cut short. The intimate, heartbreaking diary of an ordinary man who is reborn when he falls in love one final time, this beloved Latin American novel has been translated into twenty languages and sold millions of copies worldwide, and is now published in Penguin Classics for the first time.
The publication of Clarice Lispector's Collected Stories, eighty-five in all, is a major literary event. Now, for the first time in English, are all the stories that made her a Brazilian legend: from teenagers coming into awareness of their sexual and artistic powers to humdrum housewives whose lives are shattered by unexpected epiphanies to old people who don't know what to do with themselves. Lispector's stories take us through their lives - and ours. From one of the greatest modern writers, these 85 stories, gathered from the nine collections published during her lifetime, follow Clarice Lispector throughout her life.
'Hot damn! Let us rumble, keep going and don't slow down . . . let's have a little fun . . .' In his much-anticipated memoir, Hunter S. Thompson looks back on a long and productive life. It is a story of crazed road trips fuelled by bourbon and black acid, of insane judges and giant porcupines, of girls, guns, explosives and, of course, bikes. He also takes on his dissolute youth in Louisville; his adventures in pornography; campaigning for local office in Aspen; and what it's like to accidentally be accused of trying to kill Jack Nicholson.
Nexus is the third volume of the scandalous trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion, Henry Miller's major life work The exhilarating final volume of Henry Miller's semi-autobiographical trilogy, Nexus follows his last months in New York. Trapped in a bizarre menage-a-trois with his fiery wife Mona and her lover Stasia, he finds his life descending into chaos. Finally, betrayed and exhausted, he decides to leave America and sail for Paris, to discover his true vocation as a writer.
Plexus is the second volume of the scandalous trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion, Henry Miller's major life work Exploring one man's desperate desire for freedom, Plexus is the central volume of Henry Miller's scandalous semi-autobiographical trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion. It finds him in the midst of his stormy marriage to the volatile, duplicitous Mona, and joyfully quitting his dreary job for a hand-to-mouth existence in Brooklyn, as he takes his first steps towards becoming a writer.
'They are memorials to times and countries whose best is probably past and gone . . . I was lucky to have known them when I did, before darkness began to fall from the air.' When Laurie Lee first left his country village aged nineteen, he discovered a delight in the outside world that remained undiminished throughout his writing life. This enchanting collection of his 'first loves and obsessions' brings together pieces including recollections of his Gloucestershire childhood celebrated in Cider With Rosie; reflections on life, love and death, such as a moving report from the tragic Welsh village of Aberfan; and evocative travel writings on Tuscany, Mexico and the West Indies, amongst others, before they were transformed by mass tourism. Together they capture a world that is lost forever. 'One of Britain's finest writers' Daily Mail 'There's a formidable, instant charm in the writing that genuinely makes it difficult to put the book down' New Statesman
Sexus is the first volume of the scandalous trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion, Henry Miller's major life work Henry Miller called the end of his life in America and the start of a new, bohemian existence in 1930s Paris his 'rosy crucifixion'. His searing fictionalized autobiography of this time of liberation was banned for nearly twenty years. Sexus, the first volume in The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy, looks back to his early sexual escapades in Brooklyn, and his growing infatuation with the playful, teasing dance hall hostess who will become the great obsession of his life.
Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 'A savagely short novel of immeasurable ambition and violent beauty. This is the language of genius.' Juan Pablos Villalobos 'How often, honestly, does the unveiling in translation of a 'forgotten genius' live up to the hype? Well here's one that does: Raduan Nassar' Times Literary Supplement 'Yes, bastard, you're the one I love' A pair of lovers - a young female journalist and an older man who owns an isolated farm in the Brazilian outback - spend the night together. The next day they proceed to destroy each other. Amid vitriolic insults, cruelty and warring egos, their sexual adventure turns into a savage power game. This intense, erotic cult novel by one of Brazil's most infamous modernist writers explores alienation, the desire to dominate and the wish to be dominated. A new translation by Stefan Tobler
Brazil's foremost twentieth-century poet, in Penguin Classics for the first time In 1962 de Andrade published Antologia Poetica, a personal anthology of poems from his first ten books. This selection draws on de Andrade's anthology to encompass his finest works within his chosen areas of interest: The Individual, Minas Gerais, Family, Friends, Social Confrontation, Experience of Love, Poetry Itself, and An Attempt to Understand Existence Feted as the most important - and premiere modernist - Brazilian poet of the twentieth century, Carlos Drummond de Andrade appears in Penguin Classics for the first time. His fans and translators have included Mark Strand, Lloyd Schwartz and Elizabeth Bishop. The work of Drummond reaches ... a coefficient of loneliness that detached from the soil of history, leading the reader to an attitude free of references, trademarks or ideological or prospective - Alfredo Bosi, author and historian Carlos Drummond de Andrade was born in a Brazilian mining village in 1902. He worked in government for most of his life. He has received widespread recognition for his modernist style of poetry which broke from more traditional rules of verse and meter. He has been embraced as a national poet with a statue placed on the sea front in Rio and his poem 'Friendly Song' printed on Brazilian currency. He died in 1987.
Karl Rossman has been banished by his parents to America, following a family scandal. There, with unquenchable optimism, he throws himself into the strange experiences that lie before him as he slowly makes his way into the interior of the great continent. Kafka's first novel (begun in 1911 and never finished) is infused with a quite un-Kafkaesque blitheness and sunniness, brought to life in this lyrical translation that returns to the original manuscript of the book.
'Peter, Peter, Pumpkin eater Had a wife and couldn't keep her...' In this extraordinary, semi-autobiographical novel, Penelope Mortimer depicts a married woman's breakdown in 1960s London. With three husbands in her past, one in her present and a numberless army of children, Mrs Armitage is astonished to find herself collapsing one day in Harrods. Strange, unsettling and shot through with black comedy, this is a moving account of one woman's realisation that marriage and family life may not, after all, offer all the answers to the problems of living.
A terrifying psychological trip into the life of one Joseph K., an ordinary man who wakes up one day to find himself accused of a crime he did not commit, a crime whose nature is never revealed to him. Once arrested, he is released, but must report to court on a regular basis - an event that proves maddening, as nothing is ever resolved. As he grows more uncertain of his fate, his personal life - including work at a bank and his relations with his landlady and a young woman who lives next door - becomes increasingly unpredictable. As K. tries to gain control, he succeeds only in accelerating his own excruciating downward spiral.
'There are few situations in life which are more difficult to cope with than an adolescent son or daughter during the attempt to liberate themselves' Anna Freud was one of the most creative and innovative thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis, whose pioneering work in child analysis and development revolutionized the treatment of the young. This essential anthology of her writings includes extracts from her classic The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence, as well as papers on normal and pathological child development, on adolescence, trauma, aggression and analytical technique. Together they offer a definitive overview of her entire career, displaying the richness, variety and originality of her thinking. 'An achievement of the first importance ... underlines the clarity and cogency of Anna Freud's thinking, [and] makes it accessible to a wide audience' Clifford Yorke, former Medical Director, the Anna Freud Centre, London
Every Thursday morning in a living room in Iran, over tea and pastries, eight women meet in secret to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. As they lose themselves in the worlds of Lolita, The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice, gradually they come to share their own stories, dreams and hopes with each other, and, for a few hours, taste freedom. Azar Nafisi's bestselling memoir is a moving, passionate testament to the transformative power of books, the magic of words and the search for beauty in life's darkest moments.
Shocking, banned and the subject of obscenity trials, Henry Miller's first novel Tropic of Cancer is one of the most scandalous and influential books of the twentieth century -- new to Penguin Modern Classics with a cover by Tracey Emin Tropic of Cancer redefined the novel. Set in Paris in the 1930s, it features a starving American writer who lives a bohemian life among prostitutes, pimps, and artists. Banned in the US and the UK for more than thirty years because it was considered pornographic, Tropic of Cancer continued to be distributed in France and smuggled into other countries. When it was first published in the US in 1961, it led to more than 60 obscenity trials until a historic ruling by the Supreme Court defined it as a work of literature. Long hailed as a truly liberating book, daring and uncompromising, Tropic of Cancer is a cornerstone of modern literature that asks us to reconsider everything we know about art, freedom, and morality. 'At last an unprintable book that is fit to read' Ezra Pound 'A momentous event in the history of modern writing' Samuel Beckett 'The book that forever changed the way American literature would be written' Erica Jong
In The World of Sex, Henry Miller, one of the most scandalous writers of the 20th century explains his literary project Henry Miller's bold, explicit novels scandalized readers and remade the literature of his day. In this uncompromising literary manifesto he argues that sex is at the heart of his writing because it is at the heart of life - a vital force as essential as bread, money, work or play. Drawing on his own experiences and on the writing of his famously banned novels in Paris, he shows sex as a mysterious realm that must be explored if we are to be truly free.
A cult modern classic, Tropic of Capricorn is as daring, frank and influential as Henry Miller first novel, Tropic of Cancer -- new to Penguin Modern Classics with a cover by Tracey Emin A story of sexual and spiritual awakening, Tropic of Capricorn shocked readers when it was published in 1939. A mixture of fiction and autobiography, it is the story of Henry V. Miller who works for the Cosmodemonic telegraph company in New York in the 1920s and tries to write the most important work of literature that was ever published. Tropic of Capricorn paints a dazzling picture of the life of the writer and of New York City between the wars: the skyscrapers and the sewers, the lust and the dejection, the smells and the sounds of a city that is perpetually in motion, threatening to swallow everyone and everything. 'Literature begins and ends with the meaning of what Miller has done' Lawrence Durrell 'The only imaginative prose-writer of the slightest value who has appeared among the English-speaking races for some years past' George Orwell 'The greatest American writer' Bob Dylan Henry Miller (1891-1980) is one of the most important American writers of the 20th century. His best-known novels include Tropic of Cancer (1934), Tropic of Capricorn (1939), and the Rosy Crucifixion trilogy (Sexus, 1949, Plexus, 1953, and Nexus, 1959), all published in France and banned in the US and the UK until 1964. He is widely recognised as an irreverent, risk-taking writer who redefined the novel and made the link between the European avant-garde and the American Beat generation.
With its astounding hardcover reviews Richard Zenith's new complete translation of THE BOOK OF DISQUIET has now taken on a similar iconic status to ULYSSES, THE TRIAL or IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME as one of the greatest but also strangest modernist texts. An assembly of sometimes linked fragments, it is a mesmerising, haunting 'novel' without parallel in any other culture.
An entrancing, otherworldly collection of short stories from one of Europe's most accomplished 20th century writers, new to Penguin Modern Classics A counter-prophet attempts the impossible to prove his power; a girl sees the hideous fate of her sisters and father in a mirror bought from a gypsy; the death of a prostitute causes an unanticipated uprising; and the lives of every ordinary person since 1789 are recreated in the almighty Encyclopedia of the Dead. These stories about love and death, truth and lies, myth and reality range across many epochs and settings. Brilliantly combining fact and fiction, epic and miniature, horror and comedy, this was Danilo Kis final work, published in Serbo-Croatian in 1983. Kis is one of the great European writers of the post-war period - Guardian Compulsively readable - Daily Telegraph Fantasy chases reality and reality chases fantasy. Pirandello and Borges are not far away. But these names are intended as approximate references. Kis is a new, original writer - Times Literary Supplement Intense and exotic, his mysteries hint at unspeakable secrets that remain forever beyond the story-teller's grasp - Boyd Tonkin Danilo Kis was born in the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1935. After an unsettled childhood during the Second World War, in which several of his family members were killed, Kis studied literature at the University of Belgrade where he lived for most of his adult life. He wrote novels, short stories and poetry and went on to receive the prestigious NIN Award for his novel Pescanik. He died in Paris in 1989. Mark Thompson is a British historian. His published work includes Birth Certificate: The Story of Danilo Kis.
Visionary poet Allen Ginsberg was one of the most influential cultural and literary figures of the 20th century, his face and political causes familiar to millions who had never even read his poetry. And yet he is a figure that remains little understood, especially how a troubled young man became one of the intellectual and artistic giants of the postwar era. He never published an autobiography or memoirs, believing that his body of work should suffice. The Essential Ginsberg attempts a more intimate and rounded portrait of this iconic poet by bringing together for the first time his most memorable poetry but also journals, music, photographs and letters, much of it never before published.
The Haunted Life is the coming-of-age story of Peter Martin, a college track star determined to idle away what he knows will be one of his last innocent summers in his tranquil New England home town. But with the war escalating in Europe and his two closest friends both plotting their escapes, he realizes how sheltered his upbringing has been. As he surveys the competing influences of his youth, he struggles to determine what might lead to an intellectually authentic life. The Haunted Life is ultimately a meditation on intellectual truth, male friendship and the desire for movement - all themes that would dominate Kerouac's later work.
A lost classic lays bare the darkest moment of France's post-war history First published in Paris in 1957, as France's engagement in Algeria became ever more bloody, On Leave received a handful of reviews and soon disappeared from view. Through David Bellos's translation, this lost classic has been rediscovered. Spare, forceful and moving, the novel describes a week in the lives of a sergeant, a corporal and a private, home on leave in Paris. Full of sympathy and feeling, informed by the many hours Daniel Anselme spent talking to conscripts in Paris, On Leave is a timeless evocation of what the history books can never record: the shame and terror felt by men returning home from war. Daniel Anselme was born Daniel Rabinovitch in 1927, and adopted the name Anselme while in the French Resistance with his father. He traveled widely as a journalist, and was known as a raconteur and habitue of Left Bank cafes. He published his first novel On Leave in 1957, a second, Relations, in 1964, and a semiautobiographical account of his wartime experiences calledThe Secret Companion in 1984. He was also one of the leaders of Solidarity Radio in Paris. He died in 1989. David Bellos is Director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University, where he is also Professor of French and Comparative Literature. He has won many awards for his translations of Georges Perec, Ismail Kadare and others, including the Man Booker Translator Award, and received the Prix Goncourt de la biographie for his book on Perec.
New to Penguin Modern Classics, the seminal work of gay literature that sparked an infamous legal trial for obscenity and went on to become a bestseller. The Well of Loneliness tells the story of tomboyish Stephen, who hunts, wears trousers and cuts her hair short - and who gradually comes to realise that she is attracted to women. Charting her romantic and professional adventures during the First World War and beyond, the novel provoked a furore on first publication in 1928 for its lesbian heroine and led to a notorious legal trial for obscenity. Hall herself, however, saw the book as a pioneer work and today it is recognised as a landmark work of gay fiction. This Penguin edition includes a new introduction by Maureen Duffy. 'The archetypal lesbian novel' - Times Literary Supplement 'One of the first and most influential contributions of gay and lesbian literature' - New Statesman Radclyffe Hall was born in 1880. After an unhappy childhood, she inherited her father's estate and from then on was free to travel and live as she chose. She fell in love and lived with an older woman before settling down with Una Troubridge, a married sculptor. Hall wrote many books but is best known for The Well of Loneliness, first published in 1928. She died in 1943 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery in London. Maureen Duffy was born in 1933 and educated at Kings College London. She became a full-time writer in the 1960s, and has since written numerous screenplays, poetry and novels. A lifelong campaigner for gay rights and animal rights, Duffy is also president of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.
This surreal fable, set in America's Old West, features a cast of notorious characters: The Crying Gun, who breaks into tears at the sight of his opponent; The Priest, who goes into gunfights giving his adversaries the last rites; and The Nihilistic Kid himself, Kim Carson, a homosexual gunslinger who, with a succession of beautiful sidekicks, sets out to challenge the morality of small-town America and fight for intergalactic freedom. Fantastical and humorous, The Place of Dead Roads continues William Burroughs' exploration of society's controlling forces - the State, the Church, women, literature, drugs - with a style that is utterly unique in twentieth-century literature.
Nightmarish and fiercely funny, William Burroughs' virtuoso, taboo-breaking masterpiece Naked Lunch follows Bill Lee through Interzone: a surreal, orgiastic wasteland of drugs, depravity, political plots, paranoia, sadistic medical experiments and endless, gnawing addiction. One of the most shocking novels ever written, Naked Lunch is a cultural landmark, now in a restored edition incorporating Burroughs' notes on the text, alternate drafts and outtakes from the original. 'A masterpiece. A cry from hell, a brutal, terrifying, and savagely funny book that swings between uncontrolled hallucination and fierce, exact satire' Newsweek 'Naked Lunch is a banquet you will never forget' J. G. Ballard
A new translation of Simenon's gripping novel about lives transformed by deceit and the destructive power of lust. It was all real: himself, the room, Andree still lying on the ravaged bed. For Tony and Andree, there are no rules when they meet in the blue room at the Hotel des Voyageurs. Their adulterous affair is intoxicating, passionate - and dangerous. Soon it turns into a nightmare from which there can be no escape. Simenon's stylish and sensual psychological thriller weaves a story of cruelty, reckless lust and relentless guilt. 'A wondrous achievement, brief, inexorable, pared to, and agonisingly close to, the bone, and utterly compelling; in short, a true and luminous work of art.' John Banville 'A double crime, a dark provincial scandal, and a dreadful sort of triumph . . . presented with shattering power' San Francisco Chronicle 'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequaled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian 'A supreme writer . . . unforgettable vividness' Independent
Georges Simenon's chilling portrayal of tragic love, persecution and betrayal. 'One sensed in him neither flesh nor bone, nothing but soft, flaccid matter, so much so that his movements were hard to make out. Very red lips stood out from his orb-like face, as did the thin moustache that he curled with an iron and looked as if it had been drawn on with India ink; on his cheekbones were the symmetrical pink dots of a doll's cheeks.' People find Mr Hire strange, disconcerting. The tenants he shares his building with try to avoid him. He is a peeping Tom, a visitor of prostitutes, a dealer in unsavoury literature. He is also the prime suspect for a brutal murder that he did not commit. Yet Mr Hire's innocence will not stand in the way of those looking for a scapegoat as tragedy unfolds in this quietly devastating and deeply unnerving novel. 'The romans durs are extraordinary: tough, bleak, offhandedly violent, suffused with guilt and bitterness, redolent of place . . . utterly unsentimental, frightening in the pitilessness of their gaze, yet wonderfully entertaining' John Banville
TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR and OBSERVER BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014 'This book is a record of what has moved me between Uxbridge and Dagenham. My hope is that it moves you, too.' Nairn's London is an idiosyncratic, poetic and intensely subjective meditation on a city and its buildings. Including railway stations, synagogues, abandoned gasworks, dock cranes, suburban gardens, East End markets, Hawksmoor churches, a Gothic cinema and twenty-seven different pubs, it is a portrait of the soul of a place, from a writer of genius.
The exhilarating, life-affirming call to spiritual arms from world-renowned spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff 'Gurdjieff's voice is heard as a call. He calls because he suffers from the inner chaos in which we live. He calls to us to open our eyes. He asks us why we are here, what we wish for, what forces we obey. He asks us, above all, if we understand what we are . . .' Part adventure narrative, part travelogue, part spiritual guide, Meetings with Remarkable Men is suffused with Gurdjieff's unique perspective on life. With vivacity and charm, he organizes his account around portraits of the remarkable men and women who accompanied him through remote parts of the Near East and Central Asia, and who aided his search for hidden knowledge. Among them are Gurdjieff's own father (a traditional bard), a Russian prince dedicated to the search for Truth, a Christian missionary who entered a World Brotherhood deep in Asia, and a woman who escaped slavery to become a trusted member of Gurdjieff's group of fellow seekers. Meetings with Remarkable Men conveys a haunting sense of what it means to live fully - with conscience, with purpose and with heart.
'You'll never be happy until you can think and feel and look like other people . . .' Jael 97 is an Alpha. Deemed over-privileged for her beauty, she is compelled to report to the Ministry of Facial Justice, where her face will be reconstructed. For Jael lives in the New State, created out of the devastation of the Third World War. Under the rule of the Darling Dictator, citizens must wear sackcloth and ashes, and only a 17.5% quotum of personality is permitted to each. Anything that inspires envy is forbidden. But Jael cannot suppress her rebellious spirit. Secretly, she starts to reassert the rights of the individual, and decides to hunt down the faceless Dictator. 'An exquisitely entertaining fantasy' Observer
'We are the music makers ... we are the dreamers of dreams' This new edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrates fifty years of the bestselling and beloved classic. The story of Charlie Bucket, a mysterious, eccentric chocolate factory owner and the golden ticket that transforms his existence is a masterpiece of exuberant invention, nonsense, fantasy and dark morality tale; both delightful and cruel.
A new translation of Giorgio Bassani's haunting collection of short stories that evoke 1930s Ferrara, with an introduction by Ali Smith. Isolated lives and a lost world are evoked in these memorable stories set in the Jewish-Italian community of 1930s Ferrara. A young man's unrequited love; a strange disappearance; a faded hotel; a lonely funfair; the smell of mown hay at the gates of the Jewish Cemetery - these vivid, impressionistic snapshots build a picture of life's brevity and intensity. Part of the sequence including The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, and featuring people and places from these novels, The Smell of Hay is told with a voice that is by turns intimate, ironic, elegiac and rueful. This new translation contains two pieces, added by Bassani to his earlier collection, which have never appeared in English before. 'Powerful new translations . . . Bassani began as a poet, and McKendrick's redelivery of this taut uncompromising fiction reveals resonance and generosity' Ali Smith 'Giorgio Bassani is one of the great witnesses of this century, and one of its great artists' Guardian Giorgio Bassani (1916-2000) was an Italian poet, novelist and editor. The Smell of Hay is the last in a series of six works collected together as Il romanzo di Ferrara. Other works in the cycle include The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which received the Viareggio Prize and inspired an Academy Award-winning film adaptation by Vittorio de Sica, The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles, and Within the Walls (originally published as Five Stories of Ferrara), which won the Strega Prize. Jamie McKendrick is a poet and translator. His translations of Bassani's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles are already available as Penguin Modern Classics, and he is in the process of translating the rest of the Romanzo di Ferrara cycle anew.
Arthur Koestler's extraordinary history of humanity's changing vision of the universe In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile distinction between 'sciences' and 'humanities' to bring to life the whole history of cosmology from the Babylonians to Newton. He shows how the tragic split between science and religion arose and how, in particular, the modern world-view replaced the medieval world-view in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. He also provides vivid and judicious pen-portraits of a string of great scientists and makes clear the role that political bias and unconscious prejudice played in their creativity.
From one of twentieth-century China's greatest writers and the author of Lust, Caution, this is an unforgettable story of a love affair set in 1930s Shanghai. Manzhen is a young worker in a Shanghai factory, where she meets Shijun, the son of wealthy merchants. Despite family complications, they fall in love and begin to dream of a shared life together - until circumstances force them apart. When they are reunited after a separation of many years, can they start their relationship again? Or is it destined to be the romance of only half a lifetime? This affectionate and captivating novel tells the moving story of an enduring love affair, and offers a fascinating window onto Chinese life in the first half of the twentieth century. Eileen Chang was born in Shanghai in 1920. She studied literature at the University of Hong Kong but returned to Shanghai in 1941 during the Japanese occupation, where she established her reputation as a literary star. She moved to America in 1955 and died in Los Angeles in 1995. Karen S. Kingsbury taught and studied in Chinese-speaking cities for nearly two decades, and currently lives in Pennsylvania, USA. She has translated Love in a Fallen City for Penguin Classics, as well as other essays and stories by Chang. 'A giant of modern Chinese literature' The New York Times 'Eileen Chang is the fallen angel of Chinese literature' Ang Lee 'A dazzling and distinctive fiction writer' New York Times Book Review 'Chang's world is a stark and mysterious place where people strive to find their way in love but often fail under the pressures of family, tradition, and reputation' New Yorker
A powerful story of the shattering effects of the First World War on both a family and a country - from Hans Fallada, bestselling author of Alone in Berlin 'This remarkable work, now complete after 76 years, could well be one of the finest novels any of us will ever read' Irish Times Gustav Hackendahl's will is law. Known as 'Iron Gustav', he runs his family and his Berlin carriage business with stern, unyielding discipline. But his children have wills of their own, and soon they slip from his control - some to better lives, some towards disaster. As war breaks out and Gustav's beloved Germany is devastated by hardship and violence, he finds everything he believes in destroyed. Can the man of iron endure, or even change? Brutal and moving, written with Hans Fallada's gift for capturing the small tragedies of ordinary lives, Iron Gustav is a heartbreaking family chronicle and an unflinching portrayal of the First World War and its aftermath.
'Moves so intensely and inexorably that it almost seems like the war it is describing' The New York Times Book Review 'Is it really worth it to die, to be dead, just to prove to everybody that you're not a coward?' On Guadalcanal in the south Pacific, the soldiers of C Company are about to enter the war. The men know they face their baptism of fire. But none know if they will be one of 'the lucky ones' to make it safely off the island. From Captain Stein, who feels like a father to his troops, and 'Mad' Sergeant Welsh, condemning all nations while swigging gin from his canteen, to Private Bell, who just wants to get home to his wife, they will discover the line that divides sanity from madness, and life from death. A scathing critique of heroism, The Thin Red Line is among the greatest masterpieces of war writing. 'The men are real, the words are real, death is real, imminent and immediate' Los Angeles Times
A charming, mind-bending and anarchic book of imagined civilizations 'Most cosmic civilizations long for things, in the depths of their souls, they would never openly admit to...' Trurl and Klapaucius are 'constructors' - they travel around the universe creating machines of astonishing inventiveness and power and visiting a bewildering variety of violent, peculiar and morose civilizations. The Cyberiad is oddly reminiscent of Gulliver's Travels, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Phantom Tollbooth and Alice in Wonderland. Charming, mind-bending and anarchic, it is perhaps Lem's greatest work. This edition includes all of Daniel Mroz's hallucinatory original illustrations.
The definitive Norman Mailer collection, as he writes on Marilyn Monroe, culture, ideology, boxing, Hemingway, politics, sex, celebrity and - of course - Norman Mailer From his early 'A Credo for the Living', published in 1948, when the author was twenty-five, to his final writings in the year before his death, Mailer wrestled with the big themes of his times. He was one of the most astute cultural commentators of the postwar era, a swashbuckling intellectual provocateur who never pulled a punch and was rarely anything less than interesting. Mind of an Outlaw spans the full arc of Mailer's evolution as a writer, including such essential pieces as his acclaimed 1957 meditation on hipsters, 'The White Negro'; multiple selections from his wonderful Advertisements for Myself; and a never-before-published essay on Freud. The book is introduced by Jonathan Lethem.
Mailer's superb account, written as it was happening, of the first attempt to land men on the moon 'Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.' A Fire on the Moon tells the scarcely credible story of the Apollo 11 mission. It is suffused with Mailer's obsession both with the astronauts themselves and with his own anxieties and terrors about the extremity of what they were trying to achieve. Mailer is both admiring and appalled and the result is a book which is both a gripping narrative and a brilliant depiction of the now-forgotten technical issues and uncertainties around the mission. A Fire on the Moon is also a matchless portrait of an America caught in a morass of introspection and misery, torn apart by the war in Vietnam. But for one, extraordinary week in the summer of 1969 all eyes were on the fates of three men in a rocket, travelling a quarter of a million miles away from Earth. With an introduction by Geoff Dyer.
The first English publication of Georges Simenon's compelling novel about summer escape and elusive obsessions. 'The island itself. Its throbbing heat as if in a belljar under the sun, the scorpion in his son's bed, the deafening sound of cicadas' During his first holiday on the island of Porquerolles Dr Mahe caught a glimpse of something irresistible. As the memory continues to haunt him, he falls prey to a delusion that may offer an escape from his conventional existence - or may destroy him. This is the first English translation of The Mahe Circle, Simenon's dark, malevolent depiction of an ordinary man trapped in mundanity and consumed by obsession. 'Compelling, remorseless, brilliant' John Gray 'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian 'A supreme writer . . . unforgettable vividness' Independent
The extraordinary letters of Italo Calvino, one of the great writers of the twentieth century, translated into English for the first time by Martin McLaughlin, with an introduction by Michael Wood. Italo Calvino, novelist, literary critic and editor, was also a masterful letter writer whose correspondents included Umberto Eco, Primo Levi, Gore Vidal and Pier Paolo Pasolini. This collection of his extraordinary letters, the first in English, gives an illuminating insight into his work and life. They include correspondence with fellow authors, generous encouragement to young writers, responses to critics, thoughts on literary criticism and literature in general, as well as giving glimpses of Calvino's role in the antifascist Resistance, his disenchantment with Communism and his travels to America and Cuba. Together they reveal the searching intellect, clarity and passionate commitment of a great writer at work. 'This literally marvelous collection of letters shows him to have been gregarious, puckish, funny, combative, and, above all, wonderful company, and opens a new and fascinating perspective on one of the master writers of the twentieth century. Michael Wood and Martin McLaughlin have done Calvino, and us, a great and loving service.' John Banville 'A charming addition to the Planet Calvino - a place cluttered with sphinxes, chimeras, knights, spaceships and viscounts both cloven and whole' Guardian Italo Calvino, one of Italy's finest postwar writers, was born in Cuba in 1923 and grew up in San Remo, Italy. Best known for his experimental masterpieces, Invisible Cities and If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, he was also a brilliant exponent of allegorical fantasy in works such as The Complete Cosmicomics. He died in Siena in 1985.
It was 1934 and a young man walked to London from the security of the Cotswolds to make his fortune. He was to live by playing the violin and by labouring on a London building site. Then, knowing one Spanish phrase, he decided to see Spain. For a year he tramped through a country in which the signs of impending civil war were clearly visible. Thirty years later Laurie Lee captured the atmosphere of the Spain he saw with all the freshness and beauty of a young man's vision, creating a lyrical and lucid picture of the beautiful and violent country that was to involve him inextricably.