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It's a hot 4th of July night in New York City. In the darkness of the Bronx, thousands of boys have gathered from all across the city. Among them are the warriors of the Coney Island Dominators. Ismael Rivera, leader of the Delancey Thrones, has called an assembly of New York's disparate youth gangs. Why should they keep taking it from the Man when they could be the ones giving it to everyone else? But when the assembly descends into violence, the Dominators are suddenly a very long way home from home. The Warriors follows the Dominators as they rape and murder their way back to Coney Island through the terrifying New York night. First published in 1965, Sol Yurick's bleak and shocking novel is a brutal tale of young men left to raise themselves, and an urgent warning about the animal savagery that emerges from the torn fabric of human society.
David Toop's extraordinary work of sonic history travels from the rainforests of Amazonas to the megalopolis of Tokyo via the work of artists as diverse as Brian Eno, Sun Ra, Erik Satie, Kate Bush, Kraftwerk and Brian Wilson. Beginning in 1889 at the Paris exposition when Debussy first heard Javanese music performed, Ocean of Sound channels the competing instincts of 20th century music into an exhilarating, path-breaking account of ambient sound. 'A meditation on the development of modern music, there's no single term that is adequate to describe what Toop has accomplished here ... mixing interviews, criticism, history, and memory, Toop moves seamlessly between sounds, styles, genres, and eras' Pitchfork's '60 Favourite Music Books'
If you thought fiction couldn't get darker than David Peace's extraordinary debut, Nineteen Seventy Four, then think again. Nineteen Seventy Seven, the second instalment of the Red Riding Quartet, is one long nightmare. Its heroes - the half decent copper Bob Fraser and the burnt-out hack Jack Whitehead - would be considered villains in most people's books. Fraser and Whitehead have one thing in common though, they're both desperate men dangerously in love with Chapeltown prostitutes. And as the summer moves remorselessly towards the bonfires of Jubilee Night, the killings accelerate and it seems as if Fraser and Whitehead are the only men who suspect or care that there may be more than one killer at large. Out of the horror of true crime, David Peace has fashioned a work of terrible beauty. Like James Ellroy before him, David Peace tells us the true and fearsome secret history of our times.
Red Riding Nineteen Eighty is set against an evolving backdrop of power, corruption and lies. The nightmare continues during the winter of 1980 when the Ripper murders his thirteenth victim and the whole of Yorkshire is terrorised. Assistant Chief Constable Hunter struggles to solve the hellish crimes and bring an end to the horror, but is drawn ever deeper into a world of bent coppers and sleaze. After his house is burned down, his wife is threatened and his colleagues turn against him, Hunter's quest becomes personal as he has nothing left to lose. Nineteen Eighty is a compelling battle between two desperate men, each determined to destroy the other. This third volume of the Red Riding Quartet displays Peace's unique voice which places him as one of the UK's finest crime writers.
Nineteen Eighty Three's three intertwining storylines see the Quartet's central themes of corruption and the perversion of justice come to a head as BJ, the rent boy from Nineteen Seventy Four, the lawyer Big John Piggott - who's as near as you get to a hero in Peace's world - and Maurice Jobson, the senior cop whose career of corruption and brutality has set all this in motion, find themselves on a collision course that can only end in a terrible vengeance. Nineteen Eighty Three is an epic tale which concluded an extraordinary body of work confirming Peace as the most innovative and remarkable new British crime writer to have emerged for years.
Jeanette Garland, missing Castleford, July 1969. Susan Ridyard, missing Rochdale, March 1972. Claire Kemplay, missing Morley, since yesterday. Christmas bombs and Lord Lucan on the run, Leeds United and the Bay City Rollers, The Exorcist and It Ain't Half Hot Mum. It's winter, 1974, Yorkshire, and Eddie Dunford's got the job he wanted - crime correspondent for the Yorkshire Evening Post. He didn't know it was going to be a season in hell. A dead little girl with a swan's wings stitched into her back. In Nineteen Seventy Four, David Peace brings the passion and stylistic bravado of an Ellroy novel to this terrifyingly intense journey into a secret history of sexual obsession and greed, and starts a highly acclaimed crime series that has redefined how the genre is approached.
In this classic account of the new black music of the 1960s and 70s, celebrated photographer and jazz historian Val Wilmer tells the story of how a generation of revolutionary musicians established black music as the true vanguard of American culture. Placing the achievements of African-American artists such as Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Sun Ra in their broader political and social context, Wilmer evokes an era of extraordinary innovation and experimentation that continues to inspire musicians today. As vital now as when it was first published in 1977, As Serious As Your Life is the essential story of one of the most dynamic musical movements of the twentieth century.
When Muddy Waters came to London at the start of the '60s, a kid from Boston called Joe Boyd was his tour manager; when Dylan went electric at the Newport Festival, Joe Boyd was plugging in his guitar; when the summer of love got going, Joe Boyd was running the coolest club in London, the UFO; when a bunch of club regulars called Pink Floyd recorded their first single, Joe Boyd was the producer; when a young songwriter named Nick Drake wanted to give his demo tape to someone, he chose Joe Boyd. More than any previous '60s music autobiography, Joe Boyd's White Bicycles offers the real story of what it was like to be there at the time. His greatest coup is bringing to life the famously elusive figure of Nick Drake - the first time he's been written about by anyone who knew him well. As well as the '60s heavy-hitters, this book also offers wonderfully vivid portraits of a whole host of other musicians: everyone from the great jazzman Coleman Hawkins to the folk diva Sandy Denny, Lonnie Johnson to Eric Clapton, The Incredible String Band to Fairport Convention.
Finalist for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 Gregoire Nakobomayo, a petty criminal, has decided to kill his girlfriend Germaine. He's planned the crime for some time, but still, the act of murder requires a bit of psychological and logistical preparation. Luckily, he has a mentor to call on, the far more accomplished serial killer Angoualima. The fact that Angoualima is dead doesn't prevent Gregoire from holding lengthy conversations with him. Little by little, Gregoire interweaves Angoualima's life and criminal exploits with his own. Continuing with the plan despite a string of botched attempts, Gregoire's final shot at offing Germaine leads to an abrupt unravelling. Lauded in France for its fresh and witty style, African Psycho's inventive use of language surprises and relieves the reader by sending up this disturbing subject.
Alison and Veronica meet amid the nocturnal glamour of 1980s New York: one is a former modelling sensation, stumbling away from the wreck of her career, the other an eccentric middle-aged proofreader with a meticulous eye. Over the next twenty years their friendship will encompass narcissism and tenderness, exploitation and self-sacrifice, love and mortality. Moving seamlessly between the glamorous and gritty '80s, when beauty and style gave licence to excess, and the broken world of the decade's survivors twenty years later, Gaitskill casts a fierce yet compassionate eye on the two eras and their fixations. Veronica masterfully evokes the fragility and mystery of human relationships in a world where love is rife with frightening artificiality. Evocative, raw and entirely unique, Veronica was shortlisted for the prestigious 2005 National Book Award in the USA.
Erika Kohut teaches piano at the Vienna Conservatory by day. By night she trawls the city's porn shows while her mother, whom she loves and hates in equal measure, waits up for her. Into this emotional pressure-cooker bounds music student and ladies' man Walter Klemmer. With Walter as her student, Erika spirals out of control, consumed by the ecstasy of self-destruction. A haunting tale of morbid voyeurism and masochism, The Piano Teacher, first published in 1983, is Elfreide Jelinek's Masterpiece. Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize For Literature in 2004 for her 'musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's cliches and their subjugating power. The Piano Teacher was adapted into an internationally successful film by Michael Haneke, which won three major prizes at Cannes, including the Grand Prize and Best Actress for Isabelle Huppert.
In Oe's masterpiece of the human condition and family psychology, estranged brothers Mitsusaburo and Takashi have long since left their family home in a remote forested valley on Shikoku, in the south of Japan: Mitsusaburo for work in Tokyo; his younger brother Takashi for the United States, to atone for his part in anti-American student protests. Takashi's return to Japan coincides with a local Korean supermarket magnate's offer to buy the brothers' ancestral storehouse, pitting the brothers against one another and dredging up family histories best forgotten. The Silent Cry is the most important Japanese novel of the post-war period and a strange, unsettling tale of how the call of blood and history echoes down the generations.
Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2005. Narrated by a mother, Eve, in letters to her estranged husband, this is a truly horrific story of a 15-year old boy’s killing spree but it is more the tale of how he got there than of the crime itself. It harks back to Eve’s relationship with her husband and the upbringing of the child. The big question is how much she is, or not, to blame for the tragedy that unfolds. Stark and unbelievably painful, it touches on truths not often spoken of. A great book. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Robert Jones is a crew leader in a naval shipyard in Los Angeles in the 1940s. He should have a lot going for him, being educated, with a steady job and a steady relationship. But in the four days covered in this novel, the impossibility of life as a black man in a white world is made devastatingly clear. Jones is surrounded by prejudice, suspicion and paranoia, and his daily experiences influence his thoughts, dreams and behaviour. Immediately recognised as a masterful expose of racism in everyday life, If He Hollers Let Him Go is Chester Himes' first book, originally published in 1945.
From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2009 'Just as the father in the house in which we live is our father, so Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu is the father of our country. And just as the mother in the house in which we live is our mother, so Comrade Elena Ceausescu is the mother of our country. Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu is the father of our children. All the children love comrade Nicolae and comrade Elena, because they are their parents.' The Passport is a beautiful, haunting novel whose subject is a German village in Romania caught between the stifling hopelessness of Ceausescu's dictatorship and the glittering temptations of the West. Stories from the past are woven together with the problems Windisch, the village miller, faces after he applies for permission to migrate to West Germany. Herta Muller describes with poetic attention the dreams and superstitions, conflicts and oppression of a forgotten region, the Banat, in the Danube Plain. In sparse, lyrical language, Herta Muller captures the forlorn plight of a trapped people. This edition is translated by Martin Chalmers, with a new foreword by Paul Bailey. Also by Herta Muller: Nadirs, The Land of Green Plums, The Appointment, and The Hunger Angel.
Peter Jernigan's life is slipping out of control. His wife's gone, he's lost his job and he's a stranger to his teenage son. Worse, his only relief from all this reality - alcohol - is less effective by the day. And when the medicine doesn't work, you up the dose. And when that doesn't work, what then? (Apart from upping the dose again anyway, because who knows?) Jernigan's answer is to slowly turn his caustic wit on everyone around him - his wife Judith, his teenage son Danny, his vulnerable new girlfriend Martha and, eventually, himself - until the laughs have turned to mute horror. But while he's busy burning every bridge back to the people who love him, Jernigan's perverse charisma keeps us all in thrall to the bitter end.
An Oprah Book Club selection Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize In a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, a young black man named Jefferson witnesses a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed. The only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Gaines explores the deep prejudice of the American South in the tradition of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and Toni Morrison's Beloved. A Lesson Before Dying is a richly compassionate and deeply moving novel, the story of a young black man sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit, and a teacher who hopes to ease his burden before the execution.
Aimee Joubert is a drop-dead gorgeous femme fatale with a penchant for bloody murder. Ever on the lookout for opportunities for self-enrichment, she finds plenty to like as a newcomer to the detestable backwater town of Bleville: small-minded parochialism, self-interested parish politics, rampant corruption, dormant grudges, scandals just waiting to be uncovered - yes, there's a killing to be made here. So Aimee starts to wreak her stylish mayhem on Bleville's despicable bourgeoisie. But just when she's ready to take them all to the cleaners, something snaps, and the master manipulator falls prey to her wayward passions. A legend of the genre, Jean-Patrick Manchette transformed the modern crime thriller into something slick, chic and riotously enjoyable. A tornado of redemptive murder and a gleeful satire of small-town life, Fatale is Manchette's bloodiest, funniest and most brilliantly cathartic thriller yet.
Remo Erdosain's Buenos Aires is a dim, seething, paranoid hive of hustlers and whores, scoundrels and madmen, and Erdosain feels his soul is as polluted as anything in this dingy city. Possessed by the directionlessness of the society around him, trapped between spiritual anguish and madness, he clings to anything that can give his life meaning: small-time defrauding of his employers, hatred of his wife's cousin Gregorio Barsut, a part in the Astrologer's plans for a new world order... but is that enough? Or is the only appropriate response to reality - insanity? Written in 1929, The Seven Madmen depicts an Argentina on the edge of the precipice. This teeming world of dreamers, revolutionaries and scheming generals was Arlt's uncanny prophesy of the cycle of conflict which would scar his country's passage through the twentieth century, and even today it retains its power as one of the great apocalyptic works of modern literature.
Until his death aged thirty-three in 1982, Lester Bangs wrote wired, rock 'n' roll pieces on Iggy Pop, The Clash, John Lennon, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed. As a rock critic, he had an eagle-eye for distinguishing the pre-packaged imitation from the real thing; written in a conversational, wisecracking, erotically charged style, his hallucinatory hagiographies and excoriating take-downs reveal an iconoclast unafraid to tell it like it is. To his journalism he brought the talent of a great a renegade Beat poet, and his essays, reviews and scattered notes convey the electric thrill of a music junky indulging the habit of a lifetime. As Greil Marcus writes in his introduction, 'What this book demands from a reader is a willingness to accept that the best writer in America could write almost nothing but record reviews.'
A window into a life of insatiable desire and uninhibited sex - this is Parisian art critic Catherine M.'s account of her sexual awakening and her unrestrained pursuit of pleasure. From the glamorous singles clubs of Paris to the Bois de Boulogne, she describes her erotic experiences in precise and beautiful detail. A phenomenal bestseller throughout Europe, The Sexual Life of Catherine M., like Fifty Shades of Grey, breaks with accepted ideas of sex and examines many alternative manifestations of desire. Told in spare, elegant prose, her story will shock, enlighten and liberate you.
Swearing to his dying mother that he'll find the father he has never met, a certain Pedro Paramo, Juan Preciado sets out across the barren plains of Mexico for Comala, the hallucinatory ghost town his father presided over like a feudal lord. Between the realms of the living and the dead, in fragments of dreams and the nightly whispers of Comala's ghosts, there emerges the tragic tale of Pedro Paramo and the town whose every corner holds the taint of his rotten soul.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and Alexander Skarsgard. A writer of the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen wrote just two novels, published here, and a handful of short stories. Critically acclaimed, both speak powerfully of the contradictions and restrictions experienced by black women at that time. Quicksand, written in 1928, is an autobiographical novel about Helga Crane, a mixed race woman caught between fulfilling her desires and gaining respectability in her middle class neighbourhood. Written a year later, Passing tells the story of two childhood friends, Clare and Irene, both light skinned enough to pass as white. Reconnecting in adulthood, Clare has chosen to live as a white woman, while Irene embraces black culture and has an important role in her community. Nella Larsen's novels are moving, characterful, and important books. She pioneered writing about the conflicts of sexuality, race and the secret suffering of women in the early twentieth century.
'My Albertine, how I adored her! Her luminous eyes led me through the darkness of my youth. She was my guide through the nights of one hundred sleeps. And now she is yours.' At the age of twenty-one, a sad and hungry Patti Smith walked into a bookshop in Greenwich Village and decided to spend her last 99 cents on a novel that would change her life forever. The book was Astragal, by Albertine Sarrazin. Sarrazin was an enigmatic outsider who had spent time in jail and who wrote only two novels and a book of poems in her short life - she died the year before Patti found her book, at the age of twenty-nine. Astragal tells the story of Anne, a young woman who breaks her ankle in a daring escape from prison. She makes it to a highway where she's picked up by a motorcyclist, Julien, who's also on the run. As they travel through nights and days together, they fall in love and must do whatever they can to survive, living their lives always on the edge of danger. A bewitching and timeless novel of youthful rebellion and romance, this new edition of Patsy Southgate's original translation includes an introduction by Patti Smith.
First published privately in 1929 as The Middle Parts of Fortune, Her Privates We is the novel of the Battle of the Somme told from the perspective of Bourne, an ordinary private. A raw and shockingly honest portrait of men engaged in war, 'that peculiarly human activity', the original edition was subject to 'prunings and excisions' because the bluntness of language was thought to make the book unfit for public distribution. This edition restores them. An undisputed classic of war writing and a lasting tribute to all who participated in the war, Her Privates We was originally published as written by 'Private 19022'. Championed by Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, TS Eliot and TE Lawrence, it has become recognised as a classic in the seventy years since its first publication. Now republished, with an introduction by William Boyd, it will again amaze a new generation of readers with its depiction of the horror, the ordinariness and the humanity of war.
Ranging from one-page fantasies to novella-length studies of everyday existence, The Walk reveals the irresistible genius of one of the twentieth century's greatest writers. Under-appreciated even in his own lifetime, Robert Walser has nonetheless been recognised by such writers as W.G. Sebald, Susan Sontag, Franz Kafka, Herman Hesse and J.M. Coetzee. Like Kafka and Sebald, Walser wrote about the solitude and unease of human existence. Honest, wry and idiosyncratic, his stories are snapshots of the lives great artists, poor young men, beautiful women and talking animals alike. Ranging from the realist to the allegorical, the short fiction collected in this volume demonstrates Walser's uncanny ability to capture both life's strangeness and its small joys.
Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails. Adapted and directed by Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher), the film of We Need to Talk About Kevin stars Tila Swinton (I Am Love) and John C. Reilly (The Aviator), with Ezra Miller (Californication) as the eponymous teenage murderer.
Just thirty, with a well-paid job, no love life and a terrible attitude, the anti-hero of this grim, funny novel smokes four packs of cigarettes a day and writes weird animal stories in his spare time. A computer programmer by day, he is tolerably content, until he's packed off with a colleague - the sexually-frustrated Raphael Tisserand - to train provincial civil servants in the use of a new computer system Houellebecq's first novel was a smash hit in France, expressing the misanthropic voice of a generation. Like A Confederacy of Dunces, Houellebecq's bitter, sarcastic and exasperated narrator vociferously expresses his frustration and disgust with the world.
Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
Behind the bar at Jameel's in Cairo hang two mugs engraved with the names of Ram and Font. During their years together in London, they drank many a pint of Bass from these mugs. But there is no Bass in Nasser's Egypt, so Ram and Font have to make do with a heady mixture of beer, vodka and whisky. Yearning for Bass they long to be far from a revolution that neither serves the people nor allows their rich aunts to live the life of leisure they are accustomed to. Stranded between two cultures, Ram and Font must choose between dangerous political opposition and reluctant acquiescence. First published in 1964, Beer in the Snooker Club is a classic of the literature of emigration.
During the Depression, Gloria and Robert enter a dance marathon in return for three square meals a day and a chance at winning the big-money prize. Under the intense scrutiny of the media, corporate sponsors and obsessive fans, the competing couples are put through a series of gruelling and humiliating feats of endurance, until they begin to fight among themselves and betray each other. As days and weeks go by, the tension reaches boiling point, and this pitch-black tale of desire and desperation heads towards a violent conclusion.
Constantine is a drifter with a lot of miles behind him, a lot more ahead and plenty of jobs in between that never showed up on anyone's books. Back in his home town, he hitches a ride on a bright spring morning with a little man named Polk. There's one stop Polk needs to make, and it changes Constantine's life forever. Like the kind of cars they don't make anymore and the kind of songs they don't sing, Shoedog has the style, rhythm and muscle of a classic.
Sitting at his desk, Bernardo Soares imagined himself free forever of Rua dos Douradores, of his boss Vasques, of Moreira the book-keeper, of all the other employees, the errand boy, the post boy, even the cat. But if he left them all tomorrow and discarded the suit of clothes he wears, what else would he do? Because he would have to do something. And what suit would he wear? Because he would have to wear another suit. A self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between the loftiness of his feelings and the humdrum reality of his life, The Book of Disquiet is a classic of existentialist literature.
Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2005. Narrated by a mother, Eve, in letters to her estranged husband, this is a truly horrific story of a 15-year old boy’s killing spree but more than that it's the tale of how he got there rather than of the crime itself. It harks back to Eve’s relationship with her husband and the upbringing of the child. The big question is how much she is, or not, to blame for the tragedy that unfolds. Stark and unbelievably painful, it touches on truths not often spoken of. A great book.