Books

Augustus

Jochen Bleicken (and others)

'Masterful ... a breathtaking panorama of Roman politics at a crucial turning point in history' Simon J. V. Malloch, Literary Review

He was named son and heir by a murdered dictator. He came to Rome with nothing, surrounded by ruthless enemies. Yet Augustus would become the first Roman Emperor, transforming the Republic into the greatest empire the world had seen. This is the definitive biography of the man who changed Western history.

'An unequalled biography' Harry Mount, Spectator

'Jochen Bleicken's biography of Rome's first emperor is excellent on the young Octavian and his wheeling and dealing' Natalie Haynes, Independent

'A superb account ... It should become standard reading for everyone interested in the foundations of the Roman empire' Peter Jones, BBC History Magazine

Cécile is Dead

Georges Simenon (and others)

A new translation of this moving novel about the destructive power of greed, book twenty in the new Penguin Maigret series.

Poor Cécile! And yet she was still young. Maigret had seen her papers: barely twenty-eight years old. But it would be difficult to look more like an old maid, to move less gracefully, in spite of the care she took to be friendly and pleasant. Those black dresses that she must make for herself from bad paper patterns, that ridiculous green hat!

In the dreary suburbs of Paris, the merciless greed of a seemingly respectable woman is unearthed by her long suffering niece, and Maigret discovers the far-reaching consequences of their actions.

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret and the Spinster.

'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 Late Monsieur Gallet

Georges Simenon (and others)

The second book in the new Penguin Maigret series: Georges Simenon's devastating tale of misfortune, betrayal and the weakness of family ties, in a new translation by Anthea Bell.

Instead of the detail filling itself in and becoming clearer, it seemed to escape him. The face of the man in the ill-fitting coat just misted up so that it hardly looked human. In theory this mental portrait was good enough, but now it was replaced by fleeting images which should have added up to one and the same man but which refused to get themselves into focus.

The circumstances of Monsieur Gallet's death all seem fake: the name the deceased was travelling under and his presumed profession, and more worryingly, his family's grief. Their haughtiness seems to hide ambiguous feelings about the hapless man. In this haunting story, Maigret discovers the appalling truth and the real crime hidden behind the surface of lies.

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in previous translations as Maigret Stonewalled and The Death of Monsieur Gallet.

'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

Austerlitz

W. G. Sebald (and others)

Austerlitz is W. G. Sebald's haunting novel of post-war Europe.

In 1939, five-year-old Jacques Austerlitz is sent to England on a Kindertransport and placed with foster parents. This childless couple promptly erase from the boy all knowledge of his identity and he grows up ignorant of his past. Later in life, after a career as an architectural historian, Austerlitz - having avoided all clues that might point to his origin - finds the past returning to haunt him and he is forced to explore what happened fifty years before. Austerlitz is W.G. Sebald's melancholic masterpiece.

'Mesmeric, haunting and heartbreakingly tragic. Simply no other writer is writing or thinking on the same level as Sebald' Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

'Greatness in literature is still possible' John Banville, Irish Times, Books of the Year

'A work of obvious genius' Literary Review

'A fusion of the mystical and the solid ... His art is a form of justice - there can be, I think, no higher aim' Evening Standard

'Spellbindingly accomplished; a work of art' The Times Literary Supplement

'I have never read a book that provides such a powerful account of the devastation wrought by the dispersal of the Jews from Prague and their treatment by the Nazis' Observer

'A great book by a great writer' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

W . G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgäu, Germany, in 1944 and died in December 2001. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and Manchester. In 1996 he took up a position as an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and settled permanently in England in 1970. He was Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Unrecounted, A Place in the Country. His selected poetry is published in a volume called Across the Land and the Water.

The Secrets of the Chess Machine

Robert Löhr (and others)

In Vienna in 1770 Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen unveils his astonishing invention: the Mechanical Turk, an unbeatable chess-playing machine. But von Kempelen is no mechanical genius. Rather, he’s a conman, as Tibor, the dwarf locked inside the device, will attest.

As the pair tour Europe and become involved in a host of picaresque adventures, barely keeping the secret as they beat all comers, they at last come unstuck when a beautiful countess dies in the presence of the Turk.

Suddenly von Kempelen, Tibor and his Turk are the objects of suspicion and the targets of persecution and espionage. And that is before more unexplained deaths further complicate matters …

Campo Santo

W. G. Sebald (and others)

Campo Santo is a collection of essays by W. G. Sebald

When W.G. Sebald died tragically in 2001 a unique voice was silenced. Campo Santo is a collection of the pieces he left behind - none of them previously published in book form - which provide a powerful insight into the themes that came to dominate his life.

Four pieces pay tribute to Corsica, weaving elegiacally between past and present. Sebald also examines the works of writers such as Kafka, Nabokov, and Günter Grass, showing both how literature can provide restitution for the injustices of the world and how such literature came to have so great an influence on him. Campo Santo is a fitting memorial to W.G. Sebald, who himself studied the shifting nature of memory and time with such sensitivity.

'A precious addition to the canon' Independent

'Will come to be seen as indispensable to an understanding of his work' Sunday Times

'Full of a sense of liberation and lightness ... these [pieces] abound in energy and work the authentic Sebaldian magic' Literary Review

'We have become suspicious, rightly, of claims for literary greatness, but in Sebald's case the claim was triumphantly justified. He was, he is, the real thing' John Banville, Guardian

'Sebald was probably the greatest intellect and voice of the late twentieth century' Anthony Beevor, The Times

'A writer whose explorations of time and memory make him arguably the closest author modern European letters has to rival Borges' Sunday Times


W . G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgäu, Germany, in 1944 and died in December 2001. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and Manchester. In 1996 he took up a position as an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and settled permanently in England in 1970. He was Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Unrecounted, For Years Now and A Place in the Country. His selected poetry is published in a volume called Across the Land and the Water.

On The Natural History Of Destruction

W. G. Sebald (and others)

Sebald's On the Natural History of Destruction explores German writers' silence about a moment of mass destruction

In the last years of World War II, a million tons of bombs were dropped by the Allies on one hundred and thirty-one German towns and cities. Six hundred thousand civilians died, and three and a half million homes were destroyed. When it has cast such a very dark shadow over his life and work, Sebald asks, how have so many writers allowed themselves to write it out of their experience and avoid articulating the horror? W.G. Sebald's On the Natural History of Destruction sparked a wide-ranging debate in the German press.

'Sebald makes exquisite art out of vile history' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'One of the most important writers of our time' A.S. Byatt, New Statesman

'Demands to be read for its grand emotional power ... it absorbs and horrifies and illuminates' Scotsman

'Brilliant and disturbing' Antony Beevor, The Times


W . G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgäu, Germany, in 1944 and died in December 2001. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and Manchester. In 1996 he took up a position as an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and settled permanently in England in 1970. He was Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Unrecounted, For Years Now and A Place in the Country. His selected poetry is published in a volume called Across the Land and the Water.

Biography

Anthea Bell