Books

The Skeleton's Holiday

Leonora Carrington

'Ring for your maid, and when she comes in we'll pounce upon her and tear off her face. I'll wear her face tonight instead of mine.'

These dreamlike, carnivalesque fables by one of the leading lights of the Surrealist movement are masterpieces of invention and grand-guignol humour.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.

The Hearing Trumpet

Leonora Carrington (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ALI SMITH

A classic of fantastic literature, Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet is the occult twin to Alice in Wonderland, published with an introduction by Ali Smith in Penguin Modern Classics.

One of the first things ninety-two-year-old Marian Leatherby overhears when she is given an ornate hearing trumpet is her family plotting to commit her to an institution. Soon, she finds herself trapped in a sinister retirement home, where the elderly must inhabit buildings shaped like igloos and birthday cakes, endure twisted religious preaching and eat in a canteen overlooked by the mysterious portrait of a leering Abbess. But when another resident secretly hands Marian a book recounding the life of the Abbess, a joyous and brilliantly surreal adventure begins to unfold. Written in the early 1960s, The Hearing Trumpet remains one of the most original and inspirational of all fantastic novels.

Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was a British born Surrealist painter and writer described, alongside people such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, as one of the leading lights of the Surrealist movement. Born in Lancashire to a strict Catholic family, she first came into contact with surrealism through her lover, Surrealist painter Max Ernst, before moving to Mexico in 1942. The Hearing Trumpet, her most famous piece of writing, was first published in France in 1974.

If you enjoyed The Hearing Trumpet, you might like Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Reading The Hearing Trumpet liberates us from the miserable reality of our days'
Luis Buñuel

'One of the most original, joyful, satisfying and quietly visionary novels of the twentieth century'
Ali Smith

'This book is so inspiring...I love its freedom, its humour and how it invents its own laws. What specifically do I take from her? Her wig'
Björk

Biography

Leonora Carrington is a British born Surrealist painter and writer now living in Mexico city who has been described, alongside people such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, as one of the leading lights of the Surrealist movement. Born in Lancashire in 1917 to a strict Catholic family she first came into contact with surrealism through her lover, Surrealist painter Max Ernst, before moving to Mexico in 1942. The Hearing Trumpet, her most famous piece of writing, was first published in France in 1974.