Penguin Classics

New and forthcoming

The Penguin Book of Haiku

Adam L. Kern (and others)

The first Penguin anthology of Japanese haiku, in vivid new translations by Adam L. Kern.

Now a global poetry, the haiku was originally a Japanese verse form that flourished from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Although renowned for its brevity, usually running over three lines in seventeen syllables, and by its use of natural imagery to make Zen-like observations about reality, in fact the haiku is much more: it can be erotic, funny, crude and mischievous. Presenting over a thousand exemplars in vivid and engaging translations, this anthology offers an illuminating introduction to this widely celebrated, if misunderstood, art form.

Adam L. Kern's new translations are accompanied here by the original Japanese and short commentaries on the poems, as well as an introduction and illustrations from the period.

Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone

James Baldwin

'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 Kites

Romain Gary

On a small farm in Normandy, as Hitler rises to power in Germany, young Ludo comes of age in the care of his Uncle Ambrose, an eccentric mailman, kite-maker, and pacifist. Ludo's quiet existence changes the day he meets Lila, a girl from the aristocratic Polish family who own the estate next door. In a single glance, Ludo instantly falls in love forever; Lila, on the other hand, remains elusive. Thus begins Ludo's adventure of longing, passion, and steadfast love for Lila, who begins to reciprocate his feelings just as Europe descends into war. After Germany invades Poland, Lila and her family disappear, and Ludo's journey to save her from the Nazis becomes a journey to save his loved ones, his country, and ultimately himself.

Filled with unforgettable characters-an indomitable chef who believes Michelin stars are more enduring than military conquests; a Jewish brothel Madam who reinvents everything about herself during the war; a piano virtuoso turned RAF pilot-The Kites is Romain Gary's poetic call for resistance in whatever form it takes.

The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem

Jeremy Noel-Tod

The last decades have seen an explosion of the prose poem. More and more writers are turning to this peculiarly rich and flexible form; it defines Claudia Rankine's Citizen, one of the most talked-about books of recent years, and many others, such as Sarah Howe's Loop of Jade and Vahni Capildeo's Measures of Expatriation, make extensive use of it. Yet this fertile mode which in its time has drawn the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and Seamus Heaney remains, for many contemporary readers, something of a mystery.

The history of the prose poem is a long and fascinating one. Here, Jeremy Noel-Tod reconstructs it for us by selecting the essential pieces of writing - by turns luminous, brooding, lamentatory and comic - which have defined and developed the form at each stage, from its beginnings in nineteenth-century France, through the twentieth-century traditions of Britain and America and beyond the English language, to the great wealth of material written internationally since 2000. Comprehensively told, it yields one of the most original and genre-changing anthologies to be published for some years, and offers readers the chance to discover a diverse range of new poets and new kinds of poem, while also meeting famous names in an unfamiliar guise.

Territory of Light

Yuko Tsushima

'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 afterwards.

Maigret's Secret

Georges Simenon

At a dinner party, Maigret recounts an old case in which Adrien Josset is found guilty and executed for the murder of his wife, Christine. As the case develops under the controlling hand of the magistrate, all clues point to Josset's guilt yet Maigret is left unconvinced following his one interview with him. Years after the case, Maigret still doubts the true identity of the murderer.

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

'His artistry is supreme' 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

The Sweet Science

A. J. Liebling

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'.

Springtime in a Broken Mirror

Mario Benedetti (and others)

An extraordinary story of love and exile, from one of the great masters of the Latin American novel, translated into English for the first time

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, his nine-year-old daughter Beatrice wonders at the marvels of 1970s Buenos Aires, but her grandpa and mother - Santiago's beautiful, careworn wife, Graciela - struggle to adjust to a life in exile. Graciela fights to retain the fiery passion that suffused her marriage, her politics, her whole life, as day by day Santiago edges closer to freedom. But Santiago's rakish, reckless best friend is a constant, brooding presence in the exiles' lives, and Graciela finds herself drawn irresistibly towards him.

A lucid, heart-wrenching saga of a family torn apart by the forces of history, Springtime in a Broken Mirror tells with tenderness and fury of the indelible imprint politics leaves on individual lives. Generous and unflinching, it asks whether the broken bonds of family and history can ever truly be mended.

Anne of Green Gables

L. M. Montgomery

A classic coming-of-age tale of a spirited heroine named Anne

Anne Shirley is an eleven-year-old orphan who is mistakenly sent to a pair of siblings who had wanted to adopt a boy to help with the work on their farm in Prince Edward Island. Anne's quirky personality and good-natured spirit cause the siblings to grow to love her anyway and soon the entire town falls for the precocious little girl with bright red hair. Beloved by both children and adults, Anne of Green Gables is a celebration of fierce individualism and the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into.

The Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus

Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen (and others)

'Gaudy, wild, raw, amusing, rollicking and ragged, boiling with life, on intimate terms with death and evil - but in the end, contrite and fully tired of a world wasting itself in blood, pillage and lust' Thomas Mann

A story of war in all its absurdity and horror, this incomparable novel describes the fortunes of a young boy travelling through a world ravaged by conflict, and the terrible things he witnesses. Written by someone who fought in the Thirty Years War which decimated Europe in the seventeenth century, it combines brutal, documentary realism with fantastical, knockabout humour to depict a universe turned upside down. Now this pioneering work of fiction, considered the first great German novel, is brought to life in all its striking modernity by J. A. Underwood's new translation.

Simplicissimus was rediscovered in 20th century Germany where the book's grim message resonated and the book is now established as one of the essential works of German literature.

Translated by J. A. Underwood
With an introduction by Kevin Cramer

Classics you can read in one sitting