Penguin Modern Classics

New and forthcoming

The Success and Failure of Picasso

John Berger

In this classic of art criticism, one of our foremost cultural historians grapples with the life and work of one of the twentieth century's most mercurial and prodigious artists. In The Success and Failure of Picasso, John Berger places the artist in the historical, social and political contexts that made his work possible.

The Pitards

Georges Simenon

'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.

On Heroes and Tombs

Ernesto Sabato (and others)

'A novelist of immense power ... uncompromising and original' Colm Tóibín

'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 Martín, 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

Alone in Berlin

Hans Fallada (and others)

A tie-in edition of Fallada's best-selling WW2 novel, to accompany the major new film starring Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson.

Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. When unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel receive the news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France, they are shocked out of their quiet existence and begin a silent campaign of defiance. A deadly game of cat and mouse develops between the Quangels and the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich in Fallada's desperately tense and heartbreaking exploration of resistance in impossible circumstances.

In the Castle of My Skin

George Lamming

'They won't know you, the you that's hidden somewhere in the castle of your skin'

Nine-year-old G. leads a life of quiet mischief crab catching, teasing preachers and playing among the pumpkin vines. His sleepy fishing village in 1930s Barbados is overseen by the English landlord who lives on the hill, just as their 'Little England' is watched over by the Mother Country. Yet gradually, G. finds himself awakening to the violence and injustice that lurk beneath the apparent order of things. As the world he knows begins to crumble, revealing the bruising secret at its heart, he is spurred ever closer to a life-changing decision. Lyrical and unsettling, George Lamming's autobiographical coming-of-age novel is a story of tragic innocence amid the collapse of colonial rule.

'Rich and riotous' The Times

'Its poetic imaginative writing has never been surpassed' Tribune

The Collected Short Stories

Jean Rhys

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 cafés; 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).

England Your England

George Orwell

'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.

The Zoo of the New

Don Paterson (and others)

'So open it anywhere, then anywhere, then anywhere again. We're sure it won't be long before you find a poem that brings you smack into the newness and strangeness of the living present'

In The Zoo of the New, poets Don Paterson and Nick Laird have cast a fresh eye over more than five centuries of verse, from the English language and beyond. Above all, they have sought poetry that retains, in one way or another, a powerful timelessness: words with the thrilling capacity to make the time and place in which they were written, however distant and however foreign they may be, feel utterly here and now in the 21st Century.

This book stretches as far back as Sappho and as far forward as the recent award-winning work of Denise Riley, taking in poets as varied as Thomas Wyatt, Sylvia Plath, William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Frank O'Hara and Gwendolyn Brooks along the way. Here, the mournful rubs shoulders with the celebratory; the skulduggerous and the foolish with the highfalutin; and tales of love, loss and war with a menagerie of animals and objects, from bee boxes to rubber boots, a suit of armour and a microscope.

Teeming with old favourites and surprising discoveries, this lovingly selected compendium is sure to win lifelong readers.

Decline and Fall

Evelyn Waugh

A tie-in edition of Waugh's first and funniest novel to accompany the new BBC adaptation starring Jack Whitehall.

Sent down from Oxford University for indecent behaviour, Paul Pennyfeather embarks on a series of bizarre adventures that start in a minor public school and end in one of Her Majesty's prisons. In this, his first and funniest novel, Evelyn Waugh brilliantly satirised the roaring twenties with his story of an innocent abroad in high society.

The Tailor of Panama

John le Carré

'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 Carré'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

Six modern classics that stood trial