65 results 1-20
Animal Farm is one of the most famous warnings ever written. Orwell's immortal satire - 'against Stalin' as he wrote to his French translator - can be read on many levels. With its piercing clarity and deceptively simple style it is no surprise that this novel is required reading for schoolchildren and politicians alike. This fable of the steadfast horses Boxer and Clover, the opportunistic pigs Snowball and Napoleon, and the deafening choir of sheep remains an unparalleled masterpiece.
One reviewer wrote 'In a hundred years' time perhaps Animal Farm ... may simply be a fairy story: today it is a fairy story with a good deal of point.' Over sixty years on in the age of spin, it is more relevant than ever.
Rejected by such eminent publishing figures as Victor Gollancz, Jonathan Cape and T.S. Eliot, Animal Farm was published to great acclaim by Martin Secker and Warburg on 17 August 1945 in an edition of 4500 copies. In the centenary year of Martin Secker, Ltd., Harvill Secker is proud to publish this special edition with a brand-new introduction by Christopher Hitchens.
Published: 15 Apr 2010
"What is frightening is the loss of the sacred in the human, particularly in sexual relations, because it means no true union is possible." Marguerite Yourcenar
Shortly before her death in a car accident, Camille, a quiet, erudite, somewhat mysterious unmarried woman in her sixties, had entrusted to a friend - the narrator of this book - a manuscript that described a passionate love affair she had experienced when she was forty. Rapture is this woman's meticulously detailed and totally candid account of the highs and lows of a physical and spiritual relationship with a man, Julien, that overwhelmed and obsessed her, and of their secret meetings and rituals in a white bedroom. Rarely in fiction has sexuality, both male and female, been analysed so extensively - and so honestly - from a woman's perspective. Interspersed with Camille's introspective analysis of the growth and decline of her love for Julien are a series of reflections taken from Roland Barthes, Georges Bataille and Proust, among others, that serve as a counterpoint to this memorable tale of an all-consuming love affair.
Published: 3 Nov 2005
Will Ferguson takes us on a wild romp across the dust bowl of West Texas. The year is 1939. The world is on the brink of war, and the American Dream is rusting out from the inside.
Jack McGreary is adrift in the faded boomtown of Paradise Flats. Raised by his eccentric and increasingly erratic father, Jack has learned to live by his wits. He outsmarts the local businessmen, out-argues the local priest, and even outplays a gang of hardened carnies at a seedy fairground. And when a pair of fast-talking swindlers named Virgil and Miss Rose blow through town, Jack falls in with them. Together they go on a crime spree across the American Southwest, staging a series of elaborate and often hilarious cons. Young Jack is swept along into a world of hot jazz and cold calculating crimes of the heart, as the sexual tension between him and Miss Rose comes to a boil. Someone is being set up. Are Miss Rose and Virgil playing Jack? Or is Jack playing them?
Published: 3 Jan 2008
Named in a moment of anger, raised to endure the tragedy of a people and culture coming undone, Blackstrap Hawco is heir to an island dominion subsumed, picked over and set adrift by its adoptive nation.
As the end of the twentieth century nears, the Hawco family's bloodlines have grown tainted and confused. Men fail their families through enforced idleness, and the once-vivid ghosts of their ancestors have slipped into murk, forgotten along with the rest of history.
Blackstrap Hawco is a defiant man born with little more than a body and spirit that refuse to give up, and the menacing strength of pride. For the Hawcos of Newfoundland, was it not ever so?
From the arrivals of the indentured Irish to the Victorian drawing rooms of the English merchants, from the perilous adventures of the seal hunt to the raucous iron ore mines, from a notorious disaster at sea to the relocation of outport communities, the Hawco story might be all the family has left. But as Blackstrap Hawco - a novel that will consume you in its dazzling swirl of voices, legends and beautiful hearsay - testifies, a story this haunting, this powerful, might just be enough.
Published: 19 Jun 2008
Dulce Chacón's book has had an immense success in Spain, no doubt because the novelist speaks with a just and powerful voice, and because she has allowed women - the most anonymous, the most suppressed, the most silenced - to speak out" Le Monde
It is 1939. In the Ventas prison in Madrid a group of women have been incarcerated. Their crime is to have supported or fought on the Republican side in Spain's cruel and devastating Civil War. Chief among them are Hortensia, who fought with the militia and is pregnant by her husband Felipe - a man still at large and fighting against Franco's dictatorship - and who lives with the knowledge that she will be shot after she gives birth; sixteen-year-old Elvira, who tried to leave Spain with her mother, but was arrested by the Falangists while she was boarding their ship; Tomasa, whose husband, four sons and daughter-in-law were thrown off a bridge; and Pepita, Hortensia's sister, who from outside the prison acts as messenger between her and her husband.
Dulce Chacón's deeply moving novel is based on the actual testimonies of a number of women who survived the Spanish Civil War, and suffered imprisonment under the France regime, as well as on accounts of others who died fighting for freedom. A bestseller in Spain, where it was voted 'Book of the year', The Sleeping Voice is remarkable for its combination of dramatic intensity and historical authenticity.
Published: 5 Jan 2006
"A Proustian journey into the interior, a dazzling psychodrama and, arguably, one of the best novels out of Spain in recent decades" Kirkus Reviews
On the day he is released from prison in Madrid, Leonardo learns of his parents' death in a car crash. He returns to their empty town house, a rich young man now, but with a life to reconstruct out of fragments. At first all he wants is to be atone to took over books, diaries, and old photographs, the mute witnesses to his own childhood and his parents' wretched marriage. But in time he concentrates on the Quinta Blanca, the white house by the cuff edge where his grandmother used to nourish him on stories, especially Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen".
When Leonardo revisits this childhood home at Christmas as the guest of its new owner, Casilda, he, too, has the sliver of ice removed from his heart by the one woman capable of doing so, and his own redemption is at hand.
The Farewell Angel is about storytelling, about the determining power of stories to harm and to heat. Centered around a lighthouse and the sea-washed rocks beneath it, this haunting novel is a triumph of subtle narrative by the prize-winning author of Variable Cloud.
An impassioned correspondence between two former school friends as they reach crisis in middle age, from the prize-winning Spanish novelist Carmen Martin Gaite
Sofia is a mother of three grown-up children and trapped in a loveless marriage to Eduardo. Mariana is a successful psychiatrist, incapable of forming stable relationships with men.
As their lives reach crises in middle age, these two women, former school friends who had grown apart, reach out to each other through an exchange of impassioned letters in Gaite's effusive epistolary novel.
Mariana, a psychiatrist and TV pundit, flees Madrid for a friend's empty house in a coastal resort, where she obsesses over Raimundo, a suicidal, manic-depressive writer who seems part friend, part patient, part lover. Her old friend, Sofia, walks out on her vain, hypercritical husband, Eduardo, a business executive who talks only about money, and moves in with her three rebellious children, who share a disorderly apartment.
In alternating voices mixing letters with notebook excerpts and invented stories, the two women relentlessly analyze their relationships, erotic fantasies and trips abroad. Strewn with allusions to Kafka, Dali, Bunuel, Tagore and Katherine Mansfield, their outpourings incorporate meditations on memory, love, sex, the treacherous nature of words, chance and the difficulty of confronting one's past without embellishing it.
Eleven executives are seated round a meeting room table. Their voices make up this novel. The president harangues them about cost cutting, restructuring, redundancy. As they feign attention the reader is privy to their most intimate thoughts.
There's the self-destructive violence of the former chief executive, the depraved cynicism of the man on the make, the gruelling daily routine of a working mother, the glacial despair of the HR director, the libidinous fantasies of the career bureaucrat. All have one thing in common: each of them, from the depths of their frustration, is at war with all the others.
At the centre of this Divine Comedy, like Lucifer with a business school sheen, reigns Rorty, the president, a blue-eyed corporate assassin. Gross Margin is a savage and hilarious novel about contemporary office life.
Published: 1 May 2008
The Keeper of Antiquities is simultaneously one of the great Russian modern novels and a key to understanding the terrible Stalinist purges of the late 1930s.
Set far from Moscow in the remote Kazakhstan capital of Alma-Ata, The Keeper of Antiquities begins with a leisurely, almost scholarly air - like a devious story by Borges. But very soon we find ourselves watching with horror as professional rivalry between the keeper of the town's museum and the chief librarian turns into a deadly struggle for control over the meaning of the past - and therefore over the present.
Published: 18 Dec 2012
As compulsively page-turning as a thriller, Carmen Martin Gaite's drama of broken dreams, lies, and the search for love is an intense meditation on the strange adventure of living
"Ever since the beginning of the world, living and dying have been two sides of one coin, tossed in the air - But for me - to be perfectly honest - living's the strange thing"
The protagonist of this novel, a 35-year-old woman who has lived hard and loved hard, has just lost her mother. Struggling to keep her curiosity about an inexplicable world intact, she finds her precarious equilibrium constantly besieged by resurfacing oddballs from her past and her own tendency to daydream. To force a little structure into her life, she decides to pick up her old, unfinished doctoral dissertation about an extravagant 18th century adventurer. As she wades through old papers in a dusty archive, she is forced to confront her own strange childhood, her parents' strange relationship, and the feelings that bond her to the strange architect she shares a life with.
A man's obsession with literature leads him to see the world through the eyes of fiction
Literature can be contagious; it can also be our only means of salvation. That at least is the experience of Montano, the 'unreliable narrator' of Enrique Vila-Matas' prize-winning novel, a man and a writer who is so obsessed with the books of certain celebrated contemporaries that he is unable to put pen to paper or utter a word without summoning up their work or their lives, and whose malady is that he finds it impossible to distinguish between real life and fictional reality. Part picaresque novel, part intimate diary, part memoir, part philosophical musings, Vila-Matas has created a labyrinth in which writers as various as Cervantes, Sterne, Kafka, Musil, Perec, Bolaño, Coetzee, Sebald and Magris cross endlessly surprising paths, while his protagonist leads the reader on an unsettling journey from European cities such as Nantes, Barcelona, Lisbon, Prague and Budapest to the Azores and the Chilean port of Valparaíso.
Yet for all the author's dazzling literary pyrotechnics, this is a novel that is always witty and accessible.
Published: 25 Jan 2016
Flight follows this troubled foster teenager - a boy who is not a 'legal' Indian because he was never claimed by his father - as he learns that violence is not the answer.
The journey for Flight's young hero begins as he's about to commit a massive act of violence. At the moment of the decision, he finds himself shot back through time to resurface in the body of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, where he sees why 'Hell is Red River, Idaho, in the 1970s'. Red River is only the first stop in an eye-opening trip through moments in American history. He will continue travelling back to inhabit the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Bighorn and then ride with an Indian tracker in the nineteenth century before materialising as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. During these travels through time, his refrain grows: 'Who's to judge?'
This novel seeks nothing less than an understanding of why human beings hate. Flight is irrepressible and fearless - Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant.
Published: 3 Jan 2008
David Lurie, middle-aged and twice divorced, is a scholar fallen into disgrace. After years teaching Romantic poetry at the Technical University of Cape Town, he has an impulsive affair with a student. The affair sours; he is denounced and summoned before a committee of inquiry. Willing to admit his guilt, but refusing to yield to pressure to repent publicly, he resigns and retreats to an isolated smallholding owned by his daughter Lucy.
For a time, his daughter's influence and the natural rhythms of the farm promise to harmonise his discordant life. He helps with the dogs in the kennels, takes produce to market, and assists with treating injured animals at a nearby refuge.
But the balance of power in the country is shifting. He and Lucy become victims of a savage and disturbing attack which brings into relief all the faultlines in their relationship.
Chilling, uncompromising and unforgettable, Disgrace is a masterpiece.
Published: 6 May 2010
For 14 year-old Daniel growing up in a poverty-stricken district of post-war Barcelona, a city where memories of Spanish agonising Civil War were still fresh, life was grey and rarely easy. His father had not returned from war and he lived with his mother, filling in time between school and starting work as a jeweller's apprentice by looking after an elderly, eccentric, retired sea captain.
All that enlivened the daily grind of economic hardship and dull routine were the occasional cross-border raids over the Pyrenees made by Republican sympathisers determined to destabilise Franco's government, and visits to the cinema. But there were also the magical stories told by the many colourful characters in this novel that are interwoven with the main narrative. Chief among them is that of Kim and his thrilling adventures in a mythical Shangai populated by gun-runners, ex-Nazis, beautiful women and sinister night club owners.
Dreams and reality fuse in this enchanting tale of human spirit and imagination triumphing over misery told by a master craftsman.
Published: 2 Mar 2006
Joan-Marc’s out of work, he’s alone, he has a heart condition, his mother’s addicted to pills, he can’t stand his sister. Otherwise, life is beautiful.
And there’s a lot that his estranged second wife doesn’t know about him. But in Divorce is in the Air he now sets out to tell her. He begins with the failure of his first marriage, describing a holiday taken in a last-ditch attempt to salvage a once passionate relationship.
Recalling this ill-fated trip triggers a life-story’s worth of flashbacks. From pivotal childhood scenes – his earliest sexual encounters, his father’s suicide – he moves on through the years, hopscotching between Barcelona and Madrid, describing a life of indulgence and of appetites.
The result is an unapologetic, daring, acerbic novel by an electrifying young writer about love and the end of love, and how hard it can be to let go.
Brett is in Central America, away from her husband, Paul, when she meets his friend Eduard. Though unimpressed with him at first, the two soon launch into a passionate affair.
Unlike stable Paul, Eduard encourages Brett’s dark side. Her sobriety soon slips out of her grasp, and she finds herself on a downward spiral of sneaking off for weeks with her lover and blacking out in hotels. Brett still has the clarity to see that she is destroying her life, but is unable to stop.
Though coming undone is something we all try to avoid, Love in Central America is a fiery, powerful novel, marrying tragedy and comedy, that reminds us that going off the rails is sometimes part of the ride.
‘Cheating on your husband is like doing cocaine,’ says Brett at one point. ‘It’s rarely pleasurable, but try quitting.’
Published: 4 Aug 2016
NAMED AS AN EDGAR AWARDS FINALIST 2017: BEST FIRST NOVEL
The death mask of Montezuma. A priceless artefact.
Lost. Looted. Sold. Stolen. Traded. Hunted. Wanted. Needed.
Anna has just discovered her father’s credibility as a renowned art collector is in ruins and her own reputation as a fact checker is in tatters.
But she has a chance to redeem herself, to restore both her and her father. She needs to go to Mexico, find the mask, and bring it to America where it will form the focal point of a new exhibition.
But other people want that mask – and they will stop at nothing to get it.
Lili Wright's exuberant, energetic, exciting debut takes us into a world of heat, colour and danger, where to survive Anna must negotiate with criminals, flatter the powerful and take her life in her hands.
The path to true love rarely runs smoothly...
Teo, a medical student, meets Clarice at a party. Teo doesn’t really like people, they’re too messy, but he immediately realises that he and Clarice are meant to be together. And if Clarice doesn’t accept that? Well, they just need to spend some time together, and she’ll come to realise that too.
And yes, he has bought handcuffs and yes, he has taken her prisoner and yes, he is lying to her mother and to his mother and to the people at the hotel he’s keeping her at, but it’s all for her own good.
She’ll understand. She’ll fall in love. She’ll settle down and be his loving wife.
Shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2017
A finalist for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize
My sister Silência was the most recent victim of the lions, which have been tormenting our village for some weeks now…
When Mariamar Mpepe’s sister is killed by lions, her father imprisons her at home. With only the ghost of her sister for company, she dreams of escape, and of the hunter who abandoned her years before.
I’m the last of the hunters. And this is my last hunt.
Archangel Bullseye, born into a long line of marksmen, is summoned back to Kulumani. But as he tracks the lions in the surrounding wilderness, his suspicions grow – that the darkest threats lie not outside the village, but at its very heart.
What was happening was what always happened: The lions were coming back…
Set in a forgotten corner of East Africa haunted by superstition, tradition and the shades of civil war, this is a struggle that blurs the savagery of nature, and the savagery of man.
'My first mistake was to be heterosexual.'
Such is one of several complaints in the first of four conversations between Henry Hart - who is a married father of two young girls - and his long-time friend, Darius Saddler - who is gay and unattached.
It is just over a year since the two men last met. Crippled and humiliated by debt, Hart - a dealer in antique maps - has managed to ruin his marriage, to commit an undeniable act of theft, and to become a suspect in France for a very serious crime.
With a lover on the side, a stolen map in his pocket, an ace French detective on his trail, a wife who is unusually cold and in the know, it is time for Hart to enlist the help of his oldest friend.
Confessions of a Map Dealer relates the attempts of Hart and Saddler to knit their lives together again, and to extricate Hart from the myriad problems he has brought upon himself.
A mystery, a one-sided love story, a tale of guilt, blackmail and self-delusion, Confessions of a Map Dealer is an intricate comedy of errors from a celebrated practitioner of the genre.