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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
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.
Jean Giono (Author) , Barbara Bray (Translator) , Harry Brockway (Illustrator) , Richard Mabey (Introducer)
A beautiful gift edition of this classic fable about one man's quest to create a forest, with a new introduction by Richard Mabey.
In 1910, while hiking through the wild lavender in a wind-swept, desolate valley in Provence, a man comes across a shepherd called Elzéard Bouffier. Staying with him, he watches Elzéard sorting and then planting hundreds of acorns as he walks through the wilderness.
Ten years later, after the war, he visits the shepherd again and sees the young forest he has created spreading slowly over the valley. Elzéard’s solitary, silent work continues and the narrator returns year after year to see the miracle he is gradually creating: a verdant, green landscape that is a testament to one man’s creative instinct.
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
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.
Published: 21 Jan 2013
Jacquie Red Feather and her sister Opal grew up together, relying on each other during their unsettled childhood. As adults they were driven apart, but Jacquie is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. That’s why she is there.
Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle's death. Edwin is looking for his true father. Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are connected by bonds they may not yet understand.
All of them are there for the celebration of culture that is the Big Oakland Powwow.
But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powwow with darker intentions.
'There There is a propulsive, groundbreaking novel, polyphonic and multigenerational, weaving together an array of contemporary Native American voices into a singularly dynamic and original meta-narrative about violence and recovery, about family and loss, about identity and power.' Derek Palacio
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
'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.
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 Mafia and the Ten Commandments meet in these interlinked short stories about the undebelly of Naples. Ten uncovers the raw heart of a city, telling the stories of ordinary people forced to make extraordinary compromises in a place permeated by crime.
We encounter a son who finds that he is capable of a terrible act when faced with his mother’s suffering 'because someone had to do it'; a girl whose only outlet for the horrors of an adult’s abuse is to confide in a stuffed toy; an ancient nightclub singer whose ambition has led him to become a drug tester for a Mafia boss; and Ray-Ban who, during a night of mayhem with his friends, manages to steal the wrong car and pays dearly for it.
Each comes to life with painful precision in the hands of Andrej Longo – their fears, regrets, energy and grace. In direct and sometimes brutally raw prose, he conjures a searing new vision of Naples. With the lightest of brush strokes, Longo builds a vivid portrait of a city, its people, and their dreams of escape.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2016 STELLA PRIZE
We travel to find ourselves; to run away from ourselves.
‘A Guide to Berlin’ is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin.
A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way by the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone’s story.
Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets.
"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
Almut and Alma, two young Brazilian women, set out from São Paulo and wind up in Australia. Alma is recovering from a traumatic attack. She has always loved the art of the Renaissance. Specifically, she is captivated by angels - the way they fly, their stillness, what they might sound like, how they are represented. But what the women share is a fascination for Australia and its ancient peoples; their ceremonies, sand drawings and body paintings.
Here, Alma begins an affair with an Aboriginal man, an artist, though he tells her that it can only last a week. He must shortly return to his people.
The women become involved with the Angel Project in Perth, where actors dressed as angels are concealed around the city for the public to track down. The angels must remain still and silent, whatever response they provoke in the viewer.
In a seemingly unconnected story, a man staying at a remote Alpine spa unexpectedly meets a woman he encountered years before and with whom he shared a single night. It was in a faraway city and she was dressed as an angel.
Lost Paradise is a tale of great charm and brilliance from one of Europe's greatest writers.
Published: 5 Jul 2007
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
Fredrik Welin is a seventy-year-old retired doctor. Years ago he retreated to the Swedish archipelago, where he lives alone on an island. He swims in the sea every day, cutting a hole in the ice if necessary. He lives a quiet life. Until he wakes up one night to find his house on fire.
Fredrik escapes just in time, wearing two left-footed wellies, as neighbouring islanders arrive to help douse the flames. All that remains in the morning is a stinking ruin and evidence of arson. The house that has been in his family for generations and all his worldly belongings are gone. He cannot think who would do such a thing, or why. Without a suspect, the police begin to think he started the fire himself.
Tackling love, loss and loneliness, After the Fire is Henning Mankell’s compelling last novel.
Reykjavík, August 1941. When a travelling salesman is found murdered in a basement flat, killed by a bullet from a Colt .45, the police initially suspect a member of the Allied occupation force.
The British are in the process of handing over to the Americans and the streets are crawling with servicemen whose relations with the local women are a major cause for concern.
Flóvent, Reykjavík’s sole detective, is joined by the young military policeman Thorson. Their investigation focuses on a family of German residents, the retired doctor Rudolf Lunden and his estranged son Felix, who is on the run, suspected of being a spy.
Flóvent and Thorson race to solve the case and to stay ahead of US counter-intelligence, amid rumours of a possible visit by Churchill. As evidence emerges of dubious experiments carried out on Icelandic schoolboys in the 1930s,Thorson becomes increasingly suspicious of the role played by the murdered man’s former girlfriend, Vera, and her British soldier lover.
When the university merged his Department of Linguistics with English, Professor Desmond Bates took early retirement, but he is not enjoying it. He misses the purposeful routine of the academic year, and has lost his appetite for research.
His wife Winifred's late-flowering career goes from strength to strength, reducing his role to that of escort and househusband, while the rejuvenation of her appearance makes him uneasily conscious of the age gap between them. The monotony of his days is relieved only by wearisome journeys to London to check on the welfare of his eighty-nine-year-old father, an ex dance musician who stubbornly refuses to move from the house he is patently unable to live in with safety.
But these discontents are nothing compared to the affliction of hearing loss, which is a constant source of domestic friction and social embarrassment. In the popular imagination, he observes, deafness is comic, as blindness is tragic, but for the deaf person himself it is no joke. It is through his deafness that Desmond inadvertently gets involved with a young woman whose wayward and unpredictable behaviour threatens to destabilise his life completely.
Funny and moving by turns, Deaf Sentence is a brilliant account of one man's effort to come to terms with deafness and death, ageing and mortality, the comedy and tragedy of human lives.
Here, for the first time in one volume, is J. M. Coetzee's majestic trilogy of fictionalised memoir, Boyhood, Youth and Summertime.
Scenes from Provincial Life opens in a small town in the South Africa of the 1940s. We meet a young boy who, at home, is ill at ease with his father and stifled by his mother's unconditional love. At school he passes every test that is set for him, but he remains wary of his fellow pupils, especially the rough Afrikaners.
As a student of mathematics in Cape Town he readies himself to escape his homeland, travel to Europe and turn himself into an artist. Once in London, however, the reality is dispiriting: he toils as a computer programmer, inhabits a series of damp, dreary flats and is haunted by loneliness and boredom. He is a constitutional outsider. He fails to write.
Decades later, an English biographer researches a book about the late John Coetzee, particularly the period following his return to South Africa from America. Interviewees describe an awkward man still living with his father, a man who insists on performing dull manual labour. His family regard him with suspicion and he is dogged by rumours: that he crossed the authorities in America, that he writes poetry.
Scenes from Provincial Life is a heartbreaking and often very funny portrait of the artist by one of the world's greatest writers.
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
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