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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
Italy, June 1300. In a disused church on the outskirts of Florence, the master craftsman, Ambrogio, is found murdered at the foot of an unfinished mosaic.
A young Dante Alighieri, (future author of The Divine Comedy) the recently elected Prior to the City of Florence, is called upon to investigate. He learns that the church is being transformed into a university at the behest of the new Pope, Bonifacius VIII. Closer inspection reveals catacombs beneath the floor, populated with beggars and thieves, who speak of witchcraft and satanic rituals practised above. Meanwhile, the Church, on learning of Dante's involvement, begins to show an unusual interest in Ambrogio's fate.
But Dante has one further lead; Ambrogio belonged to a society of learned men, The Third Heaven. Dante hears they are in Florence for the founding of the new university, and believes that if he can infiltrate this group he may uncover the significance of Ambrogio's work. Perhaps the key to the murder is the mosaic itself.
Leoni sets this clever thriller in a city on edge, nervously recovering from civil war. Medieval Florence is portrayed with stunning clarity; a city on the cusp of the Renaissance, in which new learning - in the guise of Dante - takes on the dark forces of old. The Third Heaven Conspiracy is a breathtaking whodunnit.
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
Per Petterson masters the art of writing simply about big subjects, and this is the heartwarming debut that brought the author of the highly acclaimed Out Stealing Horses to prominence
Arvid Jansen is a young boy who lives on the outskirts of Oslo. It’s the early sixties, his father works in a shoe factory and his Danish mother works as a cleaner. Arvid wets his bed at night and has nightmares about crocodiles, but slowly he is beginning to piece the world together.
Per Petterson’s debut, in which he introduces Arvid Jansen to the world, is a delicate portrait of childhood in all its complexity, its wonders and confusions that will delight fans of Out Stealing Horses and new readers alike.
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.
Wind/Pinball includes Haruki Murakami’s first two novels, published back-to-back, available for the first time in English outside Japan. With a new introduction by the author.
Published as a reversible hardback
'If you’re the sort of guy who raids the refrigerators of silent kitchens at three o’clock in the morning, you can only write accordingly.
That’s who I am.'
Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 are Haruki Murakami’s earliest novels. They follow the fortunes of the narrator and his friend, known only by his nickname, the Rat. In Hear the Wind Sing the narrator is home from college on his summer break. He spends his time drinking beer and smoking in J’s Bar with the Rat, listening to the radio, thinking about writing and the women he has slept with, and pursuing a relationship with a girl with nine fingers.
Three years later, in Pinball, 1973, he has moved to Tokyo to work as a translator and live with indistinguishable twin girls, but the Rat has remained behind, despite his efforts to leave both the town and his girlfriend. The narrator finds himself haunted by memories of his own doomed relationship but also, more bizarrely, by his short-lived obsession with playing pinball in J’s Bar. This sends him on a quest to find the exact model of pinball machine he had enjoyed playing years earlier: the three-flipper Spaceship.
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
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
Jola is a beautiful and privileged soap star who wants very much to be taken seriously; her partner Theo is a middle-aged author with writers’ block. In an attempt to further her career, Jola is determined to land the lead role in a new film about underwater photographer and model Lotte Hass.
To improve her chances, the couple travel to Lanzarote and hire diving instructor Sven, paying him a large sum for exclusive tuition. Sven is meticulously planning his most ambitious expedition yet – to an untouched wreck 100 metres down on the ocean floor. Diving calls for a cool head and, as a sinister love triangle develops, events rapidly get out of hand. But whose story do we trust - Sven's or Jola's?
Deliciously claustrophobic, smart, and unrelentingly intense, this psychological thriller with shades of Patricia Highsmith will leave readers gasping for air.
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.
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
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.
"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
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.
Bea Britt lives alone in her grandmother’s house in west Oslo. Early one morning, she wakes to find a police hunt outside her window and drama unfolding on her TV. Volunteers are scouring the local woods looking for Emilie, a missing schoolgirl.
Emilie's rucksack is found in Bea Britt's garden. But as her spiralling doubts and suspicions take over, is she a suspect, a witness or a potential second victim?
The mystery of Emilie’s disappearance and Bea Britt’s story are intricately bound to the lives of two other women: Bea Britt’s grandmother Cecilie, a troubled 1930s housewife whose marriage has broken down, and university student Beate, who is desperate for love but plagued by uncertainty.
Only Human is a rich, urgent novel about family, enduring oneself and others, and what is needed when life wears thin. It lays bare the hopes, dreams, fears and failures of three infinitely human characters, and is delicately revealing of the choices that shape a human life and our quest for companionship and love.
"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.
Published: 21 Jan 2013