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If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
A little black girl opens her eyes in 1930s Harlem. Around her, a heady swirl of passers-by, car horns, kerosene lamps, the stock market falling, fried bananas, tales of her parents' native Grenada. She trudges to public school along snowy sidewalks, and finds she is tongue-tied, legally blind, left behind by her older sisters. On she stumbles through teenage hardships -- suicide, abortion, hunger, a Christmas spent alone -- until she emerges into happiness: an oasis of friendship in Washington Heights, an affair in a dirty factory in Connecticut, and, finally, a journey down to the heat of Mexico, discovering sex, tenderness, and suppers of hot tamales and cold milk. This is Audre Lorde's story. It is a rapturous, life-affirming tale of independence, love, work, strength, sexuality and change, rich with poetry and fierce emotional power.
Published: 5 Jul 2018
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'.
'A rollicking god among boxing writers ... before Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson were out of diapers, Liebling was taking his readers on excursions through the hidden and often hilarious levels of this bruised subculture ... the Master' Los Angeles Times
'Nobody wrote about boxing with more grace and enthusiasm' The New York Times
George Orwell's moving reflections on the English character and his passionate belief in the need for political change.
The Lion and the Unicorn was written in London during the worst period of the blitz. It is vintage Orwell, a dynamic outline of his belief in socialism, patriotism and an English revolution. His fullest political statement, it has been described as 'one of the most moving and incisive portraits of the English character' and is as relevant now as it ever has been.
The moving portrayal of life in the trenches in WW1, now a new film from the director of Suite Française, starring Sam Clafin, Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham and Asa Butterfield
Set in the First World War, Journey's End is the story of a group of British officers on the front line, in a dugout in the trenches in France. Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed. Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of Journey's End in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic.
'Its unrelenting tension, and its regard for human decency in a vast world of human waste, are impressive and, even now, moving' Clive Barnes
'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.
'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
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.
Published: 1 Jun 2017
'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
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 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.
'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.
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.
Published: 23 Mar 2017
'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
A remarkable collection of dark, funny and haunting short stories from the inimitable author of 'The Lottery'.
An anxious devil, an elderly writer of poison pen letters and a mid-century Jack the Ripper; a pursuit though a nightmarish city, a small boy's thrilling train ride with a female thief, and a town where the possibility of evil lurks behind perfect rose bushes. This is the world of Shirley Jackson, by turns frightening, funny, strange and unforgettably revealed in this brilliant collection of short stories.
'Jackson at her best: plumbing the extraordinary from the depths of mid-twentieth-century common. [Just an Ordinary Day] is a gift to a new generation' - San Francisco Chronicle
'For Jackson devotees, as well as first-time readers, this is a feast ... A virtuoso collection' - Publishers Weekly
A superb new translation by Michael Hofmann of some of Kafka's most frightening and visionary short fiction
Strange beasts, night terrors, absurd bureaucrats and sinister places abound in this collection of stories by Franz Kafka. Some are less than a page long, others more substantial; all were unpublished in his lifetime. These matchless short works range from the gleeful miniature horror 'Little Fable' to the off-kilter humour of 'Investigations of a Dog', and from the elaborate waking nightmare of 'Building the Great Wall of China' to the creeping unease of 'The Burrow', where a nameless creature's labyrinthine hiding place turns into a trap of fear and paranoia.
Hayes's masterpiece is an exquisite depiction of a doomed love affair set in noirish, 1950s New York.
In a Manhattan bar, a middle-aged man tells a pretty girl a story: of how he fell into a relationship with a lonely young divorcee; of how one night she was offered a thousand dollars to sleep with a stranger; and of how he and she would subsequently betray each other in turn. In Alfred Hayes's exquisite novella, love - in all its bewildering turns of longing, elation, heartbreak and regret - is dissected with unforgettable honesty and heartbreaking clarity.
'An eerily prescient foreshadowing of current affairs' Guardian
'Not only Lewis's most important book but one of the most important books ever produced in the United States' New Yorker
A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fearmongering demagogue runs for President of the United States - and wins. Sinclair Lewis's chilling 1935 bestseller is the story of Buzz Windrip, 'Professional Common Man', who promises poor, angry voters that he will make America proud and prosperous once more, but takes the country down a far darker path. As the new regime slides into authoritarianism, newspaper editor Doremus Jessup can't believe it will last - but is he right? This cautionary tale of liberal complacency in the face of populist tyranny shows it really can happen here.
The first volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades
'On a February day in the year AD 638 the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem, riding upon a white camel'
An enthralling work of grand historical narrative, Steven Runciman's A History of the Crusades overturned the traditional view of the Crusades as a romantic Christian adventure, and instead shifted the focus of the story to the East. With verve and drama, volume one of Runciman's trilogy tells the story of the First Crusade - from its unlikely beginnings in pilgrimage to the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem and the carving out of new territory on the edge of the eastern Mediterranean.
'Without question one of the major feats of contemporary historical writing' The New York Times
'The historian whose magisterial works transformed our understanding of Byzantium, the medieval church and the crusades' Guardian
Published: 24 Nov 2016
The third volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades
'The whole tale is one of faith and folly, courage and greed, hope and disillusion'
Steven Runciman's triumphant three-volume A History of the Crusades remains an unsurpassed account of the events that changed the world and continue to resonate today. This final volume of the trilogy begins with the glamorous Third Crusade and ends with the ruinous collapse of the crusader states and the degeneration of their ideals, which reached its nadir in the tragic destruction of Byzantium.
'When historical events are written about with this sort of command, they take on not only the universality of a fairy tale but also a certain moral weight. Runciman writes both seductively and instructively about the dignity and beauty of different religious beliefs and about the difficulties of their co-existence' Independent
Published: 24 Nov 2016