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The Pitards

Georges Simenon (Author)

'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 (Author) , Helen Lane (Translator)

'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 (Author) , Michael Hofmann (Translator)

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.

The Collected Short Stories

Jean Rhys (Author)

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).

Decline and Fall

Evelyn Waugh (Author)

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 (Author)

'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

Just an Ordinary Day

Shirley Jackson (Author)

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

The Burrow

Franz Kafka (Author) , Michael Hofmann (Translator)

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.

In Love

Alfred Hayes (Author)

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.

It Can't Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis (Author)

'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 Secret Life of Walter Mitty

James Thurber (Author)

Walter Mitty is an ordinary man living an ordinary life. But he has dreams - vivid, extraordinary day dreams - in which the life he leads is one of excitement and even adventure, in which he - a weary, put upon middle-aged man - is the hero of his own story.

A man can dream, can't he?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is just one of the brilliant humorous and witty stories written by James Thurber and collected here.

The Snow Was Dirty

Georges Simenon (Author) , Howard Curtis (Translator)

A brilliant new translation of Simenon's critically acclaimed masterpiece.

'And always the dirty snow, the heaps of snow that look rotten, with black patches and embedded garbage ... unable to cover the filth.'

Nineteen-year-old Frank - thug, thief, son of a brothel owner - gets by surprisingly well despite living in a city under military occupation, but a warm house and a full stomach are not enough to make him feel truly alive in such a climate of deceit and betrayal. During a bleak, unending winter, he embarks on a string of violent and sordid crimes that set him on a path from which he can never return. Georges Simenon's matchless novel is a brutal, compelling portrayal of a world without pity; a devastating journey through a psychological no-man's land.

'Among the best novels of the twentieth century' New Yorker

'An astonishing work' John Banville

'So noir it makes Raymond Chandler look beige' Independent

The Hand

Georges Simenon (Author) , Linda Coverdale (Translator)

A new translation of George Simenon's taut, devastating psychological novel set in American suburbia. The inspiration for the new play by award-winning playwright David Hare.

'I had begun, God knows why, tearing a corner off of everyday truth, begun seeing myself in another kind of mirror, and now the whole of the old, more or less comfortable truth was falling to pieces'

Confident and successful, New York advertising executive Ray Sanders takes what he wants from life. When he goes missing in a snow storm in Connecticut one evening, his closest friend begins to reassess his loyalties, gambling Ray's fate and his own future.

'The romans durs are extraordinary: tough, bleak, offhandedly violent, suffused with guilt and bitterness, redolent of place . . . utterly unsentimental, frightening in the pitilessness of their gaze, yet wonderfully entertaining' John Banville

'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian

'A supreme writer . . . unforgettable vividness' Independen

Mortal Engines

Stanislaw Lem (Author)

'A virtuoso storyteller ... a Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age' The New York Times

'He was a robot-hypochondriac. On his squeaking cart he carried a complete set of spare parts.'

A freighter pilot leads a manhunt across the Moon for a robot gone berserk; a shapeshifting assassin falls in love with the man she's programmed to kill; a paranoid King converts his kingdom into his artificial mind, but his dreams rebel. These stories range from surreal fables that satirically turn the fairy tale on its head, to longer works including the man vs. robot thriller, 'The Hunt', and possibly fiction's strangest love story, 'The Mask'. InMortal Engines Stanislaw Lem lays bare humanity's clash with machines, masterfully exploring science fiction's furthest frontiers.

The Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories

Joost Zwagerman (Edited by)

'The stories here will provoke, delight and impress. Joost Zwagerman's selection forms a fascinating guidebook to a landscape you'll surely want to wander in again.' Clare Lowden, TLS

'There is a lot of northern European melancholy in the collection, though often tinged with wry humour...an excellent book' Jonathan Gibbs, Minor Literatures

'We were kids - but good kids. If I may say so myself. We're much smarter now, so smart it's pathetic. Except for Bavink, who went crazy'

A husband forms gruesome plans for his new fridge; a government employee has a haunting experience on his commute home; prisoners serve as entertainment for wealthy party guests; an army officer suffers a monstrous tropical illness. These short stories contain some of the most groundbreaking and innovative writing in Dutch literature from 1915 to the present day, with most pieces appearing here in English for the first time. Blending unforgettable snapshots of the realities of everyday life with surrealism, fantasy and subversion, this collection shows Dutch writing to be an integral part of world literary history.


Joost Zwagerman (1963-2015) was a novelist, poet, essayist and editor of several anthologies. He started his career as a writer with bestselling novels, describing the atmosphere of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Gimmick!(1988) and False Light (1991). In later years, he concentrated on writing essays - notably on pop culture and visual arts - and poetry. Suicide was the theme of the novel Six Stars (2002). He took his own life just after having published a new collection of essays on art, The Museum of Light.

Riceyman Steps

Arnold Bennett (Author)

Henry Earlforward, a shabby Clerkenwell bookseller, has retired from life to devote himself (and his wife Violet) to a consuming passion for money. Miserliness becomes a fatal illness and Bennett gives a terrifying description of its ravages. But the book's horrible situation is saved through the character of Elsie - whose life-affirming refusal to engage with the nightmarish world of the bookseller transforms the story.

Bennett wished in Riceyman Steps to create an English novel as powerful as anything by Balzac, the writer he most admired, with the same sense of great human issues being played out within the confines of a household. The result is an unforgettable work which is also a gripping description of the harsh, battered London of the period just after the First World War.

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: 2

Philip Hensher (Edited by)

'Eclectic, entertaining ... almost all British, if not human, life is here' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'Mind-stretching, heart-breaking, beautifully-crafted fiction' Claire Harman, Evening Standard

'She would tear the house down - shatter the windows, slash the furniture, flood the baths, fire the curtains!'

Hilarious, exuberant, surreal, subtle, tender, brutal, spectacular and above all unexpected: this extraordinary selection celebrates the British short story from the 1920s to the present day. From Angela Carter to V. S. Pritchett, Elizabeth Taylor to J. G. Ballard, Ali Smith to a host of little-known works from magazines and periodicals, and including tales of air-raids, phone sex, snobbery, modern-day slavery, grief, desire, the familiar and the strange, here is the short story in all its limitless possibilities.

Edited and with an introduction by Philip Hensher, the award-winning novelist, critic and journalist.

The Great Science Fiction

H. G. Wells (Author)

'No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's'

Exploring the primordial nightmares that lurk within humanity's dreams of progress and technology, H. G. Wells was a science fiction pioneer. This new omnibus edition brings together four of his hugely original and influential science-fiction novels - The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds - with his most unsettling and strange short stories. Containing monstrous experiments, terrifying journeys, alien occupiers and grotesque creatures, these visionary tales discomfit and disturb, and retain the power to trouble our sense of who we are.

With an introduction by Matthew Beaumont

Let Me Tell You

Shirley Jackson (Author) , Laurence Jackson Hyman (Edited by)

From the peerless author of The Lottery and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, this is a treasure trove of deliciously dark and funny stories, essays, lectures, letters and drawings.

Let Me Tell You brings together the brilliantly eerie short stories Jackson is best known for with frank and inspiring lectures on writing; comic essays she wrote about her large, rowdy family; and revelatory personal letters and drawings. Jackson's landscape here is most frequently domestic - dinner parties, children's games and neighbourly gossip - but one that is continually threatened and subverted in her unsettling, inimitable prose. This collection is the first opportunity to see Shirley Jackson's radically different modes of writing side by side, revealing her to be a magnificent storyteller, a sharp, sly humorist and a powerful feminist.

'The stories range from sketches and anecdotes to complete and genuinely unsettling tales, somewhat alarming and very creepy ... The whole of the book offers insights into the vagaries of her mind, which was ruminant and generous ... For those of us whose imaginations, and creative ambitions, were ignited by 'The Lottery', Jackson remains one of the great practitioners of the literature of the darker impulses' - Paul Theroux, New York Times

'Shirley Jackson made a reputation with a short story in 1948. Like a lot of people I read 'The Lottery' when I was young, in an anthology of short stories from the New Yorker, and never forgot it. Let Me Tell You is a rich, enjoyable compendium of her unpublished short fiction and occasional writings, kicking off with a story of a dozen pages, 'Paranoia', which I won't forget, either' - Tom Stoppard, TLS Books of the Year

Anna of the Five Towns

Arnold Bennett (Author) , Frank Swinnerton (Introducer)

'Deeply moving, original, and dealing with material that I had never encountered in fiction, but only in life' Margaret Drabble

Growing up in the world of the 'five towns' of industrial England, with their furnaces and chimneys, huddled red-brown streets, prayer meetings and small-minded bigotry, Anna is dominated by her miserly and tyrannical father. When she inherits a fortune and finds love, she struggles to break free from the constraints upon her, even though she is torn between duty and her deepest feelings. Arnold's novel of parental tyranny and rebellion is a portrayal of a woman of great spirit, complexity and integrity.

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