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Nineteen Eighty-four

George Orwell (Author)

Renowned urban artist Shepard Fairey's new look for Orwell's classic dystopian tale

One of Britain's most popular novels, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in a society terrorised by a totalitarian ideology propagated by The Party.

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. . .

Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime. The novel also coined many new words and phrases which regular appear in popular culture, such as 'Big Brother', 'thoughtcrime', 'doublethink' and 'Newspeak'.

Animal Farm

George Orwell (Author)

Renowned urban artist Shepard Fairey's new look for Orwell's timeless satire

'All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.'

Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges. . .

Animal Farm - the history of a revolution that went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power.

Animal Farm

George Orwell (Author) , Malcolm Bradbury (Introducer)

'All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others'

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.

'It is the history of a revolution that went wrong - and of the excellent excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the original doctrine,' wrote Orwell for the first edition of Animal Farm in 1945. Orwell wrote the novel at the end of 1943, but it almost remained unpublished; its savage attack on Stalin, at that time Britain's ally, led to the book being refused by publisher after publisher. Orwell's simple, tragic fable has since become a world-famous classic.

This Penguin Modern classics edition includes an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury.

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad (Author)

'Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire.'

Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz. Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz's extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling.

Cat's Cradle

Kurt Vonnegut (Author) , Benjamin Kunkel (Introducer)

Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle is an irreverent and highly entertaining fantasy about the playful irresponsibility of nuclear scientists, beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.

'All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.'

Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding fathers of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he is the inventor of Ice-nine, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker's three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness.

Will Felix Hoenikker's death wish come true? Will his last, fatal gift to humankind bring about the end that, for all of us, is nigh?

Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global apocalypse preys on our deepest fears of witnessing the end and, worse still, surviving it . . .

'The time to read Vonnegut is just when you begin to suspect that the world is not what it appears to be. He is not only entertaining, he is electrocuting. You read him with enormous pleasure because he makes your hair stand on end' New York Times

'One of the warmest, wisest, funniest voices to be found anywhere in fiction' Daily Telegraph

'Vonnegut has looked the world straight in the eye and never flinched' J. G. Ballard

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922. He studied at the universities of Chicago and Tennessee and later began to write short stories for magazines. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1951 and was followed by The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You Mr Rosewater (1964), Welcome to the Monkey House (1968); a collection of short stories, Slaughterhouse Five (1969), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick, or Lonesome No More (1976), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1988), Hocus Pocus (1990) and Timequake (1997). He is also the author of a number of collections of short stories and essays. Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007.

Steppenwolf

Herman Hesse (Author) , Walter Sorell (Revised by), Basil Creighton (Translator)

'The unhappiness that I need and long for . . . is of the kind that will let me suffer with eagerness and die with lust. That is the unhappiness, or happiness, that I am waiting for.'

Alienated from society, Harry Haller is the Steppenwolf, wild, strange and shy. His despair and desire for death draw him into an enchanted, Faust-like underworld. Through a series of shadowy encounters, romantic, freakish and savage by turn, Haller begins to rediscover the lost dreams of his youth.

Adopted by the Sixties counterculture, Steppenwolf captured the mood of a disaffected generation that was beginning to question everything.

A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess (Author)

A Clockwork Orange is the daring and electrifying book by Anthony Burgess that inspired one of the most notorious films ever made, beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.

'What's it going to be then, eh?'

In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him - but at what cost?

Social prophecy? Black comedy? Study of freewill? A Clockwork Orange is all of these. It is also a dazzling experiment in language, as Burgess creates a new language - 'nadsat', the teenage slang of a not-too-distant future.

'Every generation should discover this book' Time Out

'A gruesomely witty cautionary tale' Time

'Not only about man's violent nature and his capacity to choose between good and evil. It is about the excitements and intoxicating effects of language' Daily Telegraph

'I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language...a very funny book' William S. Burroughs

'One of the cleverest and most original writers of his generation' The Times

Anthony Burgess was born in Manchester in 1917. He studied English at Manchester University and joined the army in 1940 where he spent six years in the Education Corps. After demobilization, he worked first as a college lecturer in Speech and Drama and then as a grammar-school master before becoming an education officer in the Colonial Service, stationed in Malay and Borneo. In 1959 Burgess was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and decided to become a full-time writer. Despite being given less than a year to live, Burgess went on to write at least a book a year - including A Clockwork Orange (1962), M/F (1971), Man of Nazareth (1979), Earthly Powers (1980) and The Kingdom of the Wicked (1985) - and hundreds of book reviews right up until his death. He was also a prolific composer and produced many full-scale works for orchestra and other media during his lifetime. Anthony Burgess died in 1993.

A Room with a View

E M Forster (Author)

E.M.Forster's delightfully satiric comedy of manners A Room with a View is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.

'You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you . . .'

Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance.

Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Pertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.

Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Victorian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

A Room with a View is a sunny, brilliantly witty comedy of manners.

'He says, and even more implies, things that no other novelist does, and we can go on reading Forster indefinitely' The Times

'I loved it. My first intimation of the possibilities of fiction' Zadie Smith

Edward Morgan Forster was born in London in 1879. He studied at King's College, Cambridge. He wrote six novels, four of which appeared before the First World War, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908) and Howard's End (1910). An interval of fourteen years elapsed before he published A Passage to India. It won both the Prix Femina Vie Heuruse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He last novel, Maurice, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories and a number of non-fiction books. E. M. Forster died in 1970.

The Thin Man

Dashiell Hammett (Author)

'When I opened my eyes and sat up in bed Nora was shaking me and a man with a gun in his hand was standing in the bedroom doorway.'

Ex-detective Nick Charles attracts trouble like a magnet. He thinks his sleuthing days are over, but when Julia Wolf, a former acquaintance, is found dead, her body riddled with bullets, Nick - along with his glamorous wife, Nora - can't resist making a few enquiries. Clyde Miller Wynant, Julia's lover and boss, has disappeared. Everyone is after him, but Nick is not convinced Wynant is the murderer - and when he finds a junked-up hoodlum with a careless attitude to guns in his bedroom, it's only the beginning of his troubles.

Cold Comfort Farm

Stella Gibbons (Author)

A Hay Festival and The Poole VOTE 100 BOOKS for Women Selection

A hilarious and merciless parody of rural melodramas and one of the best-loved comic novels of all time, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.

'We are not like other folk, maybe, but there have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm...'

Sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste has been expensively educated to do everything but earn a living. When she is orphaned at twenty, she decides her only option is to descend on relatives - the doomed Starkadders at the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm.

There is Judith in a scarlet shawl, heaving with remorse for an unspoken wickedness; raving old Ada Doom, who once saw something nasty in the woodshed; lustful Seth and despairing Reuben, Judith's two sons; and there is Amos, preaching fire and damnation to one and all.

As the sukebind flowers, Flora takes each of the family in hand and brings order to their chaos.

Cold Comfort Farm is a sharp and clever parody of the melodramatic and rural novel.

'Very probably the funniest book ever written' Sunday Times

'Screamingly funny and wildly subversive' Marian Keyes, Guardian

'Delicious ... Cold Comfort Farm has the sunniness of a P. G. Wodehouse and the comic aplomb of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop' Independent

'One of the finest parodies written in English...a wickedly brilliant skit' Robert Macfarlane, Guardian

Stella Gibbons was born in London in 1902. She went to North London Collegiate School and studied journalism at University College, London. She then worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard. Her first publication was a book of poems, The Mountain Beast (1930), and her first novel, Cold Comfort Farm (1932), won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize. Amongst her other novels are Miss Linsey and Pa (1936), Nightingale Wood (1938), Westwood (1946), Conference at Cold Comfort Farm (1949) and Beside the Pearly Water (1954). Stella Gibbons died in 1989.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Muriel Spark (Author)

A Hay Festival and The Poole VOTE 100 BOOKS for Women Selection

Muriel Spark's classic The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie features a schoolmistress you'll never forget, in this beautifully repackaged Penguin Essentials edition.

'Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life . . .'

Passionate, free-thinking and unconventional, Miss Brodie is a teacher who exerts a powerful influence over her group of 'special girls' at Marcia Blaine School. They are the Brodie set, the crème de la crème, each famous for something - Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex - who are initiated into a world of adult games and extracurricular activities they will never forget. But the price they pay is their undivided loyalty . . .

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a brilliantly comic novel featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in all literature.

'Muriel Spark's novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards' John Updike

'Spark's most celebrated novel' Independent

'There is no question about the quality and distinctiveness of her writing, with its quirky concern with human nature, and its comedy' William Boyd

'A brilliant psychological figure' Observer

Muriel Spark was born and educated in Edinburgh. She was active in the field of creative writing since 1950, when she won a short-story writing competition in the Observer, and her many subsequent novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Girls of Slender Means (1963) and Aiding and Abetting (2000). She also wrote plays, poems, children's books and biographies. She became Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993, and died in 2006.

Bonjour Tristesse

Françoise Sagan (Author) , Irene Ash (Translator)

A Hay Festival and The Poole VOTE 100 BOOKS for Women Selection

'Late into the night we talked of love, of its complications. In my father's eyes they were imaginary. . . This conception of rapid, violent and passing love affairs appealed to my imagination. I was not at the age when fidelity is attractive. I knew very little about love.'

The French Riviera: home to the Beautiful People. And none are more beautiful than Cécile, a precocious seventeen-year-old, and her father Raymond, a vivacious libertine. Charming, decadent and irresponsible, the golden-skinned duo are dedicated to a life of free love, fast cars and hedonistic pleasures. But then, one long, hot summer Raymond decides to marry, and Cécile and her lover Cyril feel compelled to take a hand in his amours, with tragic consequences.

Bonjour Tristesse scandalized 1950s France with its portrayal of teenager terrible Cécile, a heroine who rejects conventional notions of love, marriage and responsibility to choose her own sexual freedom.

The Plague

Albert Camus (Author) , Tony Judt (Introducer)

The Plague by Albert Camus is an extraordinary odyssey into the darkness and absurdity of human existence.

'On the morning of April 16, Dr Rieux emerged from his consulting-room and came across a dead rat in the middle of the landing.'

It starts with the rats. Vomiting blood, they die in their hundreds, then in their thousands. When the rats are all gone, the citizens begin to fall sick. Like the rats, they too die in ever greater numbers.

The authorities quarantine the town. Cut off, the terrified townspeople must face this horror alone. Some resign themselves to death or the whims of fate. Others seek someone to blame or dream of revenge. One is determined to escape.

But a few, like stoic Dr Rieux, stand together to fight the terror. A monstrous evil has entered their lives but they will never surrender to it.

They will resist the plague.

'A matchless fable of fear, courage and cowardice' Independent

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. He studied philosophy in Algiers and then worked in Paris as a journalist. He was one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement and, after the War, established his international reputation as a writer. His books include The Plague, The Just and The Fall, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus was killed in a road accident in 1960.

In Cold Blood

Truman Capote (Author)

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences is considered by many to be the first work of the true crime genre. In this groundbreaking book, Truman Capote reconstructs the murder of the Clutter family from information provided by newspaper articles and interviews.

'Dick became convinced that Perry was that rarity, "a natural killer" - absolutely sane, but conscienceless, and capable of dealing, with or without motive, the coldest-blooded deathblows'

On 15 November 1959, the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, a wealthy farmer, his wife and their two young children were found brutally murdered. Blood all over the walls, the telephone lines cut, and only a few dollars stolen. Heading up the investigation is Agent Al Dewey, but all he has are two footprints, four bodies, and a whole lot of questions.

Truman Capote's detailed reconstruction of the events and consequences of that fateful night, In Cold Blood is a chilling, gripping mix of journalistic skill and imaginative power.

'The American dream turning into the American nightmare. A remarkable book' Spectator

'One of the most stupendous books of the decade' Sunday Express

Truman Capote was one of the most significant American authors of the twentieth century, known for his highly acclaimed books, including: Breakfast at Tiffany's, A Tree of Night and Other Stories and The Grass Harp. In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany's have been selected for the Penguin Essentials series of books considered some of the twentieth century's most important reads.

An Ice-cream War

William Boyd (Author)

An Ice-Cream War is William Boyd's sparkling debut novel on the grimly comic side of conflict, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

'What do you think would happen if I shot an elephant in the balls?'
'I think it would hurt a great deal.'

Millions die on the Western Front but in East Africa a quite different war is being waged - one with little point and which is so ignored that it will carry on after the Armistice because no one bothers to tell both sides to stop.

As the conflict sweeps up natives and colonials, so those left at home and those fighting abroad find themselves unable to escape the tide of history bearing down on them.

The Circle

Dave Eggers (Author)

Fast, thrilling, compulsively addictive - The Circle is Dave Eggers's timely novel about our obsession with the internet, now available as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users' personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can't believe her great fortune to work for them - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public ...

'Tremendous. Inventive, big hearted and very funny. Prepare to be addicted' Daily Mail

'Prescient, important and enjoyable . . . a deft modern synthesis of Swiftian wit with Orwellian prognostication' Guardian

'A gripping and highly unsettling read' Sunday Times

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid (Author) , Hamid, Mohsin (Author)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is Mohsin Hamid's thrillingly provocative international bestseller, available as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2007

Now a major film directed by Mira Nair and starring Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland

'Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard. I am a lover of America . . . '

So speaks the mysterious stranger at a Lahore cafe as dusk settles. Invited to join him for tea, you learn his name and what led this speaker of immaculate English to seek you out. For he is more worldy than you might expect; better travelled and better educated. He knows the West better than you do. And as he tells you his story, of how he embraced the Western dream -- and a Western woman -- and how both betrayed him, so the night darkens. Then the true reason for your meeting becomes abundantly clear . . .

Challenging, mysterious and thrillingly tense, Mohsin Hamid's masterly The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a vital read teeming with questions and ideas about some of the most pressing issues of today's globalised, fractured world.


'Masterful . . . A multi-layered and thoroughly gripping book, which works as a poignant love story, a powerful dissection of how US imperialist machinations have turned so many people against the world's superpower - and as a thriller that subtly ratchets up the nerve-jangling tension towards an explosive ending' Metro

'Beautifully written . . . more exciting than any thriller I've read for a long time' Philip Pullman

'A brilliant book' Kiran Desai

'Admirably spare and amazingly exciting' Rachel Cooke, New Statesman

Mohsin Hamid is the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, received numerous awards, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has contributed essays and short stories to publications such as the Guardian, The New York Times, Financial Times, Granta, and Paris Review. Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he spent part of his childhood in California, studied at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has since lived between Lahore, London, and New York.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Marina Lewycka (Author)

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is bestselling author Marina Lewycka's hilarious and award winning debut novel, now available as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

'Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukrainian divorcée. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.'

Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must aside a lifetime of feuding to save their émigré engineer father from voluptuous gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for green satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, she will stop at nothing in her pursuit of Western wealth.

But the sisters' campaign to oust Valentina unearths family secrets, uncovers fifty years of Europe's darkest history and sends them back to roots they'd much rather forget . . .

'It's rare to find a first novel that gets so much right . . . Lewycka is a seriously talented comic writer' Time Out

'Hugely enjoyable . . . yields a golden harvest of family truths' Daily Telegraph

'Delightful, funny, touching' Spectator

The Help

Kathryn Stockett (Author)

The Help is the phenomenal international bestseller (that inspired the Oscar nominated film) by Kathryn Stockett, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time

Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver . . .

There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell . . .

Perfume

Patrick Süskind (Author)

Patrick Süskind's Perfume is a classic novel of death and sensuality in Paris, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

'In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent . . .'

'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian

'A fantastic tale of murder and twisted eroticism controlled by a disgusted loathing of humanity ... Clever, stylish, absorbing and well worth reading' Literary Review

'A meditation on the nature of death, desire and decay ... a remarkable début' Peter Ackroyd, The New York Times Book Review

'Unlike anything else one has read. A phenomenon ... Everyone seems to want to get a whiff of this strange perfume, which will remain unique in contemporary literature' Figaro

'An ingenious and totally absorbing fantasy' Daily Telegraph

'Witty, stylish and ferociously absorbing' Observer

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