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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne

1969    384 Pages    (Signet Classics)

ISBN 13: 9780451524539    ISBN 10: 0451524535

An American frigate, tracking down a ship-sinking monster, faces not a living creature but an incredible invention -- a fantastic submarine commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo.  Suddenly a devastating explosion leaves just three survivors, who find themselves prisoners inside Nemo's death ship on an underwater odyssey around the world from the pearl-laden waters of Ceylon to the icy dangers of the South Pole . . .as Captain Nemo, one of the greatest villians ever created, takes his [...]

An American frigate, tracking down a ship-sinking monster, faces not a living creature but an incredible invention -- a fantastic submarine commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo.  Suddenly a devastating explosion leaves just three survivors, who find themselves prisoners inside Nemo's death ship on an underwater odyssey around the world from the pearl-laden waters of Ceylon to the icy dangers of the South Pole . . .as Captain Nemo, one of the greatest villians ever created, takes his revenge on all society.More than a marvelously thrilling drama, this classic novel, written in 1870, foretells with uncanny accuracy the inventions and advanced technology of the twentieth century and has become a literary stepping-stone for generations of science fiction writers.From the Paperback edition. [less]

fictionfrench
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Abbess of Crewe, The

Muriel Spark

1995    1 Pages    (New Directions Publishing Corporation)

ISBN 13: 9780811212960    ISBN 10: 0811212963

he short dirk in the hands of Muriel Spark has always been a deadly weapon,” said The New York Times, and “never more so than in The Abbess of Crewe.” An elegant little fable about intrigue, corruption, and electronic surveillance, The Abbess of Crewe is set in an English Benedictine convent. Steely and silky Abbess Alexandra (whose aristocratic tastes run to pâté, fine wine, English poetry, and carpets of “amorous green”) has bugged the convent, and rigged her election. But the cat [...]

he short dirk in the hands of Muriel Spark has always been a deadly weapon,” said The New York Times, and “never more so than in The Abbess of Crewe.” An elegant little fable about intrigue, corruption, and electronic surveillance, The Abbess of Crewe is set in an English Benedictine convent. Steely and silky Abbess Alexandra (whose aristocratic tastes run to pâté, fine wine, English poetry, and carpets of “amorous green”) has bugged the convent, and rigged her election. But the cat gets out of the bag, and―plunged into scandal―the serene Abbess faces a Vatican inquiry. [less]

fictionscottish

Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses

Richard Arum, Josipa Roksa

2010    272 Pages    (University Of Chicago Press)

ISBN 13: 9780226028569    ISBN 10: 0226028569

In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor's degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they're born. Almost everyone strives to go, but almost no one asks the fundamental question posed by Academically Adrift: are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there? For a large proportion of students, Richard Arum [...]

In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor's degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they're born. Almost everyone strives to go, but almost no one asks the fundamental question posed by Academically Adrift: are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there? For a large proportion of students, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's answer to that question is a definitive "no." Their extensive research draws on survey responses, transcript data, and, for the first time, the state-of-the-art Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test administered to students in their first semester and then again at the end of their second year. According to their analysis of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, forty-five percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills - including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing - during their first two years of college. As troubling as their findings are, Arum and Roksa argue that for many faculty and administrators they will come as no surprise - instead, they are the expected result of a student body distracted by socializing or working and an institutional culture that puts undergraduate learning close to the bottom of the priority list. Academically Adrift holds sobering lessons for students, faculty, administrators, policy makers, and parents - all of whom are implicated in promoting or at least ignoring contemporary campus culture. Higher education faces crises on a number of fronts, but Arum and Roksa's report that colleges are failing at their most basic mission will demand the attention of us all. [less]

nonfiction

Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

Vladimir Nabokov

1990    624 Pages    (Vintage)

ISBN 13: 9780679725220    ISBN 10: 0679725229

Published two weeks after his seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of Nabokov's greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist.  It tells a love story troubled by incest.  But more: it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue.   Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat.This is the first [...]

Published two weeks after his seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of Nabokov's greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist.  It tells a love story troubled by incest.  But more: it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue.   Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat.This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously  sardonic appendix by the author, written under the anagrammatic pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom. [less]

fictionrussian

Adolphe and The Red Notebook

Benjamin Constant

(Signet Classics)

ISBN 13: 9780451500014    ISBN 10: 0451500016

Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) was a Swiss-born French nobleman, writer and politician. The only novel published by Constant during his lifetime, Adolphe is the story of a young indecisive man's disastrous love affair with an older woman of uncertain virtue, believed to be based on Constant's affair with Anna Lindsay, who describes the affair in her correspendence. The Red Notebook (translated by Norman Cameron) is fictionalized version of Constant's youth, education and travels to England.

Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) was a Swiss-born French nobleman, writer and politician. The only novel published by Constant during his lifetime, Adolphe is the story of a young indecisive man's disastrous love affair with an older woman of uncertain virtue, believed to be based on Constant's affair with Anna Lindsay, who describes the affair in her correspendence. The Red Notebook (translated by Norman Cameron) is fictionalized version of Constant's youth, education and travels to England. [less]

fictionswiss

Adventures of Sindbad, The

Gyula Krúdy

2011    240 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590174456    ISBN 10: 1590174453

“What you have loved remains yours.” Thus speaks the irresistible rogue Sindbad, ironic hero of these fantastic tales, who has seduced and abandoned countless women over the course of centuries but never lost one, for he returns to visit them all—ladies, actresses, housemaids—in his memories and dreams. From the bustling streets of Budapest to small provincial towns where nothing ever seems to change, this ghostly Lothario encounters his old flames wherever he goes: along the banks of [...]

“What you have loved remains yours.” Thus speaks the irresistible rogue Sindbad, ironic hero of these fantastic tales, who has seduced and abandoned countless women over the course of centuries but never lost one, for he returns to visit them all—ladies, actresses, housemaids—in his memories and dreams. From the bustling streets of Budapest to small provincial towns where nothing ever seems to change, this ghostly Lothario encounters his old flames wherever he goes: along the banks of the Danube; under windows where they once courted; in churches and in graveyards, where Eros and Thanatos tryst. Lies, bad behavior, and fickleness of all kinds are forgiven, and love is reaffirmed as the only thing worth persevering for, weeping for, and living for. The Adventures of Sindbad is the Hungarian master Gyula Krúdy’s most famous book, an uncanny evocation of the autumn of the Hapsburg Empire that is enormously popular not only in Hungary but throughout Eastern Europe. [less]

fictionhungariannyrb

Afloat

Guy de Maupassant

2008    120 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590172599    ISBN 10: 1590172590

Afloat, originally published as Sur l’eau in 1888, is a book of dazzling but treacherously shifting currents, a seemingly simple logbook of a sailing cruise along the French Mediterranean coast that opens up to reveal unexpected depths, as Guy de Maupassant merges fact and fiction, dream and documentation in a wholly original style. Humorous and troubling stories, unreliable confessions, stray reminiscences, and thoughts on life, love, art, nature, and society all find a place in Maupassant’ [...]

Afloat, originally published as Sur l’eau in 1888, is a book of dazzling but treacherously shifting currents, a seemingly simple logbook of a sailing cruise along the French Mediterranean coast that opens up to reveal unexpected depths, as Guy de Maupassant merges fact and fiction, dream and documentation in a wholly original style. Humorous and troubling stories, unreliable confessions, stray reminiscences, and thoughts on life, love, art, nature, and society all find a place in Maupassant’s pages, which are, in conception and in effect, so many reflections of the fluid sea on which he finds himself–happily but forever precariously–afloat. Afloat is thus a book that in both content and form courts risk while setting out to chart the meaning, and limits, of freedom, a book that makes itself up as it goes along and in doing so proves as startling and compellingly vital as the paintings of Maupassant’s contemporaries van Gogh and Gauguin. [less]

fictionfrenchnyrb

After Claude

Iris Owens

2010    232 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590173633    ISBN 10: 1590173635

Harriet is leaving her boyfriend Claude, “the French rat.” That at least is how Harriet sees things, even if it’s Claude who has just asked Harriet to leave his Greenwich Village apartment. Well, one way or another she has no intention of leaving. To the contrary, she will stay and exact revenge—or would have if Claude had not had her unceremoniously evicted. Still, though moved out, Harriet is not about to move on. Not in any way. Girlfriends circle around to patronize and advise, but [...]

Harriet is leaving her boyfriend Claude, “the French rat.” That at least is how Harriet sees things, even if it’s Claude who has just asked Harriet to leave his Greenwich Village apartment. Well, one way or another she has no intention of leaving. To the contrary, she will stay and exact revenge—or would have if Claude had not had her unceremoniously evicted. Still, though moved out, Harriet is not about to move on. Not in any way. Girlfriends circle around to patronize and advise, but Harriet only takes offense, and it’s easy to understand why. Because mad and maddening as she may be, Harriet sees past the polite platitudes that everyone else is content to spout and live by. She is an unblinkered, unbuttoned, unrelenting, and above all bitingly funny prophetess of all that is wrong with women’s lives and hearts—until, in a surprise twist, she finds a savior in a dark room at the Chelsea Hotel. [less]

americanfictionnyrb

Against Nature (À Rebours)

Joris-Karl Huysmans

2004    288 Pages    (Penguin Classics)

ISBN 13: 9780140447637    ISBN 10: 0140447636

A wildly original fin-de-siècle novel, Against Nature follows its sole character, Des Esseintes, a decadent, ailing aristocrat who retreats to an isolated villa where he indulges his taste for luxury and excess. Veering between nervous excitability and debilitating ennui, he gluts his aesthetic appetites with classical literature and art, exotic jewels (with which he fatally encrusts the shell of his tortoise), rich perfumes, and a kaleidoscope of sensual experiences. The original handbook of [...]

A wildly original fin-de-siècle novel, Against Nature follows its sole character, Des Esseintes, a decadent, ailing aristocrat who retreats to an isolated villa where he indulges his taste for luxury and excess. Veering between nervous excitability and debilitating ennui, he gluts his aesthetic appetites with classical literature and art, exotic jewels (with which he fatally encrusts the shell of his tortoise), rich perfumes, and a kaleidoscope of sensual experiences. The original handbook of decadence, Against Nature exploded “like a grenade” (in the words of its author) and has enjoyed a cult readership from its publication to the present day. Features a new Introduction, chronology, and notes and reproduces Huysmans's 1903 preface Includes a section of contemporary reviews and responses from writers including Mallarmé, Zola, and Wilde [less]

fictionfrench

Age of Innocence, The

Edith Wharton

1996    (Penguin Books)

ISBN 13: 9780140189704    ISBN 10: 014018970X

The return of the beautiful Countess Olenska into the rigidly conventional society of New York sends reverberations throughout the upper reaches of society. Newland Archer, an eligible young man of the establishment is about to announce his engagement to May Welland, a pretty ingénue, when May's cousin, Countess Olenska, is introduced into their circle. The Countess brings with her an aura of European sophistication and a hint of scandal, having left her husband and claimed her independence. [...]

The return of the beautiful Countess Olenska into the rigidly conventional society of New York sends reverberations throughout the upper reaches of society. Newland Archer, an eligible young man of the establishment is about to announce his engagement to May Welland, a pretty ingénue, when May's cousin, Countess Olenska, is introduced into their circle. The Countess brings with her an aura of European sophistication and a hint of scandal, having left her husband and claimed her independence. Her sorrowful eyes, her tragic worldliness and her air of unapproachability attract the sensitive Newland and, almost against their will, a passionate bond develops between them. But Archer's life has no place for passion and, with society on the side of May and all she stands for, he finds himself drawn into a bitter conflict between love and duty. [less]

americanfiction

Agostino

Alberto Moravia

2014    128 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590177235    ISBN 10: 1590177231

Thirteen-year-old Agostino is spending the summer at a Tuscan seaside resort with his beautiful widowed mother. When she takes up with a cocksure new companion, Agostino, feeling ignored and unloved, begins hanging around with a group of local young toughs. Though repelled by their squalor and brutality, and repeatedly humiliated for his weakness and ignorance when it comes to women and sex, the boy is increasingly, masochistically drawn to the gang and its rough games. He finds himself unable [...]

Thirteen-year-old Agostino is spending the summer at a Tuscan seaside resort with his beautiful widowed mother. When she takes up with a cocksure new companion, Agostino, feeling ignored and unloved, begins hanging around with a group of local young toughs. Though repelled by their squalor and brutality, and repeatedly humiliated for his weakness and ignorance when it comes to women and sex, the boy is increasingly, masochistically drawn to the gang and its rough games. He finds himself unable to make sense of his troubled feelings. Hoping to be full of manly calm, he is instead beset by guilty  curiosity and an urgent desire to sever, at any cost, the thread of troubled sensuality that binds him to his mother. Alberto Moravia’s classic, startling portrait of innocence lost was written in 1942 but rejected by Fascist censors and not published until 1944, when it became a best seller and secured the author the first literary prize of his career. Revived here in a new translation by Michael F. Moore, Agostino is poised to captivate a twenty-first-century audience. [less]

fictionitaliannyrb

Aiding and Abetting

Muriel Spark

2002    176 Pages    (Anchor)

ISBN 13: 9780385720908    ISBN 10: 0385720904

In Aiding and Abetting, the doyenne of literary satire has written a wickedly amusing and subversive novel around the true-crime case of one of England’s most notorious uppercrust scoundrels and the “aiders and abetters” who kept him on the loose.When Lord Lucan walks into psychiatrist Hildegard Wolf’s Paris office, there is one problem: she already has a patient who says he’s Lucan, the fugitive murderer who bludgeoned his children’s nanny in a botched attempt to kill his wife. As [...]

In Aiding and Abetting, the doyenne of literary satire has written a wickedly amusing and subversive novel around the true-crime case of one of England’s most notorious uppercrust scoundrels and the “aiders and abetters” who kept him on the loose.When Lord Lucan walks into psychiatrist Hildegard Wolf’s Paris office, there is one problem: she already has a patient who says he’s Lucan, the fugitive murderer who bludgeoned his children’s nanny in a botched attempt to kill his wife. As Dr. Wolf sets about deciding which of her patients, if either, is the real Lucan, she finds herself in a fierce battle of wills and an exciting chase across Europe. For someone is deceiving someone, and it may be the good doctor, who, despite her unorthodox therapeutic method (she talks mainly about her own life), has a sinister past, too.Exhibiting Muriel Spark’s boundless imagination and biting wit, Aiding and Abetting is a brisk, clever, and deliciously entertaining tale by one of Britain’s greatest living novelists. [less]

fictionscottish

Alien Hearts

Guy de Maupassant

2009    177 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590172605    ISBN 10: 1590172604

Alien Hearts was the last book that Guy de Maupassant finished before his death at the early age of forty-three. It is the most original and psychologically penetrating of his several novels, and the one in which he attains a truly tragic perception of the wounded human heart. André Mariolle is a rich, handsome, gifted young man who cannot settle on what to do with himself. Madame de Burne, a glacially dazzling beauty, wants Mariolle to attend her exclusive salon for artists, composers, writers [...]

Alien Hearts was the last book that Guy de Maupassant finished before his death at the early age of forty-three. It is the most original and psychologically penetrating of his several novels, and the one in which he attains a truly tragic perception of the wounded human heart. André Mariolle is a rich, handsome, gifted young man who cannot settle on what to do with himself. Madame de Burne, a glacially dazzling beauty, wants Mariolle to attend her exclusive salon for artists, composers, writers, and other intellectuals. At first Mariolle keeps his distance, but then he hits on the solution to all his problems: caring for nothing in particular, he will devote himself to being in love; Madame de Burne will be his everything. Soon lover and beloved are equally lost within a hall of mirrors of their common devising. Richard Howard’s new English translation of this complex and brooding novel—the first in more than a hundred years—reveals the final, unexpected flowering of a great French realist’s art. [less]

fictionfrenchnyrb

All the Conspirators

Christopher Isherwood

1979    255 Pages    (New Directions Publishing)

ISBN 13: 9780811207256    ISBN 10: 0811207250

The accomplished British playwright and fiction writer's first novel, originally published in England in 1928, tells the story of a young middle-class man on the point of revolt

The accomplished British playwright and fiction writer's first novel, originally published in England in 1928, tells the story of a young middle-class man on the point of revolt [less]

englishfiction

American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis

1991    416 Pages    (Vintage)

ISBN 13: 9780679735779    ISBN 10: 0679735771

In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear [...]

In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront. [less]

americanfiction

Angel

Elizabeth Taylor

2012    272 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590174975    ISBN 10: 1590174976

Perhaps every novelist harbors a monster at heart, an irrepressible and utterly irresponsible fantasist, not to mention a born and ingenious liar, without which all her art would go for naught. Angel, at any rate, is the story of such a monster. Angelica Deverell lives above her diligent, drab mother’s grocery shop in a dreary turn-of-the-century English neighborhood, but spends her days dreaming of handsome Paradise House, where her aunt is enthroned as a maid. But in Angel’s imagination, [...]

Perhaps every novelist harbors a monster at heart, an irrepressible and utterly irresponsible fantasist, not to mention a born and ingenious liar, without which all her art would go for naught. Angel, at any rate, is the story of such a monster. Angelica Deverell lives above her diligent, drab mother’s grocery shop in a dreary turn-of-the-century English neighborhood, but spends her days dreaming of handsome Paradise House, where her aunt is enthroned as a maid. But in Angel’s imagination, she is the mistress of the house, a realm of lavish opulence, of evening gowns and peacocks. Then she begins to write popular novels, and this fantasy becomes her life. And now that she has tasted success, Angel has no intention of letting anyone stand in her way—except, perhaps, herself. [less]

englishfictionnyrb

Animal Farm

George Orwell

(Penguin)

ISBN 13: 9780140278736    ISBN 10: 0140278737

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible. When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear [...]

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh. [less]

englishfiction

Anna Édes

Dezső Kosztolányi

1991    220 Pages    (Corvina)

ISBN 13: 9789631335989    ISBN 10: 9631335984

A skillful portrayal of the cruelty and emptiness of bourgeois life, Anna Édes was first published in 1926 and enthusiastically received by the intellectual coffee-house society through which it circulated. The novel was later acknowledged by authors such as Thomas Mann as a model of language and form, and in turn established Dezso Kosztolanyi as one of the most significant writers of Eastern European fiction. Anna is the hard-working and long-suffering heroine, the unhappy maid destroyed by [...]

A skillful portrayal of the cruelty and emptiness of bourgeois life, Anna Édes was first published in 1926 and enthusiastically received by the intellectual coffee-house society through which it circulated. The novel was later acknowledged by authors such as Thomas Mann as a model of language and form, and in turn established Dezso Kosztolanyi as one of the most significant writers of Eastern European fiction. Anna is the hard-working and long-suffering heroine, the unhappy maid destroyed by her pitiless employers. Her tragic relationship with them is played out against the political turbulence in Budapest following the First World War. Yet her endurance and revenge are depicted with keen psychological as well as historical insight, becoming, in the words of the translator, "not merely an argument about social conditions but raised to genuine tragedy." [less]

fictionhungarian

Annihilation: A Novel

Jeff VanderMeer

2014    208 Pages    (FSG Originals)

ISBN 13: 9780374104092    ISBN 10: 0374104093

If J.J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a novel . . . it might be this awesomeArea X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition [...]

If J.J. Abrams, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Weisman collaborated on a novel . . . it might be this awesomeArea X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.     This is the twelfth expedition.     Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.     They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.     Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, which will be published throughout 2014: volume two (Authority) in June, and volume three (Acceptance) in September. [less]

americanfiction

As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner

1991    267 Pages    (Vintage)

ISBN 13: 9780679732259    ISBN 10: 0067973225

“I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall.” —William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn  by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others the novel ranges [...]

“I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall.” —William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn  by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. [less]

americanfiction

At the Full and Change of the Moon

Dionne Brand

2000    316 Pages    (Knopf Canada)

ISBN 13: 9780676972580    ISBN 10: 0676972586

In 1824, on the island of Trinidad, Marie Ursule, queen of a secret society of militant slaves, plots a mass suicide - a quiet, passionate act of revolt. But she cannot bring herself to kill her small daughter, Bola, whom she smuggles away in the early dawn light. As Bola's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren spill out across the world to America, Canada and Europe, they find their lives both haunted and vindicated by the dreams and passions of their defiant ancestor. The [...]

In 1824, on the island of Trinidad, Marie Ursule, queen of a secret society of militant slaves, plots a mass suicide - a quiet, passionate act of revolt. But she cannot bring herself to kill her small daughter, Bola, whom she smuggles away in the early dawn light. As Bola's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren spill out across the world to America, Canada and Europe, they find their lives both haunted and vindicated by the dreams and passions of their defiant ancestor. The interconnected stories of six generations of Marie Ursule's descendants form a lush, beguiling and beautifully told history of dispossession, and bring this Governor General's Award-winning writer into the front rank of the world's novelists. [less]

canadianfiction

Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, The

Gertrude Stein

1990    252 Pages    (Vintage)

ISBN 13: 9780679724636    ISBN 10: 067972463X

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was written in 1933 by Gertrude Stein in the guise of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, who was her lover. It is a fascinating insight into the art scene in Paris as the couple were friends with Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. They begin the war years in England but return to France, volunteering for the American Fund for the French Wounded, driving around France, helping the wounded and homeless. After the war Gertrude has an [...]

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was written in 1933 by Gertrude Stein in the guise of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, who was her lover. It is a fascinating insight into the art scene in Paris as the couple were friends with Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. They begin the war years in England but return to France, volunteering for the American Fund for the French Wounded, driving around France, helping the wounded and homeless. After the war Gertrude has an argument with T. S. Eliot after he finds one of her writings inappropriate. They become friends with Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway. It was written to make money and was indeed a commercial success. However, it attracted criticism, especially from those who appeared in the book and didn't like the way they were depicted. [less]

americanfiction

Awakening, The

Kate Chopin

(Penguin Books)

ISBN 13: 9780142437322    ISBN 10: 0142437328

The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It [...]

The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism. The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams. [less]

americanfiction
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Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

Susan Faludi

2006    592 Pages    (Broadway)

ISBN 13: 9780307345424    ISBN 10: 0307345424

Skillfully Probing the Attack on Women’s Rights“Opting-out,” “security moms,” “desperate housewives,” “the new baby fever”—the trend stories of 2006 leave no doubt that American women are still being barraged by the same backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in her 1991 bestselling book of revelations. Now, the book that reignited the feminist movement is back in a fifteenth anniversary edition, with a new preface by [...]

Skillfully Probing the Attack on Women’s Rights“Opting-out,” “security moms,” “desperate housewives,” “the new baby fever”—the trend stories of 2006 leave no doubt that American women are still being barraged by the same backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in her 1991 bestselling book of revelations. Now, the book that reignited the feminist movement is back in a fifteenth anniversary edition, with a new preface by the author that brings backlash consciousness up to date. When it was first published, Backlash made headlines for puncturing such favorite media myths as the “infertility epidemic” and the “man shortage,” myths that defied statistical realities. These willfully fictitious media campaigns added up to an antifeminist backlash. Whatever progress feminism has recently made, Faludi’s words today seem prophetic. The media still love stories about stay-at-home moms and the “dangers” of women’s career ambitions; the glass ceiling is still low; women are still punished for wanting to succeed; basic reproductive rights are still hanging by a thread. The backlash clearly exists.With passion and precision, Faludi shows in her new preface how the creators of commercial culture distort feminist concepts to sell products while selling women downstream, how the feminist ethic of economic independence is twisted into the consumer ethic of buying power, and how the feminist quest for self-determination is warped into a self-centered quest for self-improvement. Backlash is a classic of feminism, an alarm bell for women of every generation, reminding us of the dangers that we still face. [less]

feminismnonfiction

Baron In The Trees, The

Italo Calvino

1977    224 Pages    (Mariner Books)

ISBN 13: 9780156106801    ISBN 10: 0156106809

Cosimo, a young eighteenth-century Italian nobleman, rebels by climbing into the trees to remain there for the rest of his life. He adapts efficiently to an arboreal existence and even has love affairs. Translated by Archibald Colquhoun.

Cosimo, a young eighteenth-century Italian nobleman, rebels by climbing into the trees to remain there for the rest of his life. He adapts efficiently to an arboreal existence and even has love affairs. Translated by Archibald Colquhoun. [less]

fictionitalian

Bartleby the Scrivener

Herman Melville

2004    100 Pages    (Melville House)

ISBN 13: 9780974607801    ISBN 10: 0974607800

"I prefer not to," he respectfully and slowly said, and mildly disappeared.Academics hail it as the beginning of modernism, but to readers around the world—even those daunted by Moby-Dick—Bartleby the Scrivener is simply one of the most absorbing and moving novellas ever. Set in the mid-19th century on New York City’s Wall Street, it was also, perhaps, Herman Melville's most prescient story: what if a young man caught up in the rat race of commerce finally just said, "I would prefer not [...]

"I prefer not to," he respectfully and slowly said, and mildly disappeared.Academics hail it as the beginning of modernism, but to readers around the world—even those daunted by Moby-Dick—Bartleby the Scrivener is simply one of the most absorbing and moving novellas ever. Set in the mid-19th century on New York City’s Wall Street, it was also, perhaps, Herman Melville's most prescient story: what if a young man caught up in the rat race of commerce finally just said, "I would prefer not to"?The tale is one of the final works of fiction published by Melville before, slipping into despair over the continuing critical dismissal of his work after Moby-Dick, he abandoned publishing fiction. The work is presented here exactly as it was originally published in Putnam's magazine—to, sadly, critical disdain.The Art of The Novella Series Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time. [less]

americanfiction

Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, The

Naomi Wolf

1992    368 Pages    (Anchor)

ISBN 13: 9780385423977    ISBN 10: 0385423977

Explores the phenomenon of the violent backlash  against feminism that uses images of female beauty  as a political weapon against women's advancement.

Explores the phenomenon of the violent backlash  against feminism that uses images of female beauty  as a political weapon against women's advancement. [less]

feminismnonfiction

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me

Richard Fariña

1996    352 Pages    (Penguin Classics)

ISBN 13: 9780140189308    ISBN 10: 0140189300

Fariña evokes the Sixties as precisely, wittily, and poignantly as F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the Jazz Age. The hero, Gnossus Pappadopoulis, weaves his way through the psychedelic landscape, encountering—among other things—mescaline, women, art, gluttony, falsehood, science, prayer, and, occasionally, truth. A portrait of an explosive decade, sparkling with inventive writing and conveying the essence of a generation, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, as Thomas Pynchon writes in [...]

Fariña evokes the Sixties as precisely, wittily, and poignantly as F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the Jazz Age. The hero, Gnossus Pappadopoulis, weaves his way through the psychedelic landscape, encountering—among other things—mescaline, women, art, gluttony, falsehood, science, prayer, and, occasionally, truth. A portrait of an explosive decade, sparkling with inventive writing and conveying the essence of a generation, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, as Thomas Pynchon writes in the introduction, "comes on like the Hallelujah Chorus done by 200 kazoo players with perfect pitch." "A marvelous storyteller, Fariña is fit to join the company of Kerouac, Kesey, and Pynchon." —San Francisco Chronicle [less]

americanfiction

Being There

Jerzy Kosinski

1999    141 Pages    (Grove Press)

ISBN 13: 9780802136343    ISBN 10: 97808021363

A modern classic now available from Grove Press, Being There is one of the most popular and significant works from a writer of international stature. It is the story of Chauncey Gardiner - Chance, an enigmatic but distinguished man who emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy adviser, and a media icon. Truly "a man without qualities," Chance's straightforward responses to popular concerns are heralded as visionary. But [...]

A modern classic now available from Grove Press, Being There is one of the most popular and significant works from a writer of international stature. It is the story of Chauncey Gardiner - Chance, an enigmatic but distinguished man who emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy adviser, and a media icon. Truly "a man without qualities," Chance's straightforward responses to popular concerns are heralded as visionary. But though everyone is quoting him, no one is sure what he's really saying. And filling in the blanks in his background proves impossible. Being There is a brilliantly satiric look at the unreality of American media culture that is, if anything, more trenchant now than ever. [less]

fictionpolish

Bell Jar, The

Sylvia Plath

1983    224 Pages    (Bantam)

ISBN 13: 9780553278354    ISBN 10: 0553278355

A vulnerable young girl wins a dream assignment  on a big-time New York fashion magazine and finds  herself plunged into a nightmare. An  autobiographical account of Sylvia Plath's own mental breakdown  and suicide attempt, The Bell Jar  is more than a confessional novel, it is a comic  but painful statement of what happens to a woman's  aspirations in a society that refuses to take them  seriously... a [...]

A vulnerable young girl wins a dream assignment  on a big-time New York fashion magazine and finds  herself plunged into a nightmare. An  autobiographical account of Sylvia Plath's own mental breakdown  and suicide attempt, The Bell Jar  is more than a confessional novel, it is a comic  but painful statement of what happens to a woman's  aspirations in a society that refuses to take them  seriously... a society that expects electroshock  to cure the despair of a sensitive, questioning  young artist whose search for identity becomes a  terrifying descent toward madness. [less]

americanfiction

Beloved

Toni Morrison

2004    321 Pages    (Vintage)

ISBN 13: 9781400033416    ISBN 10: 1400033411

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: [...]

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement. [less]

americanfiction

Bend Sinister

Vladimir Nabokov

1981    (TimeLife Books)

ISBN 13: 9780809436224    ISBN 10: 0809436221

The first novel Nabokov wrote while living in America and the most overtly political novel he ever wrote, Bend Sinister is a modern classic. While it is filled with veiled puns and characteristically delightful wordplay, it is, first and foremost, a haunting and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state. It is first and foremost a compelling narrative about a civilized man and his child caught up in the tyranny of a police state. Professor Adam Krug, the [...]

The first novel Nabokov wrote while living in America and the most overtly political novel he ever wrote, Bend Sinister is a modern classic. While it is filled with veiled puns and characteristically delightful wordplay, it is, first and foremost, a haunting and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state. It is first and foremost a compelling narrative about a civilized man and his child caught up in the tyranny of a police state. Professor Adam Krug, the country's foremost philosopher, offers the only hope of resistance to Paduk, dictator and leader of the Party of the Average Man. In a folly of bureaucratic bungling and ineptitude, the government attempts to co-opt Krug's support in order to validate the new regime. [less]

fictionrussian

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Alfred Döblin

1978    480 Pages    (Penguin, Hammondsworth, UK)

ISBN 13: 9780140045024    ISBN 10: 0140045023

The story concerns a murderer, Franz Biberkopf, fresh from prison. When his friend murders the prostitute on whom Biberkopf has been relying as an anchor, he realizes that he will be unable to extricate himself from the underworld into which he has sunk. He must deal with misery, lack of opportunities, crime and the imminent ascendency of Nazism. During his struggle to survive against all odds, life rewards him with an unsuspected surprise but his happiness will not last as the story continues.

The story concerns a murderer, Franz Biberkopf, fresh from prison. When his friend murders the prostitute on whom Biberkopf has been relying as an anchor, he realizes that he will be unable to extricate himself from the underworld into which he has sunk. He must deal with misery, lack of opportunities, crime and the imminent ascendency of Nazism. During his struggle to survive against all odds, life rewards him with an unsuspected surprise but his happiness will not last as the story continues. [less]

fictiongerman

Berlin Stories

Robert Walser

2012    160 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590174548    ISBN 10: 1590174542

In 1905 the young Swiss writer Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to join his older brother Karl, already an important stage-set designer, and immediately threw himself into the vibrant social and cultural life of the city. Berlin Stories collects his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical observations on every aspect of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan street, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service [...]

In 1905 the young Swiss writer Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to join his older brother Karl, already an important stage-set designer, and immediately threw himself into the vibrant social and cultural life of the city. Berlin Stories collects his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical observations on every aspect of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan street, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service restaurants, and the electric tram. Originally appearing in literary magazines as well as the feuilleton sections of newspapers, the early stories are characterized by a joyous urgency and the generosity of an unconventional guide. Later pieces take the form of more personal reflections on the writing process, memories, and character studies. All are full of counter-intuitive images and vignettes of startling clarity, showcasing a unique talent for whom no detail was trivial, at grips with a city diving headlong into modernity. [less]

fictionnyrbswiss

Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates

Patrick Leigh Fermor

2005    280 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590171660    ISBN 10: 97815901716

Continuing the epic foot journey across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts The journey that Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on in 1933—to cross Europe on foot with an emergency allowance of one pound a day—proved so rich in experiences that when much later he sat down to describe them, they overflowed into more than one volume. Undertaken as the storms of war gathered, and providing a background for the events that were beginning to unfold in Central Europe, Leigh Fermor’s still-unfinished [...]

Continuing the epic foot journey across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts The journey that Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on in 1933—to cross Europe on foot with an emergency allowance of one pound a day—proved so rich in experiences that when much later he sat down to describe them, they overflowed into more than one volume. Undertaken as the storms of war gathered, and providing a background for the events that were beginning to unfold in Central Europe, Leigh Fermor’s still-unfinished account of his journey has established itself as a modern classic. Between the Woods and the Water, the second volume of a projected three, has garnered as many prizes as its celebrated predecessor, A Time of Gifts. The opening of the book finds Leigh Fermor crossing the Danube—at the very moment where his first volume left off. A detour to the luminous splendors of Prague is followed by a trip downriver to Budapest, passage on horseback across the Great Hungarian Plain, and a crossing of the Romanian border into Transylvania. Remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges that are the haunt of bears, wolves, eagles, gypsies, and a variety of sects are all savored in the approach to the Iron Gates, the division between the Carpathian mountains and the Balkans, where, for now, the story ends. [less]

englishfictionnyrb

Beware of Pity

Stefan Zweig

2006    368 Pages    (NYRB Classics)

ISBN 13: 9781590172001    ISBN 10: 1590172000

"Stefan Zweig was a dark and unorthodox artist; it's good to have him back."--Salman RushdieThe great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of [...]

"Stefan Zweig was a dark and unorthodox artist; it's good to have him back."--Salman RushdieThe great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host's lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health. [less]

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