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The Best American Short Stories is the longest running and best-selling series of short fiction in the country. For the centennial celebration of this beloved annual series, master of the form Lorrie Moore selects forty stories from the more than two thousand that were published in previous editions. Series editor Heidi Pitlor recounts behind-the-scenes anecdotes and examines, decade by decade, the trends captured over a hundred years. Together, the stories and commentary offer an extraordinary guided tour through a century of literature with what Moore calls “all its wildnesses of character and voice.” These forty stories represent their eras but also stand the test of time. Here is Ernest Hemingway’s first published story and a classic by William Faulkner, who admitted in his biographical note that he began to write “as an aid to love-making.” Nancy Hale’s story describes far-reaching echoes of the Holocaust; Tillie Olsen’s story expresses the desperation of a single mother; James Baldwin depicts the bonds of brotherhood and music. Here is Raymond Carver’s “minimalism,” a term he disliked, and Grace Paley’s “secular Yiddishkeit.” Here are the varied styles of Donald Barthelme, Charles Baxter, and Jamaica Kincaid. From Junot Díaz to Mary Gaitskill, from ZZ Packer to Sherman Alexie, these writers and stories explore the different things it means to be American. Moore writes that the process of assembling these stories allowed her to look “thrillingly not just at literary history but at actual history — the cries and chatterings, silences and descriptions of a nation in flux.” 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories is an invaluable testament, a retrospective of our country’s ever-changing but continually compelling literary artistry. Edited by Heidi Pitlor and Lorrie Moore ISBN:9780547485850
“Murakami is like a magician who explains what he’s doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers . . . But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it’s the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves.” —The New York Times Book Review The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector. A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers. Author: Haruki Murakami ISBN:9780099578079
Intimidated by her father, the rector of Knype Hill, Dorothy performs her submissive roles of dutiful daughter and bullied housekeeper. Her thoughts are taken up with the costumes she is making for the church school play, by the hopelessness of preaching to the poor and by debts she cannot pay in 1930s Depression England. Suddenly her routine shatters and Dorothy finds herself down and out in London. She is wearing silk stockings, has money in her pocket and cannot remember her name. Orwell leads us through a landscape of unemployment, poverty and hunger, where Dorothy’s faith is challenged by a social reality that changes her life. Author: George Orwell ISBN:9780141184654
Told by the central character, Alex, this brilliant, hilarious, and disturbing novel creates an alarming futuristic vision of violence, high technology, and authoritarianism. Anthony Burgess’ 1963 classic stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a classic of twentieth century post-industrial alienation, often shocking us into a thoughtful exploration of the meaning of free will and the conflict between good and evil. Author: Anthony Burgess ISBN:9780141182605
A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. Author: Ernest Hemingway ISBN:9781857151497
A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting and defying the expected. Ernest J. Gaines brings to this novel the same rich sense of place, the same deep understanding of the human psyche, and the same compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous, highly praised works of fiction. Author: Ernest J Gaines ISBN:9781852427238
A Place for Us catches an Indian Muslim family on the eve of the eldest daughter’s wedding. As Hadia’s marriage — one chosen of love, not tradition — gathers the family back together, her parents Rafiq and Layla must come to terms with the choices that their two daughters, and their estranged son Amar, have made. Weaving through time, we see the detail of family life, all the crucial and tiny moments, through the eyes of each family member. And as Hadia, Huda and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent’s faith, tread a path between the old world and the new and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest betrayals. This is the story of one family, but all family life is here. It is a novel for our times: a deeply moving examination of love, identity and belonging. It announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent. ‘To be taken hostage by Fatima Mirza’s heartrending and timely story is a gutting pleasure. It allows her reader to better understand what it means to reconcile one’s love of family and culture with a desire to find one’s own path, and one’s own faith. Ms Mirza painstakingly details the life of an Indian Muslim family in America and their children’s search to feel whole, fulfilled, and content. She captures your mind and heart with an urgency that defies you to stop reading. I guarantee you will be different when you close the book’ – Sarah Jessica Parker Author:Fatima Farheen Mirza ISBN:9781781090701
Arriving in Istanbul as a boy, Mevlut Karata? is enthralled by both the old city that is disappearing and the new one that is fast being built. He becomes a street vendor, like his father, hoping to strike it rich, but luck never seems to be on Mevlut’s side. He spends three years writing love letters to a girl he has seen just once, only to elope by mistake with her sister. Although he grows to cherish his wife and the family they have together, Mevlut stumbles toward middle age as everyone around him seems to be reaping the benefits of a rapidly modernizing Turkey. Told through the eyes of a diverse cast of characters, in A Strangeness in My Mind Nobel-prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk paints a brilliant tableau of life among the newcomers who have changed the face of Istanbul over the past fifty years. Author: Orhan Pamuk ISBN:9780571275991
From Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri: twelve of his most controversial non-fiction pieces form this collection on the theme of freedom. Ranging from the personal to the analytical, covering subjects such as art, politics, storytelling and creativity, A WAY OF BEING FREE confirms Okri’s place as one of the most inspiring of contemporary writers. ‘All I wanted to do was to remind myself at all times to just sing my song. To just sing it through all the difficulties and silences’ BEN OKRI. Author: Ben Okri ISBN:9781784082567
Philip Caputo’s tragic and epically ambitious new novel is set in Sudan, where war is a permanent condition. Into this desolate theater come aid workers, missionaries, and mercenaries of conscience whose courage and idealism sometimes coexist with treacherous moral blindness. There’s the entrepreneurial American pilot who goes from flying food and medicine to smuggling arms, the Kenyan aid worker who can’t help seeing the tawdry underside of his enterprise, and the evangelical Christian who comes to Sudan to redeem slaves and falls in love with a charismatic rebel commander. As their fates intersect and our understanding of their characters deepens, it becomes apparent that Acts of Faith is one of those rare novels that combine high moral seriousness with irresistible narrative wizardry. Author: Philip Caputo ISBN:9780375725975
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. Author: Edith Wharton ISBN:9780140189704
By the author of The Handmaid’s Tale Now a major NETFLIX series Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.’ Grace Marks. Female fiend? Femme fatale? Or weak and unwilling victim? Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery. ‘Brilliant… Atwood’s prose is searching. So intimate it seems to be written on the skin’ Hilary Mantel ‘The outstanding novelist of our age’ Sunday Times ‘A sensuous, perplexing book, at once sinister and dignified, grubby and gorgeous, panoramic yet specific…I don’t think I have ever been so thrilled’ Julie Myerson, Independent on Sunday Author: Margaret Atwood ISBN:9780349010717
NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY BESTSELLER #1 GLOBE AND MAIL HISTORICAL FICTION BESTSELLER One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year! One of Bookbub’s Biggest Historical Fiction Books of the Year! Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick! The 2017 Girly Book Club Book of the Year! A Summer Book Pick from Good Housekeeping, Parade, Library Journal, Goodreads, Liz and Lisa, and BookBub In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption. 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads. “Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice. Quinn knocks it out of the park with this spectacular book!”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America’s First Daughter Author: Kate Quinn ISBN:9780062654199
One by one the boys begin to fall… In 1914 a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the ‘glorious war’. With the fire and patriotism of youth they sign up. What follows is the moving story of a young ‘unknown soldier’ experiencing the horror and disillusionment of life in the trenches. Author: Erich Maria Remarque ISBN:9780099532811
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2016 MAN BOOKER PRIZE Nine men. Each of them at a different stage of life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving – in the suburbs of Prague, beside a Belgian motorway, in a cheap Cypriot hotel – to understand just what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are – ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable; vital, pitiable, hilarious, and full of heartfelt longing. And as the years chase them down, the stakes become bewilderingly high in this piercing portrayal of 21st-century manhood. Author: David Szalay ISBN:9780099593690
A Spectator / New Statesman / Daily Telegraph / Guardian / Times Literary Supplement / Observer Book of the Year SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 MAN BOOKER PRIZE Winner of the 2016 Gordon Burn Prize Nine men. Each of them at a different stage of life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving – in the suburbs of Prague, beside a Belgian motorway, in a cheap Cypriot hotel – to understand just what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are – ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable; vital, pitiable, hilarious, and full of heartfelt longing. And as the years chase them down, the stakes become bewilderingly high in this piercing portrayal of 21st-century manhood. Author;David Szalay ISBN:9780099593690
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. Author: Tayari Jones ISBN:Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward–with hope and pain–into the future. Author: Tayari Jones ISBN:9781786075161
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward–with hope and pain–into the future. Author: Tayari Jones ISBN:9781786075185
In Egypt, Nuri, a teenage boy, falls in love with Mona – the woman his father will marry. Consumed with longing, Nuri wants to get his father out of the way – to take his place in Mona’s heart. But when his father disappears, Nuri regrets what he wished for. Alone, he and Mona search desperately for the man they both love. Only for Nuri to discover a silence he cannot break and unimaginable secrets his father never wanted him to know. Author: Hisham Matar ISBN:9780141027500
Anil’s Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of a bloody civil war. Enter Anil Tissera, a young woman and forensic anthropologist born in Sri Lanka but educted in the West, sent by an international human rights group to identify the victims of the murder campaigns sweeping the island. When Anil discovers that the bones found in an ancient burial site are in fact those of a much more recent victim, her search for the terrible truth hidden in her homeland begins. What follows is a story about love, about family, about identity – a story driven by a riventing mystery. Author: Michael Ondaatje ISBN:9780099554455
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss from the No. 1 New York Times bestselling and Man Booker long-listed author of My Name is Lucy Barton. A Book of the Year according to: The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, the Guardian ‘Strout turns her clear, incisive gaze on the intricacies and betrayals of small town life’ Maggie O’Farrelll, Observer ‘Anything is Possible is predictably great because it’s written by Elizabeth Strout, and brilliantly unpredictable – because it is written by Elizabeth Strout’ Roddy Doyle, Guardian Anything is Possible tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after seventeen years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout’s place as one of America’s most respected and cherished authors. Author: Elizabeth Strout ISBN:9780241287972
An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss from the No. 1 New York Times bestselling and Man Booker long-listed author of My Name is Lucy Barton Recalling Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Anything is Possible tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after seventeen years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout’s place as one of America’s most respected and cherished authors. Author: Elizabeth Strout ISBN:9780241248799
When the Khurana boys and their friend Mansoor set out for one of Delhi’s television repair shops, disaster strikes without warning. The small bomb kills the brothers instantly. Mansoor is one of the few survivors. From India to America, the lives of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, comrades and adversaries are changed forever. Even the young bomb maker cannot escape the heat of the blast. Author: Karan Mahajan ISBN:9780099523284
‘One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world’ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn In the first month of the First World War the Russian campaign against the Germans creaks into gear. Crippled by weak, indecisive leadership the Russian troops battle desperately, even as the inevitability of failure and their own sacrifice dawns. Solzhenitsyn’s astounding work of historical fiction is a portrait of pre-revolutionary Russia, a tragic war story, and an epic novel in the great Russian tradition. Author: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ISBN:9780099589556
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017 SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER ‘In a country apparently divided against itself, a writer such as Smith is more valuable than a whole parliament of politicians’ Financial Times ‘Undoubtedly Smith at her best. Puckish, yet elegant; angry, but comforting’ The Times ‘A beautiful, poignant symphony of memories, dreams and transient realities… The first post-Brexit novel’ Guardian A breathtakingly inventive new novel from the Man Booker-shortlisted and Baileys Prize-winning author of How to be both Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer. Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever . . . ‘Terrific, extraordinary, playful… There is an awful lot to lift the soul’ Daily Mail ‘Bold and brilliant’ Observer Author: Ali Smith ISBN:9780241973318
Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. Author: Roxane Gay ISBN:9781472154170
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017 A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR From Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, comes her masterwork: an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about the taking down of the world’s forests. In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a “seigneur,” for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters – barkskins. René suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a Mi’kmaw woman and their descendants live trapped between two inimical cultures. But Duquet, crafty and ruthless, runs away from the seigneur, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years – their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions; the revenge of rivals; accidents; pestilence; Indian attacks; and cultural annihilation. Over and over again, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse. Proulx’s inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid – in their greed, lust, vengefulness, or their simple compassion and hope – that we follow them with fierce attention. Annie Proulx is one of the most formidable and compelling American writers, and Barkskins is her greatest novel, a magnificent marriage of history and imagination. Author: Annie Proulx ISBN:9780007232017
When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey—named Beatrice and Virgil—and the epic journey they undertake together. With all the spirit and originality that made Life of Pi so beloved, this brilliant new novel takes the reader on a haunting odyssey. On the way Martel asks profound questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity. Author: Yann Martel ISBN:9780812981971
I was supposed to be having the time of my life. When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath’s own life and has become a modern classic. The Bell Jar has been celebrated for its darkly funny and a razor sharp portrait of 1950s society and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Author: Sylvia Plath ISBN:9780571268863
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past. Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe’s terrible secret explodes into the present. Combining the visionary power of legend with the unassailable truth of history, Morrison’s unforgettable novel is one of the great and enduring works of American literature. Author: Toni Morrison ISBN:9780099511656
Set in an unnamed African country, the book is narrated by Salim, a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast. He believes The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it. So he has taken the initiative; left the coast; acquired his own shop in a small, growing city in the continents’s remote interior and is selling sundries – little more than this and that really – to the natives. This spot, this ‘bend in the river’, is a microcosm of post-colonial Africa at the time of Independence: a scene of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation and poverty. And from this rich landscape emerges one of the author’s most potent works – a truly moving story of historical upheaval and social breakdown. Author: V.S. Naipaul ISBN:9780330522991
Langston Hughes’s stories about Jesse B. Semple–first composed for a weekly column in the Chicago Defender and then collected in Simple Speaks His Mind, Simple Takes a Wife, and Simple Stakes a Claim–have been read and loved by hundreds of thousands of readers. In The Best of Simple, the author picked his favorites from these earlier volumes, stories that not only have proved popular but are now part of a great and growing literary tradition. Simple might be considered an Everyman for black Americans. Hughes himself wrote: ..”.these tales are about a great many people–although they are stories about no specific persons as such. But it is impossible to live in Harlem and not know at least a hundred Simples, fifty Joyces, twenty-five Zaritas, and several Cousin Minnies–or reasonable facsimiles thereof.” As Arnold Rampersad has written, Simple is “one of the most memorable and winning characters in the annals of American literature, justly regarded as one of Hughes’s most inspired creations.” Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, went to Cleveland, Ohio, lived for a number of years in Chicago, and long resided in New York City’s Harlem. He graduated form Lincoln University in 1929 and was awarded an honorary Litt. D. in 1943. He was perhaps best known as a poet and the creator of Simple, but he also wrote novels, biography, history, plays (several of them Broadway hits), and children’s books, and he edited several anthologies. Mr. Hughes died in 1967. Author: Langston Hughes ISBN:9780374521332
Set before and during the Great War, Birdsong captures the drama of that era on both a national and a personal scale. It is the story of Stephen, a young Englishman, who arrives in Amiens in 1910. Over the course of the novel he suffers a series of traumatic experiences, from the clandestine love affair that tears apart the family with whom he lives, to the unprecedented experiences of the war itself. Author: Sebastian Faulks ISBN:9781784700034
The Sunday Times number 1 Bestseller and A New York Times Bestseller ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the kind of novel I never realized I was missing until I read it. A dangerous, hallucinatory, ancient Africa, which becomes a fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made, with language as powerful as Angela Carter’s. I cannot wait for the next installment’ Neil Gaiman In this stunning follow-up to his Man Booker-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James draws on a rich tradition of African mythology, fantasy and history to imagine an ancient world, a lost child, an extraordinary hunter, and a mystery with many answers… ‘The child is dead. There is nothing left to know.’ Tracker is a hunter, known throughout the thirteen kingdoms as one who has a nose – and he always works alone. But he breaks his own rule when, hired to find a lost child, he finds himself part of a group of hunters all searching for the same boy. Each of these companions is stranger and more dangerous than the last, from a giant to a witch to a shape-shifting Leopard, and each has secrets of their own. As the mismatched gang follow the boy’s scent from perfumed citadels to infested rivers to the enchanted darklands and beyond, set upon at every turn by creatures intent on destroying them, Tracker starts to wonder: who really is this mysterious boy? Why do so many people want to stop him being found? And, most important of all, who is telling the truth and who is lying? Marlon James weaves a tapestry of breathtaking adventure through a world at once ancient and startlingly modern. And, against this exhilarating backdrop of magic and violence, he explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star Trilogy. ‘A game-changing modern fantasy classic.’ Financial Times ‘Complex, lyrical, moving and furiously gripping… This new book will propel James into a new galaxy of literary stardom.’ Observer ‘To call this novel original doesn’t do [it] justice… James has thrown African cultures, mythologies, religions, histories, world-views and topographies into the mighty cauldron of his imagination to create a work of literary magic.’ New Statesman Author: Marlon James ISBN:9780241315545
BY THE NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF BELOVED Toni Morrison’s debut novel immerses us in the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family – Pauline, Cholly, Sam and Pecola – in post-Depression 1940s Ohio. Unlovely and unloved, Pecola prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged white schoolfellows. At once intimate and expansive, unsparing in its truth-telling, The Bluest Eye shows how the past savagely defines the present. Winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction Author: Toni Morrison ISBN:9780099759911
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