The Isle of Youth

The Isle of Youth journeys through lives mired in secrecy and deception. From a newlywed marooned on honeymoon in Patagonia; to an abandoned tourist in Paris; to a woman who must travel to Antarctica to unpick the secrets of her brother’s death, the characters in these mesmerizing stories are complicated, vulnerable and ruthless, each afflicted by desires which they try to satiate despite never knowing what they truly are.

The stories in this collection are by turns magical and unexpected – with a healthy dose of brutality to keep them anchored in reality. Laura van den Berg tinges her landscapes with a sense of the surreal, inviting readers to recognise – as her characters do – the surprising ways in which the familiar can suddenly reveal its darker contours.

‘The best young writer in America.’ – Salon

‘A fresh, emotive and darkly comic take on the modern US . . . Comparisons to Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore are well founded, with van den Berg’s poignant and funny stories.’ – Irish Times

‘Laura van den Berg mixes a deadpan, droll observational humour with a real sense of the wounded, but still beating, heart inside each of her seven women. They make for fun, and troubling, company.’ – Independent

‘This short story collection by a captivating new voice in American fiction brims with memorable heroines. From this first story to the last – this is an unusually compelling collection.’ – Independent on Sunday

‘A beautiful and compelling read.’ – Ann Patchett

‘Absolutely captivating.’ – Vanity Fair

‘Expertly crafted and utterly assured: they begin by offering a nuanced and mordantly perceptive portrait of a world, or worlds, just like ours, and then they lift off, thrillingly, into the uncanny. You will follow Laura van den Berg’s voice anywhere.’ – Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

‘A smart, fun, noir-y treasure map of where families hide their secrets and lost souls hide themselves.’ – New York Magazine

‘Uniformly excellent – emotionally complex, very raw – but always with a mixture of pathos and humour that made me think of Lorrie Moore.’ – Dave Eggers

 

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Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn

With a new afterword by the author

Paul Watkins spent six years as a crewman on a deep-sea fishing boat. This novel tells his story.

The coast of New England: beautiful but savage, where storms can whip up out of nowhere, and the wrecks wash up on the beach. James Pfeiffer, a young college dropout, is initiated into the gruelling world of the trawler boats, where he discovers the thrill and terror of life at sea.

Paul Watkins’s gripping novel tells the brutal story of life on the trawlers, the danger, the comradeship and the secrets buried deep beneath the surface.

‘Few contemporary novelists have the ability to grab readers by the throat with such intense storytelling power and not release them until the final page has been turned.’ – Sunday Times

‘Watkins combines the open-eyed wonder of a boy being baptised into a man’s maritime world . . . with the sea-hunter’s mysticism of Moby Dick.’ – Observer

‘Reminiscent of Hemingway, he explores the clash of the masculine virtues of courage, loyalty, and endurance with treachery and fear.’ – Daily Telegraph

‘There is a horror sleeping in Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn which becomes restless as the book progresses until it explodes into spectacular life.’ – Time Out

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Life With A Star

Translated from the Czech by Rita Klímová and Roslyn Schloss

Stitched onto the jacket, worn over the heart, according to the rules for all Jews, the star turns Josef Roubicek into an outsider in his own city. Forced to lurk on the edges of Prague, to work as a gravedigger at the cemetery, and to keep off the trams and streets after curfew, he waits for a summons from ‘them’. Every day the grinding bureaucracy of evil brings new regulations, along with new lists of names to join the transports.

This remarkable novel traces one Jewish man’s struggle to exist in Nazi-occupied Prague. Drawing strength from the smallest of things – a lost love, a stray cat, an onion – Josef determines to live, and realises that surviving against the odds is the greatest act of resistance.

‘One of the finest novels of the century.’ – Independent

‘An astonishing work of fiction . . . Jiří Weil’s sophisticated, modernist, human imagination has made the dark horror of the Holocaust into an occasion of enlightenment.’ – The New Yorker

‘Without a doubt, one of the outstanding novels I’ve read about the fate of a Jew and the Jews under the Nazis. I don’t really know of one like it.’ – Philip Roth

‘One of the most powerful works to emerge from the Holocaust . . . a fierce and necessary work of art.’ – New York Times

‘A unique and deeply moving book, filled with echoes of Kafka and hints of Kundera and Skvorecky.’ – Observer

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Mendelssohn is on the Roof

With a preface by Philip Roth

Translated from the Czech by Marie Winn

SS officer Julius Schlesinger is ordered to remove the statue of the Jewish composer Mendelssohn from the roof of the Prague Academy of Music before an official concert. Unsure which among the decorative statues is Mendelssohn, he tells his men to remove the statue with the biggest nose. Unfortunately, this is the statue of Wagner . . .

This darkly comic and deeply moving novel traces the transformation of ordinary lives during the Nazi occupation of Prague. Weil tells the story of the struggle to survive in a labyrinthine regime, where humour, as well as great courage, is required to retain hope and humanity.

‘Comic, sardonic, and deeply moving . . . we ignore such rich literature at our cultural peril.’ – Simon Mawer

‘A brilliant, bitter satire that gradually turns into tragedy. Unmissable.’ – The Times

‘A brilliant novel . . . Jirí Weil was a writer who witnessed the worst of this century and testified to his experience in works of unflinching and astonishing literary vision.’ – New York Times

‘Weil had advantages that would in themselves ensure that his work stood out on the black mountain of holocaust literature. He was there. ’ – Guardian

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A Compass Error

As the Second World War looms, Flavia is living in a small village in the South of France. She studies for her Oxford entrance, swims in the sea, eats at local cafés, and lives with all the confidence and relish of youth.

Drawn into the demi-monde of artists and writers, Flavia is awoken to the pleasures and complications of adult life. Her world is overturned when she becomes fascinated by Andrée – beautiful, sophisticated, yet manipulative – and is caught up in a devastating intrigue.

This is a dramatic companion novel to A Favourite of the Gods, also published by Daunt Books.

‘A powerful and merciless book – a classic coming of age novel.’ – Hilary Mantel

‘The lure of the sensual life, the picnics, lobster salad, hock and seltzer and going to the opera, in Italy, in summer . . .’ – The Times

‘A mesmerising writer.’ – Nicholas Shakespeare

‘There will always be people for whom her books are part of their mind’s life, and people who are discovering her for the first time as if entering a lighted room.’ – Victoria Glendinning

‘Sophisticated . . . skilful.’ – New Statesman

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A Favourite of the Gods

Constanza and her young daughter step off a train in the French Riviera in the late 1920s without the slightest notion of where they are. But their story begins with Constanza’s parents: a beautiful New England heiress, a Roman prince, and the confused catastrophe of their marriage. An idyllic childhood spent in crumbling Roman palaces, sun-baked olive groves, at sumptuous parties, and being taught by the most interesting men in Rome, is changed forever by a fatal clash of culture and an impulsive decision.

In this elegant novel, Sybille Bedford tells the story of three generations of women, of Europe and America, and the turbulence and excitement of the early twentieth century.

This is a dramatic companion novel to A Compass Error, also published by Daunt Books.

‘One of Britain’s most stylish and accomplished writers.’ – Telegraph

‘Sybille Bedford is the most sensual of writers. No one writes as she does about the smells and colours of the Mediterranean, about the pleasure of food and wine’ – Victoria Glendinning

‘An excellent stylist and a splendid narrator . . . and this is a very clever work.’ – New Yorker

‘A study of the rich . . . an examination of love . . . and a statement of what Henry James either did not or would not know about the darker side of the portrait of the lady. Bedford’s mind is radiant. Her alarming economy of style burns. – V. S. Pritchett

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The Matriarch

With an introduction by Linda Grant

A wonderfully gossipy novel that whisks readers through the glamorous worlds of turn-of-the-century Vienna, Paris, and London.

The Rakonitz family – rich, cosmopolitan, and Jewish – is ruled over by the indomitable will of the matriarch, Anastasia. From her exotically furnished house in west London, Anastasia holds court over her children, grandchildren, and vast extended family. For someone must resolve the quarrels, celebrate the births, deaths, engagements, bankruptcies, artistic triumphs, and explain the only way to prepare a delicious Crème Düten.

With the dawning of the twentieth century, a series of scandals and financial catastrophes strike the Rakonitzes, threatening the family ties and calling into  question the legacy that binds them together.

‘There is wealth here, and gaiety. There is middle European style, and food in abundance. It is very un-English, and enormously attractive.’ – Julia Neuberger

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Kalimantaan

In the mid-nineteenth century a young Englishman, Gideon Barr, establishes a private raj on the north coast of Borneo. The world he creates, boasting churches, stone quays, and great swathes of lawn, eventually encompasses a territory the size of England. Its expansion campaigns are carried out by tribes of headhunters.

Into this fragile settlement, bordered by pirates, the opium trade, and impenetrable jungle, Barr brings his fresh-faced young bride from England.

This is a classic story of Victorian social mores superimposed on one of the most violent cultures on earth, and of the extraordinary group of missionaries, fugitives, madmen, and romantics drawn to this distant land.

‘A wonderful story, exceptionally written.’ – Beryl Bainbridge

‘Breathtaking . . . a plot summary can’t hope to do justice to the richness and complexity of this extraordinary novel . . . it is a mesmerising story, beautifully told.’ – Observer

‘A beautifully written, elegant, and rich dream.’ – John Fowles

‘Carries one deep into the lost world of the Victorian British Diaspora.’ – The Times

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A Dance of Folly & Pleasure

Step into the boarding houses and furnished rooms of New York City, or take a stroll around the park. Observe the tumult and glitter of Broadway on a Saturday night, and browse the silken stockings in Manhattan’s most exclusive store. Hop onto the Coney Island ferry to join the lovesick shop-girl, the drunken down-and-out, and the secret millionaire in the city’s dance of folly and pleasure.

Bringing to life the glamour and squalor of the 1900s, O. Henry’s unmistakable tales are by turns hilarious or tragic, but always deeply poignant. 

‘As fresh and alive as the day they were written . . . He wrote so many good stories it’s hard to choose.’ – John Steinbeck

‘A central figure in American popular literature.’ – Harold Bloom

 

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Illyrian Spring

Grace Kilmichael, the well-known painter, is running away. She’s escaping her husband, and his wandering eye, her bullying grown-up children, and the tiresomeness of being herself.

En route to Split and Dubrovnik, Grace travels through Paris and Venice, and to the glories of Torcello. Here she meets Nicholas – fascinating, rebellious, completely unsuitable (and half her age). Thrown into turmoil by their relationship, it is not until Grace arrives in the remote, unspoilt beauty of the Illyrian coast, among the wildflowers and peaceful villages, that she can truly begin to find enlightenment.

Both farcically funny and full of wisdom, this is a classic novel of escape and rediscovery, set against the glorious Illyrian spring.

‘Excellent . . . at once romantic and tough, absurd yet realistic, escapist yet down-to-earth.’ – Jenny Uglow

‘This is the most intelligently escapist novel – and scandalous for its time. What astonishes is its freshness. Reading it is like taking a holiday – although it is a serious sentimental education too.’ – Kate Kellaway

‘It still makes the perfect holiday read.’ – Lady Magazine

‘Few people can evoke the spirit of a place more vividly than Ann Bridge.’ – Linda Kelly

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The Architects

With an afterword by Peter Hutchinson

It is 1956, and Daniel Wollin returns to East Germany after sixteen years of Soviet imprisonment. A brilliant architect, Daniel is taken in by his former colleague, Arnold Sundstrom, who has become hugely successful since their exile in Moscow. Together, the two men work to redesign the nation for the Communist future.

But with Daniel’s arrival, Arnold’s young wife, Julia, begins to uncover the lies that hold her marriage together and the mystery behind her own parents’ deaths in Russia many years ago. A novel of political intrigue and personal betrayal, The Architects tells a story of love and friendship in a world governed by surveillance and mistrust.

‘Totally absorbing . . . Stefan Heym is, by any measure, a literary phenomenon.’ – Times Literary Supplement

‘Heym was unique in the history of European literature.’ – Telegraph

‘A leading figure in the East German literary scene.’ – Tony Judt

‘A splendid find, a compelling drama.’ – Will Wiles

‘Brave, vivid and uncompromising, a chilling portrait of a man and a society struggling to find traces of humanity in themselves and others as their world comes under threat from life-shattering secrets and the tightening grip of brutal ideology.’ – Chloë Aridjis, author of Book of Clouds

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Cassandra

Translated from the German by Jan Van Heurck

Cassandra, daughter of the King of Troy, is endowed with the gift of prophecy but fated never to be believed. After ten years of war, Troy has fallen to the Greeks, and Cassandra is now a prisoner, shackled outside the gates of Agamemnon’s Mycenae. Through memories of her childhood and reflections on the long years of conflict, Cassandra pieces together the fall of her city. From a woman living in an age of heroes, here is the untold personal story overshadowed by the battlefield triumphs of Achilles and Hector.

This stunning reimagining of the Trojan War is a rich and vivid portrayal of the great tragedy that continues to echo throughout history.

‘A beautiful work.’ – Bettany Hughes

‘Cassandra is fierce and feverish poetry that engages with the ancient stories while also charting its own path. Filled with passionate and startling insight into human nature.’ – Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles

‘Christa Wolf wrote books that crossed and overcame the divide of East and West, books that have lasted: the great, allegorical novels.’ – Günter Grass

‘A sensitive writer of the purest water – an East German Virginia Woolf.’ – Guardian

‘One of the most prominent and controversial novelists of her generation.’ – New York Review of Books

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American Drolleries: Selected Stories

In these extraordinary stories Mark Twain takes us from the sleepy banks of the Mississippi, through frontier towns, and across the deserted gold plains of California. We encounter his countryfolk in all their bizarre variety: a cannibalistic ex-senator, a compulsive gambler, phoney travelling salesmen, and a team of bumbling detectives.

The breadth, skill, and comic ingenuity of these tales remind us why Mark Twain is truly the ‘father of American literature’.

‘Twain is still the liveliest, sharpest, most humane observational satirist and wit.’ – A A Gill

‘Beguiling, brusquely fantastic yarns. . .’ – John Updike

‘The greatest humorist of his age.’ – New York Times

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Improper Stories

A collection of eighteen deliciously disturbing tales by Saki, the Edwardian master of the short story. Saki’s sharp satire pierces the polite veneer of country house parties, hunting meets and evenings round the pianola. Wild beasts stampede through the drawing room, servants suffer murderous delusions and sinister children plot revenge on their elders.

These witty, macabre and sometimes bizarre stories cut through the social conventions of the Edwardian upper classes.

‘Saki is among those few writers, inspirational when read at an early age, who definitely retain their magic when revisited decades later.’ – Christopher Hitchens

‘These delicious, hilarious and yet surgical satires are amongst the finest short stories in the English language.’ – Alexei Sayle

‘I took it up to my bedroom, opened it casually and was unable to go to sleep until I had finished it.’ – Noël Coward

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Miss Lonelyhearts

Day after day, ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ sits in his office responding to letters from ‘Broken-hearted, Sick-of-it-all, and Desperate’, dispensing words of hope, inspiration, and other platitudes to get his readers through their tormented days.

But it’s all getting to be too much for Miss Lonelyhearts. Under the weight of his colleagues’ mockery and the endless gloom of his correspondence, Miss Lonelyhearts finds himself crippled with cynicism and dysfunction.

Set in New York City at the height of the Great Depression, Miss Lonelyhearts stands as one of the most intelligent and hilarious works of the 20th Century. Laced with dark humour, irony and razor-sharp insight, this novel is as hauntingly relevant today as it was nearly a hundred years ago.

‘Wildly funny, desperately sad . . . There was no other like Nathanael West.’ – Dorothy Parker

‘A miniature comic epic.’ – Edmund Wilson

‘In dark times, Miss Lonelyhearts shines the brightest light in the blackest places. For this reason West’s novel has never felt more alive than today.’ – Daily Beast

‘Rendered with scalpel-precision… the great precursor to Joseph Heller, Thomas Pynchon, Philip K. Dick, George Saunders, and so much else.’ – Jonathan Lethem

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The Inland Sea

A Daunt Books limited edition short story

Early one morning, two boys set out across a frozen lake.

This beautifully told story is a small and finely-wrought epic, set in a remote part of Russia. A deeply touching tale of brotherhood, bravery and the wild dreams of childhood.

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Pleasures & Landscapes

With an introduction by Jan Morris.

In these eight evocative and unpredictable essays, Sybille Bedford chronicles her adventures through Europe over a thirty-year period. With her elegant prose and razor-sharp insight, Bedford takes us on a propulsive journey – dropping us into the passenger seat as she drives to meet Martha Gellhorn in Capri, taking us across the wind-swept piazzas of Venice in winter, and tantalising our taste buds with a tour of the vineyards of Bordeaux.

Bedford shows us the world through her eyes – the eyes of a seasoned traveller – in all its beauty and wonder. Pleasures & Landscapes is a satisfyingly sensuous literary expedition told by one of the greatest travel writers of the twentieth century.

‘When the history of modern prose in English comes to be written, Sybille Bedford will have to appear in any list of its most dazzling practitioners.’ – Bruce Chatwin

‘Bedford’s ability to recreate landscape is matched only by her appetite for mouth-watering descriptions of exotic food . . . She cannot write a dull page.’ – Financial Times

‘Bedford writes of the lure of the sensual life, the picnics, lobster salad, hock and seltzer and going to the opera, in Italy, in summer . . .’ – The Times

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The Invention of Memory

From the arrival of his first ancestor in Dublin in 1560, Simon Loftus traces the fascinating story of his family’s heritage in Ireland – piecing together fragments of legend and biography that span over 350 years of Irish history.

The background is the colonial conquest of Ireland and the clash of religious and national identity, but the focus is close at hand, familial. The passions and eccentricities, the daily concerns and relationships, the rich dramas and anecdotes of individuals in this Ascendancy family – over eight generations – combine to form an enthralling memoir of shifting viewpoints and entertainingly inconsistent accounts of a shared past.

The Invention of Memory is a profound family portrait and a sweeping history that examines the nature of recollection and how our memories are shaped by experience and time.

‘Spell-binding, full of treasures and often extremely moving.’ – Selina Hastings

‘A series of beautifully rendered evocations of landscape, people, attitudes, emblems and events. It treats the sweep of a melancholy history with the utmost poise and discernment.’  – Irish Times

‘A wonderful excursion through history, illuminating more famous events of Anglo-Irish history through the delicious, inconsequential details of Simon Loftus’s family.’ – Matthew Fort

‘A powerfully evocative mixture of biography and legend, peppered with heart-warming and heart-wrenching anecdotes.’ – Financial Times

‘Apart from the sheer enjoyment of Loftus’s exhumations, his thoughts on the multiple uses of ‘the memory of a past that never was’ deserve to be pondered.’ – Times Literary Supplement

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The London Scene

With an introduction by Hermione Lee

Take a stroll through London with Virginia Woolf as your guide in this beautifully illustrated book.

Virginia Woolf relished any opportunity for a stroll around London. She found great pleasure in observing the city and its people – noticing the subtle details that others often miss. In this collection of stunning essays, Woolf gives us an intimate tour of her beloved hometown. We venture through unfamiliar pockets of London and revisit its most famous landmarks; we smell the salty air of the East End docks and hear the echoing sounds inside the Houses of Parliament; Woolf transports us to the bustle of Oxford Street and the more peaceful moments on Hampstead Heath.

Originally published bi-monthly in 1931 by Good Housekeeping, the essays in The London Scene exhibit Virginia Woolf at the height of her literary powers and present an unparalleled and meditative portrait of an extraordinary metropolis – capturing the London of the 1930s and also the eternal city we recognise today.

‘While it might not list the hottest restaurants and the newest boutique hotels, The London Scene gives us an amalgam of intelligence and beauty that few, if any, guidebooks provide.’ – Francine Prose

‘1930s London comes alive in these six evocative essays . . . a discerning, affectionate tour of her beloved city.’ – Washington Post

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A Good Place to Die

1974. Eighteen-year-old drifter John Pitt leaves England with nothing more than his wits and a desire to see the world. When he reaches Iran, he takes a job teaching English. On his first day, he is struck by a veiled woman with luminous black eyes and ‘lovely feet’ – the headstrong Shirin. The two fall naively and fiercely in love – without considering the consequences of a love like theirs in the Shah’s Iran.

As the forces of revolution begin to rip through the country, John and Shirin are brutally separated, and John finds himself alone amid a vicious and devastating conflict in a region he barely understands.

Pulse-thumping and lyrical, A Good Place to Die evokes the history of a vastly complicated land and the lengths to which we’ll go for those we love, even when faced with the truly unthinkable.

‘James Buchan writes like a dream . . . This novel is a rare achievement.’ – The Times

‘Lyrical in the intensity of its writing . . . tells the story of the love of a callow British youth for a Persian girl and for her tortured, beautiful country. It’s a must read.’ – Donna Leon

‘Airy, graceful and big with truth . . . There is really no word for it but “masterpiece”.’ – Spectator

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Park Notes

Featuring contributions by Olivia Laing, Iain Sinclair, Marina Warner, Craig Taylor, and many more

‘I stepped out of the city and into the park. It was as simple as that.’ – Ali Smith

From the rugged beauty of Hampstead Heath to the manicured lawns of Hyde Park, generations of Londoners have sought respite within the city’s renowned parks. Naturally writers too indulged in the tranquillity of these spaces, which often informed and stimulated their work. Regent’s Park, in particular, has appeared in several books – from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway to Angela Carter’s Wise Children.

Award-winning painter Sarah Pickstone was intrigued by the writers associated with Regent’s Park – those who wrote in it, about it, or were simply inspired by it, and her work explores these serendipitous connections between people, places, and ideas.

Capturing that same spirit, Park Notes (curated by the artist herself) combines Pickstone’s radiant paintings alongside the work of fellow contemporary artists, evocative extracts from writers of the past, and essays and stories from today’s most engaging authors. The result is a captivating and distinctive collection, celebrating the creative process and the glorious natural spaces in the heart of London.

‘Beautifully crafted . . . a spirited collection of park ghost stories, and a fine summer invitation to go in search of shades of your own.’ – Guardian

‘A covetable volume . . . punctuated by Pickstone’s gorgeous paintings.’ – Independent

‘I promise you, if you read it, you will be inspired.’ – Open Book, BBC Radio 4

‘A celebration of the verdeant public spaces we all take for granted . . . marvellous.’ – World of Interiors

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The Smoke is Rising

‘A fascinating drama of Mysore’s halting journey into an uncertain future . . . It left me wanting more.’ – Guardian

The future is here. India has just sent its first spacecraft to the moon, and the placid city of Mysore is gearing up for its own global recognition with the construction of HeritageLand – Asia’s largest theme park. As government officials make plans for the expected tourism extravaganza, Mysore’s many residents find themselves swept up in the ferment.

The Smoke is Rising is a riveting portrait of a city hurtling toward an epic clash of modernity and tradition, and all the wandering souls – some hopeful, some broken, and a few somewhere in between – who find themselves caught in the middle.

‘A darkly comic novel . . . both hilarious and disquieting.’ – Spectator

‘The medieval and the modern India are depicted here as co-existing, and Rao has succeeded in capture this with delicacy and insight.’ – Times Literary Supplement

‘An auspicious debut – its comedy is dry and biting, its perceptiveness acute, and its picture of India ringingly truthful.’ – Neel Mukherjee

‘A subtle, tender and withering portrait of a society in confused transition . . . An exceptionally accomplished novel.’  Siddhartha Deb

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La Femme de Gilles

Translated and with an afterword by Faith Evans.

Elisa is Gilles’ wife and her devotion to him is all-consuming. Her daily life is permeated by thoughts of him – thoughts of his return from the factory, thoughts of his footsteps on the path as he arrives home each evening, a sound which still paralyses her with anticipation.

But when Gilles suddenly finds himself powerfully and helplessly attracted to Elisa’s younger sister, Victorine, Elisa’s world is overturned. The joys of home and family are destroyed and her desperation is so profound that it begins to threaten her every sense of reality and the core of her existence.

Set among the dusty lanes and rolling valleys of rural Belgium in the 1930s, La Femme de Gilles is a sensual and shattering novel about infidelity, lust, and the loneliness of losing the one thing that matters most.

‘A marvellous, rediscovered novel about selfless love.’ – Kate Kellaway, Observer

‘One of the more remarkable literary discoveries of the last few years.’ – Jonathan Coe, Guardian

‘A haunting slim novel . . . it has the mesmeric inevitability of classical tragedy.’ – Independent on Sunday

‘La Femme de Gilles is about physical passion, its ecstasies, aberrations and ruthlessness . . . quiet, compassionate and unsparing.’ – Times Literary Supplement

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The Tourists

A Daunt Books limited edition short story

He doesn’t see us, but we’re watching . . .

A local dignitary is hosting a lavish party at his country house on the outskirts of Cali, Colombia. He observes from afar as his staff prepare the grounds to his liking – the maids carefully arrange the lawn furniture, the chefs plate the oysters and caviar with precision, and the security guards stand poised. Everything is ready when his guests begin to arrive. But, as the sun begins to go down, a sense of unease hangs over the cheerful revelry. His daughter is missing, the resident spider monkey is threatening chaos, and, unbeknownst to our host, a group of nefarious uninvited guests closely watch his every move.

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Duveen: The Story of the Most Spectacular Art Dealer of All Time

‘When you pay high for the priceless, you’re getting it cheap.’ – Joseph Duveen

Joseph Duveen was the world’s most famous art dealer. His clients were amongst the most prominent and infamous Americans of the 20th century and included Mellon, Frick, Hearst, and Morgan. If you weren’t a client, chances are you were a nobody. Famous for his charm, shrewd salesmanship, relentless pursuit of the perfect objet d’art, and his ability to command eye-watering prices – Duveen was as unique as one of his priceless Old Masters.

In this exceptional biography S. N. Behrman tells the story of Duveen’s rise to prestige, from delftware peddler to selling the greatest European paintings to the greatest American millionaires. Duveen was a skilled salesman, enticing his well-heeled and business-savvy clients with visions of cultivation through acquisition of high-culture. He even laid the foundations for the great American museums of art, including the National Gallery and the Frick Collection, by persuading his clients to bequeath their purchases to the nation.

Everyone wanted a Duveen, because a Duveen was so much more than a painting or a vase; it was a chance at immortality.

‘Astonishing . . . A masterful, deeply enjoyable work.’ – David Remnick, The New Yorker

‘A witty and hypnotically readable biography.’ – Clifton Fadiman

‘Incredibly entertaining.’ – Edmund Wilson

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Dom Casmurro

With a foreword by Elizabeth Hardwick

Translated from the Portuguese by Helen Caldwell

Bento Santiago is madly in love with his neighbour, Capitú. He even breaks a promise his devout mother made to God – that he become a priest – in order to marry her. But, once wed, Bento becomes increasingly convinced that Capitú is having a torrid affair, that his son is not his own, and that his best friend has cuckolded him.

What follows is a rich and sardonic narrative, as Bento attempts to discern his son’s paternity. Are his suspicions actually based in reality or have his obsessive ruminations given way to deceptive illusions?

Originally published in Brazil in 1900, Dom Casmurro is widely considered Machado de Assis’s greatest work and a classic of Brazilian realist literature. It is a delightful and hilarious novel – told by an entertainingly unreliable narrator – about the powers of jealousy and the deceitful persuasiveness of a mind in the grip of paranoia.

‘The greatest writer ever produced in Latin America.’ – Susan Sontag

‘If Borges is the writer who made Garcia Marquez possible then it is no exaggeration to say that Machado De Assis is the writer who made Borges possible.’ – Salman Rushdie

‘Machado de Assis is a great ironist, a tragic comedian. In his books, in their most comic moments, he underlines the suffering by making us laugh.’ – Philip Roth

‘There is something irresistibly delightful about how he puts his tragic universe across . . . His ability to tickle the reader is inexhaustible.’ – Spectator

‘Machado de Assis was a literary force, transcending nationality and language, comparable certainly to Flaubert, Hardy or James.’ – New York Times Book Review

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The Crow Eaters

With a foreword by Fatima Bhutto

Seeking fortune and opportunity, Faredoon ‘Freddy’ Junglewalla and his family – his pregnant wife, infant daughter, and burdensome mother-in-law – move from their ancestral village in rural India to the bustling metropolis of Lahore. Welcomed by the small but tight-knit Parsi community, Freddy soon establishes a booming business and his family becomes revered and respected. But when tragedy forces Freddy to rethink his legacy, intimations of historic change loom on the country’s horizon.

Wickedly funny and searingly honest, The Crow Eaters is a vibrant portrait of a Parsi family taking its place in colonial India on the brink of the 20th century.

 

Read the first chapter here.

 

‘A novel of immense charm and exuberance . . . Sidhwa consistently imparts the magic and colour of India even in its most down-to-earth aspects.’ – The Times

‘One of the great comic novels of the 20th century.’ – Hanif Kureishi

‘Bapsi Sidhwa’s voice – comic, serious, subtle, always sprightly – is an important one to hear. I’m delighted to see her terrific novels back in print.’ – Salman Rushdie

The Crow Eaters is an excellent novel . . . The author is a born storyteller.’ – New Statesman

‘Spirited, bawdy, and always deeply compassionate. This book is a true delight.’ – Mahesh Rao

‘Sidhwa writes with an exuberance and geniality which make The Crow Eaters illuminating and memorable.’ – Jim Crace

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Peking Picnic

Laura Leroy, wife of a British attaché, leads a divided existence, torn between her beloved home in England and diplomatic society in Peking – an ancient city of exquisite allure.

When Laura joins a group of expats on an expedition to the great monastery at Chieh T’ai Ssu, they become intoxicated by the mysterious beauty of the Chinese landscape in spring (and by one another). But far from the comforting whirl of cocktails and picnic parties, they soon encounter a shocking clash that threatens the security of their newfound bond.

Set in the vanished era of 1930s Peking, this enthralling novel captures the unfamiliar thrill of a new city, the excitement of secret love, and the everlasting tension between the old and the new.

 

Read the first chapter here.

 

‘A first novel of rare quality – beautiful, grave, humorous, exciting, and wise.’ – Observer

‘Few people can evoke the spirit of a place more vividly than Ann Bridge.’ – Linda Kelly

‘Almost unmixed delight . . . It is pictorial and exciting and illuminating.’ – L. P. Hartley

‘An unusual and beautiful first novel, which leaves one thinking long after one has put it down.’ – Spectator

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Sylvia

With a foreword by David Lodge

Leonard, a young writer drifting through the city, meets Sylvia by chance at a friend’s shabby Greenwich Village apartment. He’s instantly besotted with her striking beauty and quiet disdain, and the question of what to do with his life is resolved.

In this remarkable semi-autobiographical novel, we are drawn into the world of a beatnik couple living in Manhattan in the early 1960s, and their demi-monde of jazz, poetry, late nights and early mornings. But when Sylvia’s depression emerges and her disturbances take hold, their fights become increasingly violent and their relationship hurtles towards self-destruction.

Written with extraordinary clarity and precision, this is a compelling portrait of the mad intensity, exquisite pain, and destructive power of young love.

 

Read the first chapter here.

 

‘A minor masterpiece . . . This short novel is terrifying, beautiful and addictive.’ – Ian McEwan

‘Every page reveals the mark of an extraordinarily original and gifted talent.’ – William Styron

‘Narrated with all guns blazing.’ – Daily Mail

‘A novel that has the power and the rawness of memoir.’ – New York Times

‘I know of no better, more honest account of a doomed, tumultuous love.’ – David Bezmozgis

‘The writing isn’t merely stylish; it’s vital . . . the ending is as shocking as that of any thriller.’ – Sarah Manguso

‘Leonard Michael’s tersely lyrical prose is as beautifully honed as that of any contemporary novelist who comes to mind.’ – Francine du Plessix Gray

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Barcelona

A Daunt Books limited edition short story

For their tenth wedding anniversary Daniel had arranged for them to spend a weekend in Barcelona . . .

And so Daniel and Isla return to the city where they celebrated their honeymoon. Daniel hopes it will be a reminder of headier days, but from the start something seems to be conspiring against his plans: time, people, the city itself.

A haunting and exquisitely written tale about love, sacrifice, and how the road not taken sometimes takes you instead.

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Coming into the Country: Travels in Alaska

With a foreword by Robert Macfarlane

In this unforgettable and astutely observed travel classic, Pulitzer Prize-winner John McPhee journeys into the wild frontiers and frigid climate of Alaska – exploring the diverse terrain of this Northern US state. Travelling by foot and canoe, helicopter and dog team, McPhee traverses total wilderness, urban landscape, and the depths of the bush, drawing a rich and comprehensive history of this vast land and its varied inhabitants.

With his keen eye and poetic sensibility at the helm, we paddle with McPhee through the salmon-filled waters of the Brooks Range Rivers, meet a young chief of the Athapaskan tribe, and become well-acquainted with the habits of the barren-ground grizzly bear. We encounter settlers along the way and discover the extraordinary dreams that impel them to survive in one of the most remote regions on Earth.

McPhee is an endlessly curious adventurer and Coming into the Country is the work of a master storyteller.

 

Read the first chapter here.

‘His genius is that he can write about anything.’ – Robert Macfarlane

‘It is a reviewer’s greatest pleasure to ring the gong for a species of masterpiece.’ – New York Times Book Review

‘McPhee is a grand master of narrative non-fiction.’ – Guardian

‘Journalism of such literary bravado is as rare as the 31-inch arctic char the author caught one night in the Brooks Range – but released – and just as cherishable.’ – Times Literary Supplement

‘Fresh, spirited, exciting.’ – Vogue

‘McPhee has acted like an antenna in a far-off place that few will see. He has brought back a wholly satisfying voyage of spirit and mind.’ – Time

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Fierce Attachments

Vivian Gornick’s relationship with her mother is difficult. At the age of forty-five, she regularly meets her mother for strolls along the streets of Manhattan. Occasionally they’ll hit a pleasant stride – fondly recalling a shared nostalgia or chuckling over a mutual disgust – but most often their walks are tinged with contempt, irritation, and rages so white hot her mother will stop strangers on the street and say, ‘This is my daughter. She hates me’.

Weaving between their tempestuous present-day jaunts and the author’s memories of the past, Gornick traces her lifelong struggle for independence from her mother – from growing up in a blue-collar tenement house in the Bronx in the 1940s, to newlywed grad student, to established journalist – only to discover the many ways in which she is (and always has been) her mother’s daughter.

Fierce Attachments is a searingly honest and intimate memoir about coming of age in a big city, and the perpetual bonds that keep us forever linked to our family.

 

Read the first chapter here.

 

‘It’s a brilliant book, a classic of its kind, and I commend it to you.’ – Rachel Cooke, Observer

‘Admired, rightly, as “timeless” and “classic” . . . Fierce Attachments demands honour as the work of a breathtaking technician.’ – Jonathan Lethem

‘A fine, unflinchingly honest book . . . The story of an abiding, difficult love, full of grace and fire.’ – New York Times

‘Brimming with life . . . Fierce Attachments is a work of emotional cartography, charting influences and mapping out a proximate territory of the Self.’ – Los Angeles Times

‘One hesitates to traffic in such stock reviewer’s adjectives as “brilliant”, “an American classic”, but there are only so many words with which to say how very good this book is.’ – Washington Post

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4-book Subscription

*A NOTE ON CHRISTMAS SUBSCRIPTIONS: Subscription purchases made before 11:59PM on 7th December will be sent out on 8th December. Any subscriptions purchased after 11:59PM on 7th December, will arrive in the New Year.

Subscribe to Daunt Books Publishing and receive three of our forthcoming titles over the next 12 months, weeks before they’re available in bookshops and delivered directly to your door.

As a subscriber, you will also receive:

  • A book of your choice from our backlist*, which will be sent out as soon as you purchase your subscription
  • Free UK P&P
  • Other surprises throughout the year

 

If your subscription is a gift, please add the subscriber’s details in the shipping address at the checkout. You can also add a gift message and we’ll include a greeting card with the first book.

If you’re not happy with the book you’re sent, please let us know. We’ll gladly exchange it for another title from the list.

We can also tailor the subscription to your reading interests, please get in touch to discuss any specific requirements with us.

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7-book Subscription

*A NOTE ON CHRISTMAS SUBSCRIPTIONS: Subscription purchases made before 11:59PM on 7th December will be sent out on 8th December. Any subscriptions purchased after 11:59PM on 7th December, will arrive in the New Year.

Subscribe to Daunt Books Publishing and receive six of our forthcoming titles over the next 12 months, weeks before they’re available in bookshops and delivered directly to your door.

As a subscriber, you will also receive:

  • A book of your choice from our backlist*, which will be sent out as soon as you purchase your subscription
  • Free UK P&P
  • Other surprises throughout the year

If your subscription is a gift, please add the subscriber’s details in the shipping address at the checkout. You can also add a gift message and we’ll include a greeting card with the first book.

If you’re not happy with the book you’re sent, please let us know. We’ll gladly exchange it for another title from the list.

We can also tailor the subscription to your reading interests, please get in touch to discuss any specific requirements with us.

*Subject to availability 

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One Point Two Billion

There are 1.2 billion people living in India; more than 1.2 billion stories in one country.

A man living on a tea plantation in the Nilgiri Hills realises he’s in love with his daughter-in-law; a young family eagerly awaits the launch of Shakti-Cola; a chronically anxious yoga retreat manager struggles with the demands of her enlightenment-seeking Western patrons; and a family legacy hangs in the balance when a horrifying discovery is unearthed on their Rajasthani estate.

Traversing thirteen Indian states, One Point Two Billion illuminates the exhilarating diversity of the second most populous nation in the world. Moving from towering megacity to remote detention camp, from the canals of rural Punjab to an exclusive club in Delhi, these remarkable stories offer glimpses into the loves, triumphs, and tragedies of everyday life in a world torn between tradition and the shock of modernity.

Laced with biting humour and injected with subtlety and emotion, the stories in this mesmerising collection portray the vast array of lives co-existing within the uneasy imbalance of Indian society.

 

Read the short story ‘The Trouble with Dining Out’ here.

 

‘Meaning shimmers between the lines; apparently humdrum observations and innocuous happenings, taken together, create a resonance that lingers in the air like a vibration . . . Witty, moving, and powerful.’ – Anuradha Roy, Guardian

‘Varied in range, concentrated in power – these stories are a deeply satisfying read.’ – Kamila Shamshie

‘This is a wonderful collection, slicing and dicing India in thirteen unexpected ways.’ – Siddhartha Deb

‘One of the finest books to come out of India this year. Rao zooms in on forgotten lives – ordinary, extraordinary, absurd, tragic. His writing is subtle, delightfully wry. I loved it.’ – Mirza Waheed

‘Sometimes a novel is so good that you don’t want it to end. I wanted each story to be expanded into a novel, which I then wouldn’t have wanted to end.’ – Sandra Newman

‘These are deft, anxious, and haunting stories of a people caught between two chasms, the medieval and the modern.’ – Jeet Thayil

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His Monkey Wife

Mr Fatigay is a hapless Edwardian schoolmaster posted to the Congo. His sole companion in the tropics is Emily: petite, dark and vivacious, brush­ing the floor with the knuckles of her strong capable hands. Emily is a prodigiously gifted chimpanzee of great intelligence and sensitivity, and also a secret autodidact. As she uncovers the delights of art and litera­ture, she proves to be more cultivated and compassionate than the human animals around her.

When the time comes for Mr Fatigay to return home to London, he brings Emily along – gifting her to his adored fiancée, Amy, who makes her a housemaid. To escape her stifling servitude, Emily begins donning Amy’s clothes and sneaking out across the rooftops: she reads Darwin at The British Museum (where she is taken for a fascinating woman of mystery), calls on the apes at the zoo, and discovers her talent for the stage. But her secret trips into town provide only a brief solace, as there is only one person who can make her truly happy. . .

His Monkey Wife is a comic masterpiece about a most unexpected love-triangle, and a biting satire about the nature of civilisation.

 

Read the first chapter here.

 

‘If you don’t know his work, you owe yourself the pleasure – the indispensable pleasure – of Collier.’ – Michael Chabon

‘A wayward masterpiece.’ – Anthony Burgess

‘From the first sentence the reader is aware that he is in the presence of a magician . . . [Collier] casts a spell and he does so always with a smile.’ – Paul Theroux

‘Truly sui generis . . . a small masterpiece of social satire.’ – Boston Globe

‘It’s a pity that Collier isn’t better known, as he was the creator of many an eerie tale.’ – Neil Gaiman

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The Neva Star

A Daunt Books limited edition short story

Of the crew of seventy, sixty-seven have disappeared. There are three sailors left on board. They are all called Sergei.

A boat is moored in Naples. It’s been there for three years. Three sailors remain on board. If they disembark, they’ll lose their pay. To pass the time they play chess, drink vodka, and daydream about home. But as the years pass, it becomes dif­ficult to distinguish whose home was whose, whose memories belong to whom, and whose wife is Sergei’s wife.

A playful yet haunting tale, published in a limited edition by Daunt Books.

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Light Box

From Argentina to Siberia, Papua New Guinea to London and New York, Light Box explores lives in transition, in a world where boundaries and human relationships are shifting. An astronaut struggles to adapt to life back on earth; a young man discovers he is going blind in a foreign city; a retired plastic surgeon uncovers old wounds; and two lovers become unexpectedly intimate. Each tale in K J Orr’s moving collection is charged with the irrepressible human urge to connect in the face of disorientating change.

With exquisitely cadenced storytelling, Orr introduces us to worlds and places that are both familiar and askew. Her landscapes are instantly recognisable, yet tinged with a lingering sense of uncertainty. The result is a wonderfully diverse and captivating debut from a rising literary talent.

‘A distinctive new voice. These stories are so elegant and considered, yet charged at the same time with a fierce energy.’ – Tessa Hadley

‘Orr is an absolutely natural short story writer  . . . Light Box is, above all, a luminous collection. It reveals, with beautiful acuity, what it is to be human, tender and fallible.’ – Alison MacLeod

‘Wonderful. Each story contains enigmatic, piercingly clear images and startling gestures that illuminate its characters in all their passions and furtiveness.’ – Colin Barrett

‘A globe-trotting wonder: atmospheric and haunting, delicate and fierce. KJ Orr writes with radical precision and beauty, and this collection shines a masterful light on the quiet, often unseen moments that have the power to remake a life.’ – Laura van den Berg

‘In these stories, chance encounters threaten to destabilise relationships, inspire treacherous voyages, and reveal the fissures on which our identities are constructed. The language is scintillating, the insights piercing . . . a stunning debut.’ – Adam Marek

 

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Green on Blue

The thrilling, heartbreaking story of a young Afghan boy coming of age in a country at war.

When a convoy of armed men arrive in Aziz’s village one day, his world is shattered. In order for he and his brother to survive without parents, Aziz must join the Special Lashkar, a US-funded militia always hungry for Afghan recruits. Leaving his childhood behind, he departs for the untamed border where brutal training regimes morph into a conflict both savage and entirely contrived. Aziz struggles to understand his place; will he embrace the brutality of war or leave it behind, and risk placing his brother – and a young woman he comes to love – in jeopardy?

Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has written a gripping, morally complex debut novel, an astonishing feat of empathy and imagination about boys caught in a deadly conflict.

 

‘Harrowing, brutal, and utterly absorbing . . . Ackerman has spun a morally complex tale of revenge, loyalty, and brotherly love.’ – Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

‘Haunting . . . Powerful . . . a bone-deep understanding of the toll that a seemingly endless war has taken on ordinary Afghans.’ – New York Times

‘Full of insight, compassion, and extraordinarily beautiful writing. I could not recommend this novel more highly.’ – Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds

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Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance

In this gripping and heartfelt memoir, Jack and Rochelle Sutin recount how they fell in love during the height of World War II in the dense forests of Poland.

Though they grew up in the same village, Jack and Rochelle only knew each other at a distance having once shared a clumsy school dance. After the Nazi occupation, they were torn from their families and forced to live in labour camps. Each managed a daring escape into the surrounding forest, where they happened upon each other and, along with thousands of others, banded together to join the Polish underground resistance.

Jack and Rochelle’s poignant shared narrative reveals the extreme conditions they endured while living for years in an underground bunker in the woods, and the impossible love affair that grew out of it and lasted over fifty years. More than an account of stark survival, this is an inspirational story of courage, resilience, and, above all, true love.

Lawrence Sutin, the editor of Jack and Rochelle, is the author of numerous works including A Postcard Memoir and the critically acclaimed All Is Change: The Two-Thousand Year Journey of Buddhism to the West. He lives in Minneapolis, and currently teaches at Hamline University.

‘Captures the horror of the Holocaust without missing the central characters’ strength, courage, and passion.’ – USA Today

‘A powerful and illuminating personal account . . . Faithful inclusiveness, combined with a depth of feeling never minimised and never paraded, makes this strong, honest, affecting book a valuable addition to Holocaust literature.’ – New York Times Book Review

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Ice-Candy Man

Eight-year-old Lenny is crippled by polio but inquis­itive and spirited. She spends her days in the park with her beloved Ayah, surrounded by a plethora of other park-goers: there’s the Sikh zoo-keeper, the Pathan, strong Imman Din, and Ice-Candy Man, peddling popsicles and political unrest.

But as British rule in India draws to a close, whispers of Partition reach the affluent fringes of Lahore. Sectarian violence soon escalates and riots break out amongst the city’s once harmo­nious people. Amidst the chaos, Lenny’s Ayah is abducted and her idyll shatters. Her innocence, exuberant humour, and heart-wrenching insight lead us through these momentous events, revealing the fragile unity of a nation as it teeters on the cusp of historic change.

Read an extract here.

‘Bapsi Sidhwa’s voice, comic, serious, subtle, always sprightly, is an important one to hear. I’m delighted to see her terrific novels back in print.’ – Salman Rushdie

‘A ground-breaking writer, whose works have lost none of their freshness, humour or heart.’ – Kamila Shamsie

‘Heartbreak coexists with slapstick and jokes give way to lines of glowing beauty. Confirms Sidhwa’s reputation as Pakistan’s finest
English language novelist.’ – New York Times Book Review

‘Compulsively readable.’ – Observer

‘A fluent, fast moving narrative of wit and wisdom.’ – Irish Times

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Marie

Translated and with an afterword by Faith Evans

Set among the bustling train stations and narrow rues of 1930s Paris, where the threat of war already hangs in the air, Marie is a hypnotically powerful novel about the interior life of a 20th century woman, suffused with exquisite moments of sensual acuity and profound insight.

Marie is happy. She has a husband whom she adores and she’s easily pleased by the smaller things in life – the drag of a cigarette, a hotel balcony, the scattering of light across the sea.

But while on holiday, she spots a young man lying on the beach and is instantly drawn to him. Their connection develops into a passionate and intense love affair, opening a window into Marie’s untapped desires. As she explores the vibrant immediacy of her yearnings, Marie begins to see her entire world anew.

Read an extract here

‘Magnificent.’ – Sunday Times

‘Exquisite, elegant, and nonsentimental . . . Bourdouxhe conveys the sharp, almost physical intensity of thought as experience by a central character suspended between apathy and restless curiosity.’ – Irish Times

‘Bourdouxhe was a writer admired by her contemporary Simone de Beauvoir. It is easy to see why: female autonomy, a delight in Paris and its freedoms, the rapture of living in the present and seizing life with both hands . . . luminous and unforced.’ – Times Educational Supplement

‘An unforgettable, thrilling achievement . . . What this novel does, no less, is stake a claim to Bourdouxhe’s rightful position alongside Proust and Virginia Woolf as an explored of interior life . . . inspiring and impassioned.’ – Sunday Times

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Ways to Disappear

‘Reads like an Ali Smith novel with a fun Brazilian noir vibe.’ – Publisher’s Weekly starred review

‘Fleet and vivid.’ – The New Yorker

In a crumbling park in the crumbling back end of Copacabana, a woman stopped under an almond tree with a suitcase and a cigar.

That was the last time anyone saw the famous Brazilian novelist Beatriz Yagoda. Upon hearing the news of her disappearance, her American translator Emma flies immediately to Brazil. There, in the sticky, sugary heat of Rio, Emma and Beatriz’s two grown children conspire to solve the author’s curious disappearance. But as the trio begins to uncover the bizarre and troubling affairs Beatriz has left in her wake, they realise their search for her is far more cryptic than they could have imagined. Are the secrets to Beatriz’s disappearance hidden in her enigmatic novels? Or are her words obscuring more than they reveal?

Brilliant, suspenseful, and compulsively readable, Ways to Disappear is a fabulously inventive novel about the ways we do appear to each other. Both playful and profound, it is as much a mystery as it is a manifesto on the joys of translation. Idra Novey is a bold, unprecedented new voice in American fiction.

Read the opening extract of the book here. 

 

‘Defies convention and categorization, effortlessly careening from magical realism to noir, reckless romance to meta-fictional dictionary definitions. The result is a story as propulsive as it is compelling.’– Los Angeles Review of Books

‘A delightful, inventive paean to writing that generates real emotion and genuine unease. This book is seared to perfection.’ – NPR

 ‘Bewitching . . . A tale of playful suspense that ingeniously transmutes into a profound meditation on language and love.’ – O, The Oprah Magazine

‘Unlike any novel you’ve ever read. It’s a lush page-turner, a journey into the unique madness of modern Brazil, and a joyful ride into the crazed passion of literary creation itself.’ – Hector Tobar

‘It’s impossible to put this book down, or to shake its residue once you’ve finished it.’ – Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams

‘Lush and tightly woven . . . charges forward with the momentum of a bullet.’ – New York Times Book Review

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Villa Triste

‘A Marcel Proust of our time.’ – Nobel Committee for Literature

Translated by John Cullen

At the outbreak of the Algerian war, a young man who calls himself Victor Chmara flees Paris for a small lakeside town on the border of France and Switzerland.

It’s here that he meets the flamboyant doctor René Meinthe and the mysterious auburn-haired Yvonne. Victor quickly embraces their world of local pageants, soirees and late-night debauchery, and begins to settle into an endless summer with Yvonne.

But René and Yvonne’s lives are also full of unanswered questions and half-truths. As he looks back years later, Victor remains beguiled and mystified by those lost, unknowable friends and the enchanted place he chose to leave behind.
One of Modiano’s most elegiac and haunting novels, Villa Triste is an intoxicating investigation into time, place, identity, and memory.

Read an extract here

‘Modiano is a pure original.’ – Adam Thirwell

‘The prose – elliptical, muted, eloquent – falls on the reader like an enchantment, and no less so in English than in French. No one is currently writing such beautiful tales of loss, melancholy, and remembrance.’ – Independent

‘Over almost half a century, Modiano has devised and made popular a language of loss.’ – Telegraph

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The Men’s Club

A men’s club didn’t exclude women. It also didn’t exclude kangaroos. It included only men.

The late 1970s. Seven men – friends, acquaintances, and strangers – gather in a suburban home in Berkeley, California. They intend to start a men’s club, the purpose of which isn’t immediately clear to any of them.

But as the evening wears on and the drinks flow faster, they discover a powerful and passionate desire to talk – to unburden and to share, to try to comprehend their feelings, their insecurities, their lives.

Kramer claims he’s slept with six hundred women; Berliner and his wife beat each other as foreplay; Cavanaugh – big handsome guy – is haunted by his former life as a professional basketball player. And Terry just can’t get over Deborah Zeller.

The Men’s Club is a scathing, pitying, absurdly dark and funny novel about manhood and masculinity.

‘Leonard Michaels is a brilliant an original stylist.’ ­– London Review of Books

‘Laughter gathers itself up, like a snowball rolling downhill, and what had seemed a grim and unpromising premise has turned into a “comic extravaganza”. The men get what’s coming to them, hilariously and, even better, they are too dumb to realise it.’ – Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

‘The climax is fitting, horrific, and wonderfully droll.’ – New York Times Book Review

 ‘One of the best American stylists of the 20th century.’ – David Bezmozgis

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Oranges

With a foreword by Richard Mabey

In Penn Station was a machine that split and squeezed oranges. They rolled down a chute and were pressed against a blade. Then the two halves went in separate directions to be cupped and crunched. The juice fell into a pitcher. You paid dearly for it.

Inspired by the glass of freshly-squeezed juice he bought every day on his morning commute, Pulitzer Prize-winner John McPhee takes us on an idiosyncratic and re­markable journey in search of the world’s most popular fruit.

With his trademark style and enchanting wit, he unravels the rich history and fas­cinating cultivation of this botanical marvel. Beginning with the fruit’s origins in Southeast Asia, McPhee travels from the great orangeries be­longing to Louis XIV, to the shores of Andalucia, and through the endless groves in Florida. Along the way he introduces the people whose live­lihood depends on the world’s insatiable demand for the fruit: orange pickers, a citrus scientist, and an orange baron worth over $20 million.

In his inimitable and endlessly compelling prose, McPhee reveals the story behind this extraordinary fruit. Your morning glass of juice will never be the same.

‘McPhee’s genius is that he can write about anything.’ – Robert Macfarlane

‘McPhee is a grand master of narrative non-fiction.’ – Guardian

‘A delicious book . . . more absorbing than many a novel.’ – Harper’s

‘Fascinating. A sterling example of what a fresh point of view, a clear style, a sense of humour and diligent investigation can do to reveal the inherent interest in something as taken-for-granted as your morning orange juice.’ – Wall Street Journal

‘A classic of American reportage . . . a meeting point of zest, pith, colour, fruit, sweetness and acid.’ – Julian Barnes

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London Perceived

In unfailingly elegant prose, V. S. Pritchett provides a timeless distillation of the city of London and  the London experience. He shows us the capital through the centuries – a panorama of history, art, and literature; a paradox of grandeur and grime, the bustling markets and tranquil parks, the palac­es and pubs.

At the heart of the book is an astute and affectionate portrait of the Lon­doner – enigmatic and enduring, with a remote but insistent respect for law, royalty, and ritual, a love of argument, a tolerance of eccentrics. Pritchett gives us famous Londoners – Wren, Pepys, Dickens – and the ordinary folk – milkmen and shopkeepers,  Chelsea pensioners, and the London bobby.

London Perceived tells the surprising story of this great and his­toric city – Londoners will see their home anew, and visitors appreciate its small wonders. A loving tribute to London past and present.

‘He is alarmingly good . . . Pritchett’s essays are marvels.’ – James Wood

‘A splendid book.’ – New York Times

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The Trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover

With an introduction by Thomas Grant

When Penguin released a new, unexpurgated edition of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960 they were charged with the crime of publishing obscene material. Penguin was forced to defend the book’s literary merit in a court of law – thus beginning one of the most famous trials of the 20th century.

There to take it all in, armed with her pencil and paper, was Sybille Bedford – who wastes no time complaining about the claustrophobia of Courtroom 1 at the Old Bailey. With her trademark wit and flair, Bedford presents us with a play-by-play of the trial: from the prosecution’s questioning of the novel’s thirteen sexual encounters and their listing of all 66 instances of swear words, to the dozens of witnesses who testified – including the Bishop of Woolwich and E. M. Forster.

Bedford gives us a timeless and dramatic account that captures one of the most fascinating and absurd moments in both legal and publishing history, when attitudes and morals shifted forever.

‘One of Britain’s most stylish and accomplished writers.’ – Telegraph

‘An excellent stylist and a splendid narrator.’ – The New Yorker

‘When the history of modern prose in English comes to be written, Sybille Bedford will have to appear in any list of its most dazzling practitioners.’ – Bruce Chatwin

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A Broken Mirror

Translated by Josep Miquel Sobrer

A haunting classic of modern Catalan literature from one of Spain’s most prestigious writers

Extending from the prosperous Barcelona of the 1870s to the advent of the Franco dictatorship and the Spanish Civil War, A Broken Mirror traces three generations of a burgeoning  aristocratic family at the turn of the 19th century.

When Salvador Valldaura first meets Teresa Goday he is seduced by her velvety eyes and contagious laughter. Valldaura, a wealthy diplomat, and Teresa, a widowed fishmonger’s daughter, marry and move into a grand, sprawling villa on the outskirts of Barcelona. In that house, their family flourishes and fractures across a century of change: from Teresa’s second husband and her secret, illegitimate son Masdéu, to daughter Sofía and Sofía’s playboy husband Eladi, and son, Ramon, tormented by a heinous act from his childhood and unknowingly in love with his half-sister, as well as several generations of servants, ghosts – and even a rodent.

Through a kaleidoscope of perspectives and turning upon events both intimate and historic, A Broken Mirror tells the story of a splintering matriarchal dynasty founded on love, lies, secrets, and betrayals.

‘Enchanting . . . A Nabokovian precision of observation.’ – Los Angeles Times

‘Rodoreda is a domestic existentialist, a brilliant composer of interiors, both physical and mental.’ – Nation

‘Captivating . . . Rodoreda reveals the inner life of her characters precisely and unsentimentally, often merely with a well-turned sentence. A beautifully muted and intricate rendering of the aristocracy of Barcelona.’ – Kirkus (starred review)

‘It is a total mystery to me why Rodoreda isn’t widely worshipped. Tremendous, tremendous writer.’ –John Darnielle, The Mountain Goats

**Buy this title here.**

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The Crofter and the Laird

In 1969, John McPhee moved his family from New Jersey across the Atlantic to live in the land of his forefathers, the island of Colonsay – seventeen square miles of dew and damp twenty-five miles off the coast of Scotland. They rented a crofthouse, his children enrolled at the local school, and they soon were accepted into this tightly circumscribed community of 138 people.

Intertwining history and legend, McPhee gives us a comprehensive portrait of this remote and misty land. He battles the fierce gales on the outer shoals of the Ardskenish Peninsula, listens to the crofters complain of the laird over drams in the island’s sole pub, and meets perhaps the last of the Great Highland bagpipers.

A blend of anthropology and travelogue, The Crofter and the Laird presents us with a perfect mirror of daily-life in the Highlands. McPhee writes with insight, sensitivity, and fondness for these hardy people – resulting in an account that’s as honest, humorous, and frank as the locals themselves.

‘McPhee brings to his book about the island of Colonsay in the Scottish Hebrides a visual precision and a grace of language that are quite rare.’ – Harper’s

‘A small masterpiece of penetrating warmth and perception.’ – Time

‘One always has the sense with McPhee of a man at a pitch of pleasure in his work, a natural at it, finding out on behalf of the rest of us how some portion of the world works.’ – New York Times

‘Quite astonishing. And even the Gaelic names are spelt correctly. The book is in many ways unusually frank and the portraits incisive … neither sentimental nor judgmental, but clear-cut and sensible.’ – Iain Crichton Smith

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Dark at the Crossing

*Longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction*

‘A fascinating and topical novel.’ – New York Times Book Review

The border crossing in Kilis smelled of sharp, acrid smoke. Just past it, in the Syrian town of Azaz, explosions came. Smoke towered upward, running along the horizon like black stitches, fastening earth to sky.

Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Iraqi who received US citizenship in exchange for translating during the war, he and his sister relocate to Michigan. His sister graduates university and becomes engaged, while Haris works menial jobs and grows increasingly restless. Instead of attending his sister’s wedding, he flies to Gaziantep to join the Free Army’s fight against Bashar al-Assad.

But he’s caught and robbed trying to enter Syria, and is taken in by a refugee couple – Amir, a former revolutionary, and Daphne, a sophisticated woman haunted by grief. After discovering they had to flee Syria without their young daughter and that Daphne is desperate to return, Haris’s choices become ever more wrenching: Whose side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? What is he really searching for?

Dark at the Crossing is a trenchantly observed novel of raw urgency and compassion that explores loss, second chances, and why we choose to believe.

‘As taut and harrowing as the place it depicts, a region where fifteen years of relentless war play out in filthy refugee camps and upscale shopping malls. A brilliant, admirably merciless novel.’ – Ben Fountain

‘They don’t award medals of valor to novelists, but while reading this book I often thought, Maybe they should.’ – Tom Bissell

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The Gastronomical Me

With a new introduction by Bee Wilson

A classic of gastronomic writing that redefined the genre, The Gastronomical Me is a memoir of travel, love and loss, but above all hunger.

Beginning with her first food memory – the greyish-pink fuzz of her grandmother’s strawberry jam – M.F.K. Fisher traces the development of her appetite from her childhood in America to her arrival in Dijon as a young woman, where she tasted French cooking for the first time. In Europe she embarked on a whole new way of eating, drinking and living, and she recounts unforgettable meals shared with an assortment of eccentric characters, set against a backdrop of mounting pre-war tensions.

Here are meals as seductions, educations, diplomacies and communions, in settings as diverse as a bedsit above a patisserie, a Swiss farm, and cruise liners across oceans. In prose both convivial and confiding, Fisher teaches us the art of ordering well, the pleasures of dining alone, and how to eat so that you always find nourishment, in both head and heart.

 

‘Poet of the appetites.’ – John Updike

‘I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose.’ – W.H. Auden

‘She is not just a great food writer. She is a great writer, full stop.’ – Rachel Cooke, Observer

‘Her writing makes your mouth water.’ – Financial Times

‘Unique among the classics of gastronomic writing… The Gastronomical Me is a book about adult loss, survival, and love.’ – New York Review of Books

 

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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

In my reckless and undiscouraged youth, I worked in a walnut-panelled office thirteen floors above West 35th Street…

When 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish steps out of her apartment on New Year’s Eve in 1984, little does she know she’s about to embark on a journey across the whole of Manhattan.

Lillian is no ordinary 85-year-old. On her arrival to New York in the 1930s she took the city by storm, working her way up from writing copy for Macy’s department store to become the world’s highest paid advertising woman. Now, alone on New Year’s Eve, her usual holiday ritual in ruins, Lillian decides to take a walk. After all, it might be her last chance. Armed with only her mink coat and quick-witted charm, Lillian walks, and begins to reveal the story of her remarkable life.

Based on a true story, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk paints a portrait of an extraordinary woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hiphop.

‘Extraordinary . . . Rooney creates a glorious paean to a distant literary life and time.’ Publishers Weekly

‘A witty and heartfelt ode to a city, to its infinite variety, to its melting pot of citizens.’ – Boston Globe

‘Vividly depicts an evolving New York City as well as the changing roles of women over the course of the 20th century.’ – BookPage

‘Easily the best gadding-around-town novel since Dawn Powell and Dorothy Parker.’ – Daniel Handler, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events

 

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Pull Me Under

On a cloudless afternoon in the peaceful Shikoku city of Tokushima, twelve-year-old Chizuru Akitani walked into the staff room at Motomachi Elementary, covered with blood and clutching a letter opener.

Chizuru Akitani is the daughter of the famous violinist and Japanese Living National Treasure Hiro Akitani. Overweight and hafu (her mother is white), she is relentlessly tormented at school. When her mother dies suddenly and the cruelty at school only intensifies, Chizuru snaps in a moment of blind rage and fatally stabs a classmate in the neck.

After seven years of institutionalisation, Chizuru flees Japan for a new life in the United States. She renames herself Rio, graduates from nursing school, marries and has a daughter, determined to keep her past a secret. But when a mysterious package arrives on her doorstep announcing the death of her father, she feels compelled to return to Japan for the first time in twenty years. Back in her homeland, long-kept secrets are suddenly unearthed and Rio’s dark past is thrust back into her life.

Full of sensual descriptions of Japan, its culture, and its language, Pull Me Under is a riveting exploration of home, identity, and the limits of forgiveness.

‘Revelatory.’ – Elle

‘Beautifully stark and simple, and at the same time playful, earthy, and violent. A natural born writer.’ – Rachel Kushner

‘A fierce and suspenseful exploration of the profoundly mysterious nature of identity, written with precise and spectacular beauty.’ – Laura van den Berg

‘Both dark and illuminating. Reminds you just how many lives women can, or must, lead simultaneously in order to survive. Kelly Luce has amazing control over this fragmented experience with a narrator that draws you into the eye of the storm.’ – Olivia Sudjic

‘A suspense novel with a female protagonist that gets more right about women than so many others.’ – NPR

‘Phenomenal . . . captivates and disquiets in its search for answers about the parts of ourselves that are unknowable.’ – Electric Literature

‘Psychologically complex; inspires horror, sympathy and even, at times, humour.’ – Japan Times

‘Beautifully written and utterly hypnotic.’– Bustle

‘Propulsive and fresh . . . Luce knows how to end her story, and does so satisfyingly.’ – Chicago Tribune

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The Nachman Stories

With an introduction by David Bezmozgis

He played the violin and he solved problems in mathematics. His need for ecstasy was abundantly satisfied.

Raphael Nachman is a solitary, self-deprecating, aging mathematician whose sensual needs are fulfilled by working out maths problems, playing the violin, and betting on racehorses. Unbound from romantic entanglements and parental duties, Nachman is free to focus on work and contemplating the moral condition.

 From communist Cracow where Nachman tries to determine if his female guide is a government spy, to a barbershop in Santa Monica where he uses his unwitting hairdresser as a therapist, Leonard Michaels gives us glimpses of this esoteric and endearing man during the seemingly inconsequential moments which make up a life.

 The last thing Michaels wrote before his death, The Nachman Stories showcases a masterful style, infused with a grace and wisdom. Each story is delightful and profound – presenting us with a befuddling, comical, and all-too-recognizable portrait of humanity.

‘Leonard Michaels stands alongside Grace Paley and Philip Roth. The Nachman Stories are seven irregular beauties, to be read again and again.’ – New York Times Book Review

‘Anyone concerned with the American short story should read and know these stories.’ – San Francisco Chronicle

‘Among the few essential American short story writers of the past half-century.’ – Nation

‘These stories are terrific, wonderfully written, shot through with an enigmatic, elusive sense of mystery.’ – The Millions

 

 

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A Cat, a Man, and Two Women

‘Considering all I’ve sacrificed, is it too much to ask for one little cat in return?’

Shinako has been ousted from her marriage by her husband Shozo and his younger lover Fukuko. She’s lost everything: her home, status, and respectability. Yet the only thing she longs for is Lily, the elegant tortoiseshell cat she shared with her husband. As Shinako pleads for Lily’s return, Shozo’s reluctance to part with the cat reveals his true affections, and the lengths he’ll go to hold onto the one he loves most.

A small masterpiece, A Cat, a Man, and Two Women is a novel about loneliness, love, and companionship of the most unexpected kind. In this story of Japanese society and manners, Tanizaki gives us a perfectly-formed oddball comedy, and a love triangle in which the only real rival is feline.

‘A tour de force – catnip.’ – New York Times

‘One of the finest pieces of literature concerning cats ever written.’ – Choice

‘Tanizaki is a very brilliant novelist.’ – Haruki Murakami

‘A really great writer . . . Tanizaki has got this warm, ticklishness to his strangeness.’ – David Mitchell

 

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Christmas with Dull People

‘They say (said Reginald) that there’s nothing sadder than victory except defeat. If you’ve ever stayed with dull people during what is alleged to be the festive season, you can probably revise that saying.’

These four Christmas stories present Saki at his inimitable, satirical best as he addresses the most perilous aspects of the holiday period: visiting dull relatives, tolerating Christmas Eve merriment, receiving unwanted gifts, and writing ecstatic thank you cards for those aforementioned gifts.

The undisputed master of the English short story, never is Saki’s satire sharper than when dissecting the customs of the upper classes at Christmas. These are four tales guaranteed to delight and disturb any Christmas gathering.

‘Saki is like a perfect martini but with absinthe stirred in . . . heady, delicious and dangerous.’ – Stephen Fry

‘The best of his stories are still better than the best of just about every other writer around.’ – Roald Dahl

‘Saki was irreplaceable and unreplaced.’ London Review of Books

‘I took it up to my bedroom, opened it casually and was unable to go to sleep until I had finished it’ – Noël Coward

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Tomorrow

With a new introduction by Alison Moore.

‘The island was singularly without pretension; just a modest chrysalis-shaped piece of undulating pasture, arable and marshland – a place ignored by those who required drama of an obvious kind.’

Every year Elisabeth Danziger travels to the Danish island of Møn to spend one week at The Tamarisks, a lavish hotel which was, fifteen years ago in 1945, her family’s second home.

With each annual visit, Elisabeth stays in the same room and walks familiar paths. She visits the local museum to peer at artefacts that once belonged to her family; she unscrews the panel of an old bath tub to retrieve the crumbling piece of paper on which is written her name and that of Daniel Eberhardt – her beloved cousin.

Elisabeth’s annual pilgrimage is part of a long-standing family promise to meet again in Møn after their separation during the War. A promise that only she has fulfilled. And she has no reason to suspect this year will be any different from all the others…

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A Small Place

With a new preface by the author.

‘If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see…’

So begins Jamaica Kincaid’s powerful portrait of the damaged paradise that was her childhood home.

The island of Antigua is a magical place of breathtaking beauty – with cloudless skies, dazzling blue waters, and majestic sunsets. But it is also a place of dramatic contrasts. What one doesn’t see when on holiday on this ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies is the sweeping corruption, the dilapidated schools and hospitals and homes, and the shameful legacy of its colonial past.

In A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid candidly appraises where she grew up, and makes palpable the impact of European colonisation and tourism. The book is a missive to the traveller, whether American or European, who wants to escape the banality and corruption of some large place, Kincaid, eloquent and resolute, reminds us that the Antiguan people, formerly British subjects, are unable to escape the same drawbacks of their own tiny realm – that behind the benevolent Caribbean scenery are human lives, always complex and often fraught with injustice.

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The Little Virtues

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY RACHEL CUSK

‘As far as the education of children is concerned I think they should be taught not the little virtues but the great ones.’

Between 1944 and 1960, Natalia Ginzburg wrote The Little Virtues, a collection of eleven vivid portraits of life that are central to her legacy as one of the greatest Italian writers of the twentieth century. From the Italian countryside, where she and her husband lived in exile under fascist rule, to the melancholy streets of 1960s London, Ginzburg explores loneliness and belonging against the backdrop of post-war Europe.

In The Little Virtues, Ginzburg takes familiar objects and experiences – worn-out shoes, money boxes, meatballs, childhood, silence – and transforms them into subjects of great significance. While haunted by the political events of the time, Ginzburg rests her gaze on the human intimacies that shape and define our lives: friendships, marriage and parenthood. She describes her longest relationship – with her writing – in a definitive piece on vocation and motherhood, while her groundbreaking essay on raising children remains as vital as the day it was written.

The Little Virtues is a poignant portrait of Italy in the twentieth century and a singular work of memoir: intrepid, wise and dazzling.

 

‘I really love and admire The Little Virtues.’ – Zadie Smith

‘The book that taught me what I want to teach my daughter.’ – Belle Boggs, The New Yorker

‘A glowing light of modern Italian literature… As direct and clean as if it were carved in stone, it yet speaks thoughts of the heart.’ – The New York Times Book Review

‘A profound commentary on Italian life.’ – Tim Parks, London Review of Books

‘This reissue of a 20th century classic contains 11 essays of wisdom that’ll leave you seeing the world from a new perspective.’ – Emerald Street

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Ants Among Elephants

‘My stories, my family’s stories, were not stories in India. They were just life.

When I left and made new friends in a new country, only then did the things that happened to my family, the things we had done, become stories. Stories worth telling, stories worth writing down.’

Like one in six people in India, Sujatha Gidla was born an untouchable. While most untouchables are illiterate, her family was educated by Canadian missionaries in the 1930s, making it possible for Gidla to attend elite schools and move to America at the age of twenty-six. It was only then that she saw how extraordinary – and yet how typical – her family history truly was.

Her mother and uncles were born in the last days of British colonial rule. They grew up in a world marked by poverty and injustice, but also full of possibility. In the slums where they lived, everyone had a political allegiance, and rallies, agitations, and arrests were commonplace. The independence movement promised freedom. Yet for untouchables and other poor and working people, little changed. In rich, novelistic prose, Ants Among Elephants tells Gidla’s extraordinary family story detailing her uncle’s emergence as a poet and revolutionary and her mother’s struggle for emancipation through education.

A moving portrait of love, hardship, and struggle, Ants Among Elephants is a personal history of modern India, told from the bottom up.

‘A vital and illuminating book. Sujatha Gidla tells it like it is. She rips the pious mask off a society that institutionalises injustice and inhumanity in the name of ancient culture and religious practice. We need libraries full of books like hers.’
–Arundhati Roy

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In the Distance

Finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Håkan Söderström is a man who has become a legend. Giant in size, rumoured to be bloodthirsty and fearless, he is known simply as ‘the Hawk’.

But behind this myth is a tale of loss and survival. As a young man Håkan is sent from Gothenburg with his brother Linus to seek their fortunes in New York. In the chaos of the port, he is separated from Linus and finds himself instead on a ship bound for California. He speaks no English and has no money but determined to find his brother, Håkan sets out on a journey east. As he travels on foot he moves against the tide of history, experiencing the Gold Rush and its effects, encountering capitalists and colonialists, explorers and early scientists, and witnessing the formation of America and the betrayal of its dream.

In the Distance is a novel about radical foreignness – about being lost in a country that does not yet exist. As Håkan confronts desert and mountains, he is thrown between the threat of violence and devastating loneliness, all the while keeping the image of his brother, and the hope of companionship, in the distance.

‘A brutal, sad, tender coming-of-age story, set in a historical past that feels both familiar and at the same time like nothing we’ve ever encountered before.’ – Guardian

‘Exquisite: assured, moving and masterful, as profound and precise an evocation of loneliness as any book I’ve ever read.’ – Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

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Cassandra at the Wedding

‘I am not, at heart, a jumper. I think I knew all the time I was sizing up the bridge that the strong possibility was I’d attend my sister’s wedding.’

Cassandra Edwards is driving home to her family’s Californian ranch to attend the wedding of her beloved identical twin, Judith. A graduate student at Berkeley, Cassandra is gay, brilliant, nerve-racked, miserable – and hell-bent on making sure her sister’s wedding doesn’t go ahead.

Armed with a clutch bag full of pills and an unquenchable thirst for brandy, Cassandra arrives determined to make Judith see sense. But over the course of the next couple of days Cassandra unravels.

A classic of twentieth-century American literature, Cassandra at the Wedding is a stylish, witty and insightful novel about love, loyalty and coming to terms with the only life you have.

‘I – whose usual bed time is ten o’clock – stayed up all night reading that exquisite Cassandra at the Wedding – dazzled by the pyrotechnics of such an artist.’ – Carson McCullers

‘Modern readers will relish the pin-sharp portrait of a tiny part of society, as if picked out in Californian sunlight. Really good writing like this doesn’t age.’ – Guardian

‘Witty and assured. Her tone is dark but jaunty, the writing off-handedly smart.’ – London Review of Books

‘Baker’s ear for dialogue is acute, her prose immaculate… this is a novel of exceptional quality.’ – TLS

 

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Family Lexicon

‘The places, events and people are all real. I have invented nothing.’

Natalia Ginzburg wrote her masterful autobiographical novel Family Lexicon while living in London in the 1960s. Homesick for her Italian family, she summoned them in this celebration of the routines and rituals, in-jokes and insults and, above all, the repeated sayings that make up every family.

Giuseppe Levi is a Jewish scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking. Impatient and intractable, he is constantly at odds with his impressionable and wistful wife Lidia – yet he cannot be without her. Together they preside over their five children in a house filled with argument and activity, books and politics, visitors, friends and famous faces. But as their children grow up against the backdrop of Mussolini’s Italy, the Levi household must become more than just a home, but a stronghold against fascism.

Intimate, enchanting and comedic, Family Lexicon is an unforgettable novel about language, memory, and the lasting power that family holds over all of us.

‘I’m utterly entranced by Ginzburg’s style – her mysterious directness, her salutary ability to lay things bare that never feels contrived or cold, only necessary, honest, clear.’- Maggie Nelson

‘Ginzburg’s beautiful words have such solidity and simplicity. I read her with joy and amazement.’- Tessa Hadley

‘A small, entrancing classic.’- Hermione Lee

‘A glowing light of modern Italian literature . . . As direct and clean as if it were carved in stone, it yet speaks thoughts of the heart.’- New York Times

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The Pine Barrens

The Pine Barrens are so close to New York that on a very clear night a bright light in the pines would be visible from the Empire State Building.

New Jersey is one of the most densely populated US states, but unknown to many it is also home to a vast wilderness, a forest of pines, oaks and cedars almost identical in size to the Grand Canyon.

This is the Pine Barrens. People tend to think of New Jersey as a suburban thoroughfare, yet huge sections of the Pine Barrens remain uninhabited. The sandy soil is too acidic for farming, but beneath it lies an immense natural reservoir of soft pure water, while millions of wild blueberry and cranberry bushes grow amongst the trees and alongside the rivers.

With his customary curiosity, McPhee sets out to map this mysterious landscape. He retraces its history and meets the ‘pineys’, the often misunderstood people who call the pines home. One resident can navigate the dense woods by sheer memory, and another responds to McPhee’s knock on his door with a pork chop in one hand, a raw onion in the other, and the inimitable greeting, ‘Come in. Come in. Come on the hell in.’

The Pine Barrens is a compelling portrait of a place and its people, captured at a crucial moment when it seemed headed slowly toward extinction.

‘McPhee’s genius is that he can write about anything.’ – Robert Macfarlane

‘McPhee is a grand master of narrative non-fiction.’ Guardian

‘A direct loving look at the people and social and natural history of the piney belt of New Jersey, beginning with a chatty old bachelor cranberryman whom we meet lunching on raw onions.’ – New York Times

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Consider the Oyster

‘An oyster leads a dreadful but exciting life.’

The celebrated American food writer M. F. K. Fisher pays tribute to that most delicate and enigmatic of foods: the oyster. She tells of oysters found in stews and soups, roasted, baked, fried, prepared à la Rockefeller or au naturel – and of the pearls sometimes found therein.

As she describes each dish, Fisher recalls her own initiation into the ‘strange cold succulence’ of raw oysters as a young woman in Marseille and Dijon, and explores both the bivalve’s famed aphrodisiac properties and its equally notorious gut-wrenching powers.

Plumbing the ‘dreadful but exciting’ life of the oyster, Fisher invites readers to share in the comforts and delights that this delicate edible evokes, and enchants us along the way with her characteristically wise and witty prose.

‘She is not just a great a great food writer. She is a great writer, full stop.’ – Rachel Cooke, Observer

‘Poet of the appetites.’ – John Updike

‘The greatest food writer who has ever lived.’ – Simon Schama

‘The most re-readable of all prose stylists.’ – Bee Wilson

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Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Found at the corner of Goodge Street, a goose and a black felt hat. Mr Henry Baker can have the same by applying at 6.30 this evening at 221B, Baker Street.

It’s the 27th of December and Sherlock Holmes has a new mystery to solve. Who is the unlucky owner of the festive goose dropped on Tottenham Court Road on Christmas morning – and just how much do they know about the priceless gem hidden inside it?

In this classic Christmas tale, Holmes and Watson take us on a riotous ride through London in search of the answer to a most singular and whimsical problem.

‘The immense talent, passion and literary brilliance that Conan Doyle brought to his work gives him a unique place in English letters.’ – Stephen Fry

‘Now, as in his lifetime, cab drivers, statesmen, academics, and raggedy-arsed children sit spellbound at his feet… No wonder,
then, if the pairing of Holmes and Watson has triggered more imitators than any other duo in literature.’ – John Le Carré

‘Holmes has a timeless intelligence that puts him head, shoulders and deer-stalker above all other detectives.’ – Alexander McCall Smith

‘Holmes is a mesmerising creation and Conan Doyle a master storyteller.’ – The Times

‘The world’s most famous detective.’ – Ruth Rendell

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Voices in the Evening

‘I did not know,’ I said, ‘that life could go at a run, with drums beating. For you, it is different. Your life, after I came into it, went on at its usual pace, without any sound.’

In a hushed Italian town after the Second World War Elsa lives with her parents in the house where she was born. Twenty-seven and unmarried, she is of constant concern to her mother, whose status anxiety manifests itself in acute hypochondria. But her mother does not know that Elsa has fallen in love with Tommasino, the elusive youngest son of the De Francisci family, who own the cloth factory that dominates the town.

In the course of their secret meetings, Elsa begins to imagine a future with Tommasino, free from the constraints of shared history and expectation. But all of this is threatened when their relationship is revealed.

An elegant, spare novel reminiscent of Chekhov, Voices in the Evening is an unforgettable story about first love and lost chances, from one of the greatest Italian writers of the twentieth century.

‘A profound commentary on Italian life.’ – Tim Parks, London Review of Books

‘Ginzburg gives us a new template for the female voice and an idea of what it might sound like.’ – Rachel Cusk

‘I’m utterly entranced by Ginzburg’s style – her mysterious directness, her salutary ability to lay things bare that never feels contrived or cold, only necessary, honest, clear.’ – Maggie Nelson

‘Sharp and lively.’ – Lydia Davis


‘Like Chekhov, she knows how to stand back and let her characters expose their own lives, their frailties and strengths, their illusions and private griefs. The result is nearly translucent writing – writing so clear, so direct, so seemingly simple that it gives the reader the magical sense of apprehending the world for the first time.’  – New York Times

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The Solace of Open Spaces

With a new introduction by Amy Liptrot

‘True solace is finding none, which is to say, it is everywhere.’

In 1976 Ehrlich travelled from her home in New York to Wyoming to shoot a film on sheep herders. While she was there, her partner David died. What started out as a work trip became the beginning of a new life, and a long and deep attachment to place.

Writing of sheep herding alone across Wyoming badlands, being struck by lightning, the true meaning of cowboys, and taking her new husband to the rodeo for their honeymoon, as well as the changing seasons, extreme winters and the wind, Ehrlich draws us into her personal relationship with this ‘planet of Wyoming’ she has come to call home.

In The Solace of Open Spaces, Ehrlich captures the incredible beauty and demanding harshness of natural forces in these remote reaches of the West, and the depth, tenderness and humour of the quirky souls who live there.

‘Vivid, tough, and funny. Wyoming has found its Whitman.’ – Annie Dillard

‘Ehrlich’s best prose belongs in a league with Annie Dillard and even Thoreau. The Solace of Open Spaces releases the bracing air of the wilderness into the stuffy, heated confines of winter in civilisation.’ – San Francisco Chronicle

‘A stunning rumination on life on Wyoming’s high plains . . . Ehrlich’s gorgeous prose is as expansive as a Wyoming vista, as charged as a bolt of prairie lightning.’–  Newsday

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Aetherial Worlds

‘Everything in this generous writer’s hands is vivid and alive.’ – Joy Williams

Translated by Anya Migdal

From one of contemporary Russia’s finest writers, a spellbinding collection of eighteen stories, her first to be translated into English in more than twenty years. Tolstaya’s ecstatic, witty and witchy imagination is in full force in autobiographical stories of delivering telegrams in Soviet Russia, conducting an affair with a man who may or may not exist, imagining a world without Italy (‘Nothing, nothing exists – there is no pasta, no Fellini, no pizza…) and, in the central story, recounting memories of summers spent in the family dacha and a time lost forever.  Beginning in Soviet Russia and setting off across the globe from Italy to France, Crete to America, this is a masterful collection by a brilliantly original writer.

‘The foremost writer of her generation, a miniaturist whose stories combine the linguistic stardust of Vladimir Nabokov and the emotional wisdom of Anton Chekhov.’ Washington Post

‘Marvellously vivid, perfectly tuned.’ New York Times

‘Playful and poetic…Shows this foxy, original writer at her most sublime.’ Wall Street Journal

‘An enchantress.’ Edna O’Brien, author of The Little Red Chairs

‘Grimly hilarious … Everything in this generous writer’s hands is vivid and alive… It’s all sublime… She has been compared to Chekhov. Absurd…Tolstaya barrels by him and knocks him in the ditch.’ Joy Williams, author of The Visiting Privilege

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Map of Another Town

‘I was a brash newcomer to it, and yet when I first felt the rhythm of its streets and smelled its ancient smells, I said, “Of course,” for I was once more in my own place, an  invader of what was already mine.’

M.F.K. Fisher moved to Aix-en-Provence with her daughters after the Second World War. In Map of Another Town, she traces the history of this ancient and famous town, known for its tree-lined avenues, pretty fountains and ornate façades. Beyond the tourist sights, Fisher introduces us to its inhabitants: the waiters and landladies, down-and-outs and local characters – all recovering from the affects of the war in a drastically new France.

A companion piece to The Gastronomical Me, in this memoir Fisher finds herself alone, older and with two small children to care for, while at the same time discovering a sense of belonging and acceptance. This is an intimate portrait of a place, which is also a self-portrait. As Fisher writes: ‘Here before me now is my picture, my map, of a place and therefore myself.’

‘Her writing makes your mouth water.’ Financial Times

‘I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose. – W.H. Auden

‘She is not just a great food writer. She is a great writer, full stop.’ – Rachel Cooke, Observer

‘Every time I return to M.F.K. Fisher – and she is the most re-readable of all prose stylists – I am struck that she tells you all the vital stuff that other food writers leave out. Her books are full of private cravings.’ – Bee Wilson, author of First Bite

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Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love

‘All my life I had known there was a secret. What I hadn’t known: the secret was me.’

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. Everything she had believed about her identity was a lie.

Shapiro’s parents were no longer alive. With only a handful of figures on a webpage, Shapiro set out to discover the truth about herself and her history.

Inheritance is a genetic detective story; a memoir that reads like a thriller. It is a book about secrets – secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in – a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

‘A compulsively-readable investigation into selfhood that burrows to the heart of what it means to accept, to love and to belong.’ Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

‘A gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.’ Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach

‘A writer of rare talent.’ Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

‘Beautiful … A fantastic writer.’ Dolly Alderton, The High Low podcast

‘Reads like a beautiful, lived novel, moving and personal and true.’ Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion

‘Searing… How do we live with ourselves after finding we are not who we thought we were? The answer is not disquieting. It is beautiful.’ Andre Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name

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