This shocking memoir by the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas is a book about sexual, political and artistic freedom. In “Before Night Falls”, Arenas recounts his journey from a poverty-stricken childhood in rural Cuba to his death in New York four decades later. He tells of his odyssey from young rebel fighting for the Revolution, through his suppression as a writer, his disillusionment with Castro, his imprisonment and torture, to his eventual flight from Cuba. Now a feature film starring Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp, “Before Night Falls” is a stunning testament to an individual’s urge to create against all odds.
Agatha Christie - An Autobiography
In an all-new edition, an engaging and illuminating chronicle of the life of the “Queen of Mystery,” complete with a bonus CD featuring the voice of the grande dame herself Agatha Christie was a woman of mystery, in every sense of the word. Her novels made her the world’s best-selling author, but her private life was hidden from view. For many years she dodged reporters and gave no interviews, and for a brief time she famously disappeared. She started writing her autobiography in April 1950 and finished it fifteen years later, when she was seventy-five years old and decided “it seems the right moment to stop.” In this book, which was originally published in 1977 in the United States by Dodd, Mead & Company, Agatha Christie sheds light on her past. She tells of her childhood in Victorian England, her volunteer work during World War II, her rise to success, her working habits, the inspiration for her most famous characters—Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple—and the places and people that influenced her.
Anthony Burgess - A Dead Man in Deptford
Set in Elizabethan England, Burgess's first novel for four years centres on the life of Christopher Marlowe, who was killed in suspicious circumstances in a tavern brawl in Deptford 400 years ago. It portrays a theatre genius riven by sexual and political conflicts.
J. G. Ballard - Crash
The definitive cult, post-modern novel - a shocking blend of violence, transgression and eroticism. When our narrator smashes his car into another and watches a man die in front of him, his sense of sexual possibilities in the world around him becomes detached. As he begins an affair with the dead man's wife, he finds himself drawn with increasing intensity to the mangled impacts of car crashes. Then he encounters Robert Vaughan, a former TV scientist turned nightmare angel of the expressway, who has gathered around him a collection of alienated crash victims and experiments with a series of erotic atrocities, each more sinister than the last. But Vaughan craves the ultimate crash - a head-on collision of blood, semen, engine coolant and iconic celebritiy.
Aldous Huxley - Crome Yellow
A comical cast of outlandish characters has gathered in the small English town of Crome for a social outing at the estate of Henry Wimbush. Among the odd, learned guests are a highly prolific writer; an idealist with plans for a "Rational State"; and a sensitive poet haplessly in love with Wimbush's niece.
Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway (angol)
This brilliant novel explores the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life. Direct and vivid in her account of the details of Clarissa Dalloway’s preparations for a party she is to give that evening, Woolf ultimately managed to reveal much more. For it is the feeling behind these daily events that gives Mrs. Dalloway its texture and richness and makes it so memorable. Foreword by Maureen Howard. "Mrs. Dalloway was the first novel to split the atom. If the novel before Mrs. Dalloway aspired to immensities of scope and scale, to heroic journeys across vast landscapes, with Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf insisted that it could also locate the enormous within the everyday; that a life of errands and party-giving was every bit as viable a subject as any life lived anywhere; and that should any human act in any novel seem unimportant, it has merely been inadequately observed. The novel as an art form has not been the same since. "Mrs. Dalloway also contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century." --Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
Esther Freud - Hideous Kinky
A young mother and her two daughters travel to Marrakech, Morocco during the 1960s. The mother, Julia, is disenchanted by the dreary conventions of English life, hence the journey. They live in a low-rent Marrakesh hotel and make a living out of making hand sewn dolls and with some money sent by the girls' father, a poet in London. Whilst the mother explores Sufism and quests for personal fulfillment, the daughters rebel. The elder, Bea, attempting to recreate her English life, wants to get an education and insists on going to school. The younger, Lucy, dreams of trivial things, like mashed potatoes, but also yearns for a father. Her hopes settle on a most unlikely candidate. The girls match their mother with Bilal, a Moroccan con man and acrobat; the relationship turns sexual and he moves in, becoming almost a surrogate father. However, Julia's friend encourages her to travel to Algiers and study with a Sufi master at a school that advocates the "annihilation of the ego". As money vanishes, Julia's response is to claim that "God will provide", albeit in the person of Bilal.
Salman Rushdie - Joseph Anton (angol)
On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie received a telephone call from a BBC journalist who told the author that he had been “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini. It was the first time Rushdie heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being “against Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran.” So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. Rushdie was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and various combinations of their names. Then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov—Joseph Anton. How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for more than nine years? How does he go on working? How does he fall in and out of love? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, and how does he learn to fight back? In this remarkable memoir, Rushdie tells that story for the first time; the story of the crucial battle for freedom of speech. He shares the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; and of how he regained his freedom. Compelling, provocative, and moving, Joseph Anton is a book of exceptional frankness, honesty, and vital importance. Because what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding somewhere in the world every day.
J. G. Ballard - The Atrocity Exhibition
When “The Atrocity Exhibition” was published in 1970 it went on to become a cult book and is now seen as one of JG Ballard’s key works. It features many of the obsessions that recur in his later books such as “Empire of the Sun”, “High-Rise” and “Super-Cannes”, as well as the seed of his most controversial work, “Crash”. In this revised addition, Ballard has added extensive annotations that help to unlock many of the mysteries of one of the most prophetic, enigmatic and original works of fiction of the late twentieth century.
David Herbert Lawrence - Lady Chatterley's Lover
The story of Constance Chatterley's sexual awakening through her affair with Mellors the gamekeeper has remained one of the most controversial novels of the twentieth century. Frustrated and ensnared by her marriage to Clifford Chatterley, an invalid, Constance is deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. Her relationship with Mellors rekindles her sexual feeling sand brings her back to life. She decides, however, to leave England to live with her sister Hilda and, though pregnant, she finds her own form of personal freedom. Unpublished in Britain until 1960 following the notorious trial, LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER is still considered to be an unsurpassed celebration of sexual love that broke new ground in its frankness and candour.
George Eliot - Daniel Deronda
George Eliot’s final novel and her most ambitious work, Daniel Deronda contrasts the moral laxity of the British aristocracy with the dedicated fervor of Jewish nationalists. Crushed by a loveless marriage to the cruel and arrogant Grandcourt, Gwendolen Harleth seeks salvation in the deeply spiritual and altruistic Daniel Deronda. But Deronda, profoundly affected by the discovery of his Jewish ancestry, is ultimately too committed to his own cultural awakening to save Gwendolen from despair.
Virginia Woolf - Orlando / Mrs. Dalloway / To the Lighthouse
Gathered together in one volume, three of Virginia Woolf`s greatest novels. ORLANDO has lived as both a man and a woman through the centuries. Written as a tribute to Vita Sackville-West, this exuberant and entertaining novel is a unique contribution to twentieth-century literature. MRS DALLOWAY follows the toughts and memories of a fashionable society hostess during a single day in June as she prepares for a party that evening. As she takes her heroine through the day, Virginia Woolf breaks new ground in English fiction-writing. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE The Ramsay family and their guests are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. Virginia Woolf`s most celebrated novel explores, through the postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, the complexities and tensions of family life.
Paul Auster - Winter Journal
From the bestselling novelist and author of The Invention of Solitude, a moving and highly personal meditation on the body, time, and language itself "That is where the story begins, in your body, and everything will end in the body as well. Facing his sixty-third winter, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster sits down to write a history of his body and its sensations—both pleasurable and painful. Thirty years after the publication of The Invention of Solitude, in which he wrote so movingly about fatherhood, Auster gives us a second unconventional memoir in which he writes about his mother's life and death. Winter Journal is a highly personal meditation on the body, time, and memory, by one of our most intellectually elegant writers.
Romain Gary - A virradat ígérete
"Fognak ők még csodálkozni. Egyszer majd aranybetűkkel lesz bevésve a neved az iskola minden falába. Holnap bemegyek, és felolvasom nekik a legutóbbi verseidet. Színésznő voltam, nagy színésznő, tudok verset szavalni. Te leszel az új D'Annunzio! Az új Victor Hugo! Nobel-díjat fogsz kapni" - suttogta a kisfiú fülébe a büszke anya, és a kisfiút ez a félelmetes erejű anyai akarás hajtotta egy életen át munkára, kalandra, veszélyről veszélyre. A koravén Romuska nem veszi komolyan anyja áradozásait, egészen addig, amíg szembesülnie nem kell azzal, hogy támasza, egyetlen rajongója súlyos beteg, és lehet, hogy már nem éri meg, hogy fiát hősként ünnepelje a világ. Rádöbben, hogy ennek a fantasztikus, különc asszonynak, aki minden áldozatot meghozott azért, hogy egy idegen országban egyedül felnevelje "tatár-zsidó fiát", nem szabad úgy meghalnia, hogy ő cserbenhagyja. És elkezdődik a drámai versenyfutás az idővel. Ebben a legkevésbé sem szokványos (mert a puszta tényekhez csak hézagosan ragaszkodó) életrajzban Romain Gary élete első negyven évéről számol be, arról, hogy végül sikerült valóra váltania anyja álmait, hitt a hitében, és összehozta az író-pilóta-diplomata hármas karriert, így próbálva meghálálni az anyai szeretetnek azt a hallatlan özönét és áldását, amely végigkísérte ifjúkorát. A virradat ígérete a francia olvasók és kritikusok szerint Romain Gary (Émile Ajar) egyik legjobb regénye. A nagy sikerű Előttem az élet (amelynek Magyarországon az elmúlt 35 évben számos kiadása volt) voltaképpen A virradat ígérete "remake-je", tükörregénye. Ideje hát, hogy végre az „eredeti változat” is megjelenjen. "Azt hiszem, ennél szebben még aligha írták meg az önző-önzetlen, erőszakosan odaadó, méregből s mézből összeszűrt anyai szeretet krónikáját." Szőllősy Klára
Agatha Christie - Életem
Agatha Christie-t (1890-1976) az egész világ ismeri. Több mint száz regényt, elbeszélést, színdarabot és rádiójátékot írt. Könyveit milliárdos példányszámban olvassák a világ összes nyelvén - ő a világirodalom legolvasottabb szerzője.Az Életem (An Autobiography) 1977-ben, az írónő halála után egy évvel jelent meg, s bepillantást nyújt elképesztően színes és fordulatokban gazdag magánéletébe a kisgyermekkortól a házasságokon és a háborúkon keresztül az alkotói mindennapokig, valamint a második férjjel, Max Mallowannel közösen folytatott extrém kalandtúrákig, azaz a régészeti expedíciókig. Szinte személyes ismeretségbe kerülhetünk e zsenivel - egy olyan mű révén, amely játszódjék akár az "unalmas" viktoriánus Angliában vagy a titokzatos, ismeretlen Keleten, legalább annyira lebilincselő, mint a szerző legizgalmasabb regényei.
J. G. Ballard - The Drowned World
In the 21st century, fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ice-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Global temperatures have climbed, and civilization has retreated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. London is a city now inundated by a primeval swamp, to which an expedition travels to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age. This early novel by the author of CRASH and EMPIRE OF THE SUN is at once a fast paced narrative, a stunning evocation of a flooded, tropical London of the near future and a speculative foray into the workings of the unconscious mind.
Martin Amis - Dead Babies
If the Marquis de Sade were to crash one of P. G. Wodehouse's house parties, the chaos might resemble the nightmarishly funny goings-on in this novel by the author of London Fields. The residents of Appleseed Rectory have primed themselves both for a visit from a triad of Americans and a weekend of copious drug taking and sexual gymnastics. There's even a heifer to be slugged and a pair of doddering tenants to be ingeniously harassed. But none of these variously bright and dull young things has counted on the intrusion of "dead babies" -- dreary spasms of reality. Or on the uninvited presence of a mysterious prankster named Johnny, whose sinister idea of fun makes theirs look like a game of backgammon.
Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, and eating a lot of pizza - not to mention saving the entire human race from extinction along the way (at no extra charge). To find out more, read this book (better still, buy it then read it) - or contact Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. _"A THUMPING GOOD DETECTIVE-GHOST-HORROR-WHO DUNNIT-TIME TRAVEL-ROMANTIC-MUSICAL-COMEDY-EPIC"_ - The author
Jeanette Winterson - Written on the Body
Written on The Body is a tender dissection of erotic love. The prose is like a poem, lush with wit and imagery, but behind the luxuriant relish of the words, there is a scalpel-sharp cut of emotions. Love and longing are the wounds through which Winterson's imagery flows. The novel begins with regret: „Why is the measure of love loss? It hasn't rained in three months … The grapes have withered on the vine.” The narrator is also suffering from a heart-stricken drought. She is grieving for the loss of her true love, Louise. Louise has flowing Pre-Raphaelite hair, and a body besieged by leukaemia, her cells waging war: „here they come, hurtling through the bloodstream trying to pick a fight.” But Louise is not dead, merely abandoned by the narrator with the best of intentions. As the lament continues, striking in its beauty and dazzling inventiveness, more of the love story is revealed. The narrator has been a female Lothario, falling in love, and out again, swaggering like Mercutio. But then she meets Louise, married to Elgin–"very eminent, very dull, very rich"–and is hopelessly, helplessly smitten: „I didn't only want Louise's flesh, I wanted her bones, her blood, her tissues, the sinews that bound her together.” Elgin persuades her to leave for the good of Louise's health, and all is undone.
A. S. Byatt - Possession
Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets.Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.
George Eliot - Middlemarch (angol)
Often called the greatest nineteenth-century British novelist, George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans) created in Middlemarch a vast panorama of life in a provincial Midlands town. At the story’s center stands the intellectual and idealistic Dorothea Brooke—a character who in many ways resembles Eliot herself. But the very qualities that set Dorotheaapart from the materialistic, mean-spirited society around her also lead her into a disastrous marriage with a man she mistakes for her soul mate. In a parallel story, young doctor Tertius Lydgate, who is equally idealistic, falls in love with the pretty but vain and superficial Rosamund Vincy, whom he marries to his ruin. Eliot surrounds her main figures with a gallery of characters drawn from every social class, from laborers and shopkeepers to the rising middle class to members of the wealthy, landed gentry. Together they form an extraordinarily rich and precisely detailed portrait of English provincial life in the 1830s. But Dorothea’s and Lydgate’s struggles to retain their moral integrity in the midst of temptation and tragedy remind us that their world is very much like our own. Strikingly modern in its painful ironies and psychological insight, Middlemarch was pivotal in the shaping of twentieth-century literary realism.