‘The perfect year-round present’ Time Out ‘Brilliant…Murakami introduces all these stories with grace and lightness of touch, warm and informal in suggesting their essences and qualities without self-indulgence or writerly obsequiousness’ Sunday Herald What will you get for your birthday this year? A chance to see into the future? Or a reminder of an imperfect past? In this enviable gathering, Haruki Murakami has chosen for his party some of the very best short story writers of recent years, each with their own birthday experiences, each story a snapshot of life on a single day. Including stories by Russell Banks, Ethan Canin, Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, Denis Johnson, Claire Keegan, Andrea Lee, Daniel Lyons, Lewis Robinson (included for the first time in this edition), Lynda Sexson, Paul Theroux, William Trevor and Haruki Murakami, this anthology captures a range of emotions evoked by advancing age and the passing of time, from events fondly recalled to the impact of appalling tragedy. Previously published in a Japanese translation by Haruki Murakami, this English edition contains a specially written introduction. ‘A genuine curiosity of an anthology…Charming…Tantalising’ Scotland on Sunday
Haruki Murakami - After Dark
A short, sleek novel of encounters set in the witching hours of Tokyo between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore. At its center are two sisters: Eri, a fashion model sleeping her way into oblivion; and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s into lives radically alien to her own: those of a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before; a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maidstaff; and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These “night people” are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Yuri’s slumber–mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime – will either restore or annihilate her. After Dark moves from mesmerizing drama to metaphysical speculation, interweaving time and space as well as memory and perspective into a seamless exploration of human agency – the interplay between self-expression and understanding, between the power of observation and the scope of compassion and love. Murakami’s trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery.
Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Cormac McCarthy sets his new novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf in The Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. In The Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith. --Dennis Lehane
Haruki Murakami - Norwegian Wood
When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire - to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.
Haruki Murakami - Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Japan's most widely-read and controversial writer, author of A Wild Sheep Chase, hurtles into the consciousness of the West with this narrative about a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters--not to mention Bob Dylan and Lauren Bacall.
Nick Hornby - A Long Way Down
"The story is written in the first-person narrative from the points of view of the four main characters, Martin, Maureen, Jess and JJ. These four strangers happen to meet on the roof of a high building called Topper's House in London on New Year's Eve, each with the intent of committing suicide. Their plans for death in solitude, however, are ruined when they meet. The novel recounts their misadventures as they decide to come down from the roof alive - however temporarily that may be."
Haruki Murakami - After the Quake
The economy was booming. People had more money than they knew what to do with. And then the earthquake struck. For the characters in After the Quake, the Kobe earthquake is an echo from a past they buried long ago. Satsuki has spent thirty years hating one man: a lover who destroyed her chances of having children. Did her desire for revenge cause the earthquake? Junpei's estranged parents live in Kobe. Should he contact them? Miyake left his family in Kobe to make midnight bonfires on a beach hundreds of miles away. Fourteen-year-old Sala has nightmares that the Earthquake Man is trying to stuff her inside a little box. Katagiri returns home to find a giant frog in his apartment on a mission to save Tokyo from a massive burrowing worm. 'When he gets angry, he causes earthquakes, says Frog. And right now he is very, very angry. This new collection of stories, from one of the world's greatest living writers, dissects the violence beneath the surface of modern Japan.
Haruki Murakami - The Elephant Vanishes
The Elephant Vanishes is a collection of short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The stories were written between 1983 and 1990, and the collection's first English publication was in 1993. Stylistically and thematically, the collection aligns with Murakami's previous work. The stories mesh normality with surrealism, and focus on painful issues involving loss, destruction, confusion and loneliness. The title for the book is derived from the final story in the collection.
Haruki Murakami - Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
A young man accompanies his cousin to the hospital to check an unusual hearing complaint and recalls a story of a woman put to sleep by tiny flies crawling inside her ear; a mirror appears out of nowhere and a nightwatchman is unnerved as his reflection tries to take control of him; a couple's relationship is unbalanced after dining exclusively on exquisite crab while on holiday; a man follows instructions on the back of a postcard to apply for a job, but an unknown password stands between him and his mysterious employer. In each one of these stories Murakami sidesteps the real and sprints for the surreal. Everyday events are transcended, leaving the reader dazzled by this master of his craft.
Jamie Oliver - The Naked Chef
When I started out I was pretty much making it up as I went along. I just wanted to share my favourite recipes and a bit of what I'd learned from all the great chefs I'd worked with. That's why the recipes are still so great to cook: they're simple and honest and fresh. Tehy've aged better than my haircut anyway. Big Love, Jamie
Neil Gaiman - Terry Pratchett - Good Omens
There is a distinct hint of Armageddon in the air. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded, thankfully, in 1655, before she blew up her entire village and all its inhabitants, who had gathered to watch her burn), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their mighty hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witch-finders are getting ready to fight the good fight, armed with awkwardly antiquated instructions and stick pins. Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. . . . Right. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon -- each of whom has lived among Earth's mortals for many millennia and has grown rather fond of the lifestyle -- are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. If Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they've got to find and kill the Antichrist (which is a shame, as he's a really nice kid). There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him. . . . First published in 1990, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's brilliantly dark and screamingly funny take on humankind's final judgment is back -- and just in time -- in a new hardcover edition (which includes an introduction by the authors, comments by each about the other, and answers to some still-burning questions about their wildly popular collaborative effort) that the devout and the damned alike will surely cherish until the end of all things.
Yann Martel - Life of Pi
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific.The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy.The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.
Kurt Vonnegut - Galápagos (angol)
Galápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.
Chuck Palahniuk - Fight Club
Every weekend, in basements and parking lots across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded for as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight Club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter and dark, anarchic genius. And it's only the beginning of his plans for revenge on a world where cancer support groups have the corner on human warmth.
Csíkszentmihályi Mihály - Flow - Az áramlat
Flow - a szó angolul folyást, áramlást, lebegést jelentett egészen e könyv 1990-es megjelenéséig. Azóta már egy pszichológiai fogalmat jelölő tudományos kategória is, és egyben olyan szakkifejezés, amely egyre inkább a művelt köznyelv részévé válik. Nem csak az angolban: közel egytucatnyi nyelv szókészletét gyarapítja, a fordítási kísérletek ugyanis, bár voltak közöttük nagyon szellemesek, szinte egy nyelvben sem honosodtak meg. Flow - mondják németek és japánok, talán nem véletlenül, hiszen e könnyen kiejthető szó hangulatával is kifejezi azt a szellemi állapotot, amelyet jelöl. A boldogság keresése az ember alapvető törekvése, az ideális életről való elmélkedés egyidős a filozófiai gondolkodással. Mi is az, ami az embert boldoggá teheti? Csíkszentmihályi Mihály ezt az ősi problémát választotta kutatása tárgyául. A modern pszichológia vizsgálati eszközeinek széles skáláját felhasználva több mint két évtizeden keresztül gyűjtötte az adatokat elmélete kidolgozásához. E tudományos munka eredménye a tökéletes élmény elmélete, melyet e könyv most a szélesebb olvasóközönség számára is bemutat. Csíkszentmihályi professzor hosszú ideig a Chicagói Egyetem pszichológiai tanszékét vezette. A Flow-t megelőzően már több világsikert megért könyvet írt. Az életmű egyes darabjait összeköti az értelemmel megélt alkotó élet jellemzőinek kutatása.
Haruki Murakami - South of the Border, West of the Sun
Growing up in the suburbs in post-war Japan, it seemed to Hajime that everyone but him had brothers and sisters. His sole companion was Shimamoto, also an only child. Together they spent long afternoons listening to her father's record collection. But when his family moved away, the two lost touch. Now Hajime is in his thirties. After a decade of drifting he has found happiness with his loving wife and two daughters, and success running a jazz bar. Then Shimamoto reappears. She is beautiful, intense, enveloped in mystery. Hajime is catapulted into the past, putting at risk all he has in the present.
Haruki Murakami - 1Q84 3. (angol)
The final part of Murakami's gripping, sensational mystery story At the close of Book Two of 1Q84, Aomame and Tengo found themselves in perilous situations, threatened and confused. As 1Q84 accelerates towards its conclusion, both are pursued by persons and forces they do not know and cannot understand. As they begin to decipher more about the strange world into which they have slipped, so they sense their destinies converging. What they cannot know is whether they will find one another before they are themselves found. Inspired by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1Q84 is a magnificent and fully-imagined work of fiction - both a thriller and a moving love-story . It is a world from which the reader emerges stunned and altered. Book Three of 1Q84 is the final volume of Murakami's magnum opus. In Japan, Books One and Two were published on the same day with Book Three following a year later. All three books were received with huge excitement and became instant bestsellers. The UK publication reflects the pattern of the original publication with Books One and Two being released in one volume and Book Three following in a separate edition.
Murakami Haruki - Kafka a tengerparton
A Kafka a tengerparton hullámzó, nyugtalan textúrája két rendkívül színes és gubancos szálból szövődik össze. Az egyik páratlan vonulat (szó szerint értendő, mert a regény páratlan fejezetein húzódik végig) Tamura Kafka története, azé a tizenöt éves fiúé, aki az oidipuszi végzet elől megszökve anyja és nővére keresésére indul. A páros fejezetek hőse egy különös, félszeg, együgyű öregember. Nakata, aki sosem heverte ki második világháborús sérülését, és számára felfoghatatlanul sodródik a felnőtté válás magányával és bizonytalanságával küszködő Kafka felé. Ő a leghétköznapibb dolgok összefüggéseit sem érti, mégis sok olyan tulajdonsága van, amelyek rendkívülivé teszik. A két szál rafináltan és talányosan kapcsolja össze a tragédiában és komédiában, álmokban és csalóka tényekben, természetes és természetellenes szexben, fájdalomban és fergeteges humorban bővelkedő fejezeteket. Kalandok és rejtélyek könyve ez, amelyben az olvasó kíváncsiságát ingerlően bonyolódnak egymásba a történet "férfi-női, férfi-férfi és női-férfi" alakjai, és nekünk magunknak kell felemelnünk róluk az író fantáziadús kitérőivel ékesített, pompás takarót.
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Hobbit
Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, The Hobbit. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals: Alice, Pooh, Toad... As with all classics, repeated readings continue to bring new detail and perspectives to the reader's mind, and Tolkien's Middle-earth is a vast mine of treasures and knowledge, its roots delving deep into folklore, mythology and language. The Hobbit is, therefore, an ideal book for annotation: as well as offering a marvellous and entrancing story, it introduces the reader to the richly imagined world of Middle-earth, a world more fully and complexly realised in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
Stephen Chbosky - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
Julie Powell - Julie & Julia (angol)
Powell, a 30-year-old secretary, began keeping her blog in the summer of 2002 as she embarked on trying out all 524 recipes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days in the kitchen of her Queens apartment. The book turns to poetry everything from shopping for the perfect piece of liver to extracting marrow from the bone. Julie & Julia has sold nearly 100,000 copies and became the nonfiction winner of the first annual Lulu Blooker Prize, celebrating books spawned by blogs.