Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides
First published in 1993, "The Virgin Suicides" announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters--beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys--commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family's fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, "The Virgin Suicides" is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.
J. D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures. Salinger's classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man's funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.
David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
The first and only novel by Sylvia Plath, originally published in 1963. When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. Instead she finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously.
Donna Tartt - The Secret History
This novel is set on a small college campus in Vermont. Dissatisfied with the crass values of their fellow students, a small corps of undergraduates groups itself around a favored professor of classics, who nurtures both their sense of moral elevation and an insularity from conventional college life that ultimately proves fatal. Among Prof. Julian Morrow's followers are Henry Winter, a tall scion of a wealthy St. Louis family, the twins Charles and Camilla Macaulay, both intellectually gifted and eccentric only in their excessive mutual devotion; Francis Abernathy, a dandyish homosexual slowly awakening to his sexuality; and Edmund (Bunny) Corcoran, who becomes the group's victim.
Franz Kafka - The Castle
Translated, with an introduction by John Williams Kafka's final novel was written during 1922, when the tuberculosis that was to kill him was already at an advanced stage. Fragmentary and unfinished, it perhaps never could have been finished; perhaps the tensions between K., the Castle and the village, K.'s struggle for acceptance or recognition by the mysterious Castle authorities or by the people of the village, never will and never can be resolved. Like much of Kafka's work, _The Castle_ is enigmatic and polyvalent. Is it an allegory of the sprawling Austro-Hungarian Empire as it disintegrates into modern nation states, or a quasi-feudal system giving way to a new freedom for the subject? Is it the search by a central European Jaw for acceptance and integration into a dominant culture? Is it a spiritual quest for grace or salvation, or an individual's struggle between his sense of independence and his need for approval? Is K. an opportunist, a victim, or an outsider battling against an elusive authority? Is the Castle a benign source of authority or a whimsical system of control? Like K., the reader is presented with conflicting perspectives that rehearse the existential dilemmas and uncertainties of literary modernity.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Beautiful and Damned
The Beautiful and Damned is the story of Anthony Patch and his wife, Gloria. Harvard-educated and an aspiring aesthete, Patch is waiting for his inheritance upon his grandfather's death. His reckless marriage to Gloria is fueled by alcohol and is destroyed by greed. The Patches race through a series of alcohol-induced fiascoes -- first in hilarity, and then in despair. The Beautiful and Damned, a devastating portrait of the nouveaux riches, New York night life, reckless ambition, and squandered talent, was published in 1922 on the heels of Fitzgerald's first novel. It signaled his maturity as a storyteller and, more important, as a novelist.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - Tender is the Night
To the French Riviera come Dick and Nicole Diver. Handsome, rich and glamorous, their dinners are legendary, their atmosphere magnetic. But something is wrong - Nicole has a secret and Dick a weakness. Together they head towards the rocks on which their lives crash - and only one of them really survives. Fitzgerald worked on seventeen versions of this novel, the obsessions of which consumed his marriage and his life.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Last Tycoon
_The Love of the Last Tycoon_, edited by the preeminent Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli, is a restoration of the author's phrases, words, and images that were excised from the 1940 edition, giving new luster to an unfinished literary masterpiece. It is the story of the young Hollywood mogul Monroe Stahr, who was inspired by the life of boy-genius Irving Thalberg, and is an expose of the studio system in its heyday.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - This Side of Paradise
Published in 1920, _This Side of Paradise_ was Scott Fitzgerald's first novel. It chimed precisely with the brittle mood of the bright young things of the Jazz Age : indeed its instant appeal could be compared to the success of _The Catcher in the Rye_ thirty years later. In a series of literary snapshots Fitzgerald describes the adolescence and youth of Amory Blaine, in the course of which we see an egotist evolve into a personage. Princeton University never quite forgave the author for his version of the racy and hectic life of the young gentlemen of the day - smart, vain, snobbish, idle, thoughtless, but as effervescent as soda-water in leisure and love.
John Burnham Schwartz - The Commoner
John Burnham Schwartz bases his fourth novel on the Empress Michiko and Crown Princess Masako of Japan. Though Japanese imperial life remains shrouded in mystery, Schwartz teases out the details through extensive research. Much to the astonishment and pleasure of the critics, he gives Haruko an authentic and completely convincing voice. While his vivid depictions of postwar Japan are stunning, it is Haruko’s vibrant inner life that propels the narrative and resounds with readers. Though not as intense as Reservation Road (1998), Schwartz’s unflinching portrayal of the aftermath of a child’s death, and though slightly marred by an implausible ending, The Commoner will captivate readers by providing a haunting look into the 2,000 years of secrets surrounding the Chrysanthemum Throne.
T. S. Eliot - The Waste Land / A kopár föld
Éppen száztíz esztendővel ezelőtt, 1888 szeptemberében született a nagy angol költő, T. S. Eliot, és 1997 decemberében volt hetvenöt éve, hogy korszakalkotó költeménye, a _The_ _Waste_ _Land_ megjelent. A magyarban nincsen e költemény kétnyelvű (angol-magyar) kiadása (amilyen például németben van: T. S. Eliot, _Das_ _wüste_ _Land_ - Englisch und deutsch.) Emellett úgy vélem, hogy újrafordításom hűebben adja vissza az eredeti szöveget, mint az eddigi magyarul megjelentek. A költeményben sok angol és más nyelvű idézet van és sok _allusio_ régi és újabb irodalmi művekre. Ezek a magyar olvasóknak nem mindig ismertek, és Eliot a költeményhez írt jegyzeteiben viszonylag ritkán közli az idézetek és az _allusio_-k forrásainak akár csak rövidre fogott tartalmát. Rendszerint csak forráshelyeiket jelöli meg, amelyek ma már csak hosszabb-rövidebb keresés, utánanézés után lelhetők fel. Ezért a fordításomhoz _kibővítettem_ Eliot jegyzeteit a forrásművek rövid ismertetésével eredeti nyelven és magyar fordításban. ___ A fordító
Franz Kafka - The Trial
The terrifying tale of Joseph K, a respectable functionary in a bank, who is suddenly arrested and must defend his innocence against a charge about which he can get no information. A nightmare vision of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the mad agendas of twentieth-century totalitarian regimes.
Mark Twain - The Prince and the Pauper
Set in 16th-Century England and following the lives of two young boys, The Prince and the Pauper is a classic and timeless tale. Tom Canty, the lowly pauper is almost identical in appearance to Edward Tudor, a prince. Unbeknownst to those around them, the boys strike up an unlikely friendship and soon realise that with their similar looks they could easily pass for one another. When the Prince's father dies, some of the more underhand court officials persuade the pauper to act as the Prince in order to reap the benefits of the 'mistake' and there follows a tale of friendship and growing up in one of Mark Twain's most infamous works.
Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.
William Makepeace Thackeray - Vanity Fair
"Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?" —Vanity Fair A bewitching beauty who bends men to her will using charm, sex, and guile. An awkward man who remains loyal to his friends, even when those friends don't deserve his affection. A mother who cannot get over the loss of her husband and devotes her life to her child. Though written in 1847-48, William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair is peopled by types who remain familiar today. The novel's early nineteenth-century setting immerses us in a strange world of social stratification, moral strictures, and self-conscious sentiment. Yet its characters—from dissolute playboys and self-important heirs to judgmental aunts and finicky gourmands—are instantly recognizable. None of the novel's characters is more memorable than Becky Sharp, one of Victorian literature's most remarkable creations. While Thackeray's narrator takes pains to expose Becky's subterfuges and to insinuate sexual immorality and even murder, we cannot help but admire her intelligence and élan. Alone among the novel's major characters, she is not content to live out the life she was born into—that of a governess. Lacking money and family, she uses the only tools at her disposal, sex and cunning, to seek advancement in the world. Her success in gaining entrée to society's most exclusive circles, despite the hostility of her husband's family and a chronic lack of cash, is a testament to Becky's audacity and brilliance, her ultimate downfall notwithstanding. Thackeray juxtaposes Becky's story with that of Amelia Osborne, the naïve, sentimental daughter of a wealthy merchant who goes bankrupt partway through the book. Her artless modesty and devotion to her first love, the good-for-nothing George Osborne, contrast sharply with Becky's amoral machinations and social climbing. Yet as a paragon of womanhood, Amelia also falls short. Her passivity, her maudlin illusions, and her selfish exploitation of William Dobbin, a man who devotes his life to her, make her less than completely sympathetic; near the end of the book, Dobbin himself declares that he has wasted his life in pursuit of someone who is not worthy. Dobbin alone comes through the book with dignity. He is, as Thackeray declares, a true gentleman. But in the end, having achieved what he long sought—marriage to Amelia—Dobbin too is disillusioned, fonder of his daughter and his History of the Punjab than he is of his wife, though he would never admit as much. Thackeray interweaves the stories of these three main characters into an exuberant narrative that's chockablock with indelible secondary characters and cynical aperçus that illuminate all manner of human folly. His withering gaze lands on both lords and ladies, exposing the mean-spirited pretensions and craving for distinction that permeate the whole social world. By placing the social skirmishes and family clashes of his characters against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Vanity Fair invites us to contemplate the pervasiveness of human strife—and the damage that our egotism and self-delusion do every day.
Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho
Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and works on Wall Street; he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. American Psycho is a bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognize but do not wish to face and it takes us on a head-on collision with America's greatest dream - and its worst nightmare.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - A nagy Gatsby
Azt mondod, hogy a múltat nem lehet újra élni? Miért ne lehetne? Jay Gatsby, a titokzatos milliomos felemelkedésének, tündöklésének és bukásának története nemcsak a dekadens és túlhabzó „dzsesszkorszakot”, a húszas éveket jeleníti meg művészi tökéllyel, hanem az amerikai mitológia, „az amerikai álom” olyan örök témáit is, mint ambíció, pénz és hatalom bűvölete, a lehetetlen megkísértése és az újrakezdés lehetősége. A szegény sorból származó Gatsby beleszeret egy gazdag lányba, Daisybe; a háború elsodorja őket egymástól, s míg a fiatalember a tengerentúlon harcol, a lány férjhez megy egy faragatlan, ámde dúsgazdag emberhez, Tom Buchananhez. Hazatérése után Gatsby fanatikus akarással (és az eszközökben nem válogatva) vagyont szerez, hogy „méltó” legyen Daisyhez és újra meghódíthassa az asszonyt, akinek még a hangja is „csupa pénz”.
Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace
At a glittering society party in St Petersburg in 1805, conversations are dominated by the prospect of war. Terror swiftly engulfs the country as Napoleon's army marches on Russia, and the lives of three young people are changed for ever. The stories of quixotic Pierre, cynical Andrey and impetuous Natasha interweave with a huge cast, from aristocrats and peasants to soldiers and Napoleon himself. In War and Peace (1863-9), Tolstoy entwines grand themes - conflict and love, birth and death, free will and fate - with unforgettable scenes of nineteenth-century Russia, to create a magnificent epic of human life in all its imperfection and grandeur. Anthony Briggs's superb translation combines stirring, accessible prose with fidelity to Tolstoy's original, while Orlando Figes's afterword discusses the novel's vast scope and depiction of Russian identity. This edition also includes appendices, notes, a list of prominent characters and maps.
Saul Bellow - The Victim
Leventhal is a natural victim; a man uncertain of himself, never free from the nagging suspicion that the other guy may be right. So when he meets a down-at-heel stranger in the park one day and finds himself being accused of ruining the man's life, he half believes it.