E.M. Forster’s first novel is a witty comedy of manners that is tinged with tragedy. It tells the story of Lilia Herriton, who proves to be an embarrasment to her late husband’s family as, in the small Tuscan town of Monteriano, she begins a relationship with a much younger man – classless, uncouth and highly unsuitable.
A subtle attack on decorous Edwardian values and humanely sympathetic portrayal of the clash of two cultures, Where Angels Fear to Tread is also a profound exploration of character and virtue.
Iris Murdoch - A Severed Head
Martin Lynch-Gibbon believes he can possess both a beautiful wife and a delightful lover. But when his wife, Antonia, suddenly leaves him for her psychoanalyst, Martin is plunged into an intensive emotional re-education. He attempts to behave beautifully and sensibly. Then he meets a woman whose demonic splendour at first repels him and later arouses a consuming and monstrous passion. As his Medusa informs him, 'this is nothing to do with happiness'.
Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
There, on top of the mushroom, was a large caterpillar, smoking a pipe. After a while the Caterpillar took the pipe out of its mouth and said to Alice in a slow, sleepy voice, 'Who are you?' What strange things happen when Alice falls down the rabbit-hole and into Wonderland! She has conversations with the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat, goes to the Mad Hatter's tea party, plays croquet with the King and Queen of Hearts...
Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends start an evening's mayhem by hitting an old man, tearing up his books and stripping him of money and clothes. Or rather Alex and his three droogs tolchock an old veck, razrez his books, pull off his outer platties and take a malenky bit of cutter. For Alex's confessions are written in 'nadsat' - a teenage argot of a not-too-distant future. Because of his delinquent excesses, Alex is jailed and made subject to 'Ludovico's Technique', a chilling experiment in Reclamation Treatment... Horror farce? Social Prophecy? Penetrating study of human choice between good and evil? A Clockwork Orange is all three, dazzling proof of Anthony Burgess's vast talents.
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.
Ian McEwan - Atonement
In this rich novel by the author of the Booker Prize-winning novel "Amsterdam", a young girl unwittingly tells a tale that turns her family upside down. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, England and class, "Atonement" is at its center a profound--and profoundly moving--exploration of shame and forgiveness, of atonement and the difficulty of absolution.
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers
The company of the Ring is sundered. Frodo and Sam continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin-alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
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.
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.
Martin Amis - London Fields
London Fields is Amis's murder story for the end of the millennium. The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and darts. Or is the killer the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Salman Rushdie - Grimus
Flapping Eagle, a young Indian, receives the gift of immortality after drinking a magic fluid. Tiring of the burden of eternal life, he sets out on a monumental search for the mystical Calf Island, where he can rejoin the human race. His journey is peopled with strange characters.
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.
D. H. 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.
Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE.