Flannery O’Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinizes territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.
John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men
Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they'll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss's daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him.
John Irving - The Cider House Rules
Set among the apple orchards of rural Maine, it is a perverse world in which Homer Wells' odyssey begins. As the oldest unadopted offspring at St Cloud's orphanage, he learns about the skills which, one way or another, help young and not-so-young women, from Wilbur Larch, the orphanage's founder -- a man of rare compassion and an addiction to ether.Dr Larch loves all his orphans, especially Homer Wells. It is Homer's story we follow, from his early apprenticeship in the orphanage surgery, to his adult life running a cider-making factory and his strange relationship with the wife of his closest friend.
Paul Auster - Invisible
Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Invisible opens in New York City in the spring of 1967 when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born, and his silent and seductive girlfriend Margot. Before long, Walker finds himself caught in a perverse triangle that leads to a sudden, shocking act of violence that will alter the course of his life. Three different narrators tell the story, as it travels in time from 1967 to 2007 and moves from New York to Paris and to a remote Caribbean island in a story of unbridled sexual hunger and a relentless quest for justice. With uncompromising insight, Auster takes us to the shadowy borderland between truth and memory, authorship and identity to produce a work of unforgettable power that confirms his reputation as one of America's most spectacularly inventive writers.
Djuna Barnes - Nightwood
Published in 1937, Djuna Barnes's novel Nightwood was immediately recognized as a great work of art, a masterpiece comparable, T.S. Eliot argued in his enthusiastic introduction, to the finest Elizabethan tragedy. In complex, dense, and stunningly beautiful prose, Barnes delineates the lives of her characters: the mysterious expatriate American Robin Vote, her Viennese husband Felix Volkbein, her lover Nora Flood, and their loquacious, outrageous friend Dr. Matthew O'Connor. As a meditation on love, loss, language, and identity, Nightwood invites study from a variety of literary, linguistic, and philosophical perspectives. Moreover, readers interested in history and religious studies will find much to repay their attention. Set mostly in Paris between the world wars, the novel has been seen as both a prescient critique of fascism and a trenchant deconstruction of the illusions of historical progress and historiography. Religious as well as national differences among the characters occupy much of the text's attention: Felix is a self-hating Jew, Nora a puritan Protestant, Matthew an Irish Catholic sinner, and Robin a Catholic convert. In short, Nightwood is an extraordinarily rich text
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
Paul Auster - Timbuktu (angol)
'Auster's power of empathy is unexpected, crucial, even delightful.' Ali Smith, _Scotsman_ Meet Mr. Bones, canine sidekick of Willy G. Christmas, a brilliant, troubled, and altogether original poet-saint from Brooklyn, New York. Together, Bones and Christmas sally forth to Baltimore, on a last great adventure in search of Willy's beloved mentor Bea Swanson - who used to know him as William Gurevitch, son of Polish war refugees. But is she still alive?
Kurt Vonnegut - God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Eliot Rosewater—drunk, volunteer fireman, and President of the fabulously rich Rosewater Foundation—is about to attempt a noble experiment with human nature . . . with a little help from writer Kilgore Trout. _God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater_ is Kurt Vonnegut’s funniest satire, an etched-in-acid portrayal of the greed, hypocrisy, and follies of the flesh we are all heir to.
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.
Bret Easton Ellis - Less than Zero
Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, this coolly mesmerizing novel is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation. They experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, and lived in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money. Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college and reenters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porsches, dines at Spago, and snorts mountains of cocaine. He tries to renew his feelings for his girlfriend, Blair, and for his best friend from high school, Julian, who is careering into hustling and heroin. Clay's holiday turns into a dizzying spiral of desperation that takes him through the relentless parties in glitzy mansions, seedy bars, and underground rock clubs, and also into the seamy world of L.A. after dark.
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.
Jennifer Egan - A Visit from the Goon Squad
Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive and well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie's one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan's overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about? Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same.
Truman Capote - Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Holly Golightly is generally up all night drinking cocktails and breaking hearts. She hasn't got a past. She doesn't want to belong to anything or anyone, not even to her one-eyed rag-bag pirate of a cat. One day Holly might find somewhere she belongs.
Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita (angol)
In 1954 Vladimir Nabokov asked one American publisher to consider "a firebomb that I have just finished putting together." The explosive device: Lolita, his morality play about a middle-aged European's obsession with a 12-year-old American girl. Two years later, the New York Times called it "great art." Other reviewers staked a higher moral ground (the editor of the London Sunday Express declaring it "the filthiest book I've ever read"). Since then, the sinuous novel has never ceased to astound. Even Nabokov was astonished by its place in the popular imagination. One biographer writes that "he was quite shocked when a little girl of eight or nine came to his door for candy on Halloween, dressed up by her parents as Lolita." And when it came time to casting the film, Nabokov declared, "Let them find a dwarfess!" The character Lolita's power now exists almost separately from the endlessly inventive novel. If only it were read as often as it is alluded to. Alfred Appel Jr., editor of the annotated edition, has appended some 900 notes, an exhaustive, good-humored introduction, and a recent preface in which he admits that the "reader familiar with Lolita can approach the apparatus as a separate unit, but the perspicacious student who keeps turning back and forth from text to Notes risks vertigo." No matter. The notes range from translations to the anatomical to the complex textual. Appel is also happy to point out the Great Punster's supposedly unintended word play: he defends the phrase "Beaver Eaters" as "a portmanteau of 'Beefeaters' (the yeoman of the British royal guard) and their beaver hats."
Ralph Ellison - Invisible Man
First published in 1952, Invisible Man revealed the pain of a black man's existence in a white world. It was shocking then, but remains important literature today. It is the story of a young man's journey--through the Deep South to the streets of Harlem, through events and experiences that range from tortured to macabre. As he moves through time, he learns about the black world, the white world, and a world of his own. His passage is a frightening but at the same time enlightening pilgrimage, for the Invisible Man and for all of us.
E. Annie Proulx - The Shipping News
Annie Proulx's highly acclaimed, international bestseller and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Quoyle is a hapless, hopeless hack journalist living and working in New York. When his no-good wife is killed in a spectacular road accident, Quoyle heads for the land of his forefathers -- the remotest corner of far-flung Newfoundland. With 'the aunt' and his delinquent daughters -- Bunny and Sunshine -- in tow, Quoyle finds himself part of an unfolding, exhilarating Atlantic drama. 'The Shipping News' is an irresistible comedy of human life and possibility.
Philip K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal -- the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life. Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were never that simple, and his assignment quickly turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit -- and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted...
Henry David Thoreau - Walden (angol)
Walden (first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's sojourn in a cabin near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau lived at Walden for two years, two months, and two days, but Walden was written so that the stay appears to be a year, with expressed seasonal divisions. Thoreau did not intend to live as a hermit, for he received visitors and returned their visits. Instead, he hoped to isolate himself from society in order to gain a more objective understanding of it. Simplicity and self-reliance were Thoreau's other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy. As Thoreau made clear in the book, his cabin was not in wilderness but at the edge of town, not far from his family home.
Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr Ripley
Tom Ripley is struggling to stay one step ahead of his creditors and the law, when an unexpected acquaintance offers him a free trip to Europe and a chance to start over. Ripley wants money, success and the good life and he's willing to kill for it. When his new-found happiness is threatened, his response is as swift as it is shocking.
Paul Auster - Moon Palace
Spanning three generations, Moon Palace is the story of Marco Stanley Fogg and his quest for identity in the modern world. Moving from the concrete canyons of Manhattan to the cruelly beautiful landscape of the American West, it is a meditation on and re-examination of America, art and the self, by one of America's foremost authors.
Stephen King - The Shining
The Overlook Hotel is more than just a home-away-from-home for the Torrance family. For Jack, Wendy, and their young son, Danny, it is a place where past horrors come to life. And where those gifted with the shining do battle with the darkest evils. Stephen King's classic thriller is one of the most powerfully imagined novels of our time.