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.
Toni Morrison - Beloved
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of 1988, Toni Morrison frees herself from the bonds of traditional narrative and establishes an independent style, just as her characters have freed themselves from the horrors of slavery and escaped from Kentucky to Ohio. Revealing the story of Sethe and her family as they survive the brutality of the farm, only to encounter torments even more punishing than whippings after they escape, Morrison presents scenes in a seemingly random order, each scene revealing some aspect of life for Sethe, her boys, her dead baby Beloved, and the new baby Denver, both in the past and in the present. Moving back and forth, around, and inside out through Sethe's recollections, she gradually reveals Sethe's story to the reader, its horror increasing as the reader makes the connections which turn disconnected scenes into a powerful and harrowing chronology.
Thomas Pynchon - Súlyszivárvány
Fizika és tréfa, kémia és élvhajhászat, történelem és biológia és pszichológia és filozófia, minden, ami emberi és embertelen. Magasztos eszmék és alantas vágyak, kabbala és képregényhősök, kábító- és serkentőszerek, perverz alakok és a még perverzebb világszellem a fikció labirintusában. És egy abszurd mesébe illően gyarló messiás, a II. világháború Ulisszesze, akinek talányos merevedése megjósolja a náci rakétaisten eljövetelét. Thomas Pynchon az egyik legismertebb és legismeretlenebb szerző, akinek életműve világszerte milliók könyvtárába került, s akinek életműve nélkülözhetetlen egyetemi tananyag; ugyanakkor kerüli a nyilvánosságot, nem jelenik meg a díjátadókon, és tizenéves kora óta nincs róla publikus fénykép. A Súlyszivárványt 1974-ben Amerika legnagyobb könyves díjával, a Nemzeti Könyvdíjjal tüntették ki, Pynchon neve pedig azóta minduntalan feltűnik a Nobel-várományosok listáján. Már életében monográfiák, kalauzok és tanulmánykötetek jelennek meg munkásságáról. Szinte minden tíz évben kiadnak tőle egy regényt, mely terjedelmével, témájával és káprázatos nyelvi nívójával is beszakítja az olvasók asztalait, és az irodalom újragondolására készteti kritikusait. A mostani magyarországi kiadással - 35 évvel a könyv első (amerikai) megjelenése után - a Súlyszivárvány végre nálunk is, ahogy mindenütt, az olyan, hozzá hasonlóan fajsúlyos művek sorába léphet, mint az Ulysses; Az eltűnt idő nyomában; a Bűn és bűnhődés; a József és testvérei, vagy a Száz év magány.
Haruki Murakami - Kafka on the Shore
Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami's new novel is at once a classic tale of quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is an entertainment of a very high order.
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale
A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time. Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid's Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.
Paul Auster - The Book of Illusions
Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in a plane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a lost film by the great silent comedian Hector Mann, and finds himself entranced. His growing obsession with the mystery of Mann's true life story will take Zimmer on a strange and intense journey into a shadow-world of lies, illusions and unexpected love...
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.
Toni Morrison - The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove -- a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others -- who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
Don DeLillo - Mao II
"One of the most intelligent, grimly funny voices to comment on life in present-day America" (The New York Times), Don DeLillo presents an extraordinary new novel about words and images, novelists and terrorists, the mass mind and the arch-individualist. At the heart of the book is Bill Gray, a famous reclusive writer who escapes the failed novel he has been working on for many years and enters the world of political violence, a nightscape of Semtex explosives and hostages locked in basement rooms. Bill's dangerous passage leaves two people stranded: his brilliant, fixated assistant, Scott, and the strange young woman who is Scott's lover — and Bill's.
Paul Auster - The New York Trilogy
In three brilliant variations on the classic detective story, Paul Auster makes the well-traversed terrain of New York City his own, as it becomes a strange, compelling landscape in which identities merge or fade and questions serve only to further obscure the truth. What emerges in an investigation into the art of storytelling, notions of identity and the very essence of language.
Paul Auster - Mr. Vertigo (angol)
Paul Auster's dazzling, picaresque novel is the story of one Walter Claireborne Rawley, renowned nationwide as "Walt the Wonder Boy." It is the late 1920's, the era of Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, and Al Capone, and Walt is a Saint Louis orphan rescued frm the streets by the mysterious Hungarian Master Yehudi, who teaches Walt to walk on air. The vaudeville act that results from Walt's marvelous new abiltiy takes them across a vast and vibrant country, where they meet and fall prey to sinners, thieves, and villains, from the Kansas Ku Klux Klan to the Chicago mob. Walt's rise to fame and fortune mirrors America's own coming of age, and his resilience, like that of the nation, is challenged over and over again. Mr. Vertigo is a bravura celebration of a raucous age, an ambitious and enduringly brilliant tale of trial and triumph.
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.
Iris Murdoch - The Black Prince
"The Black Prince" is both a remarkable thriller and a story about being in love. Bradley Pearson, narrator and hero, is an elderly writer with a 'block'. Finding himself surrounded by predatory friends and relations - his ex-wife, her delinquent brother, a younger, deplorably successful writer, Arnold Baffin, Baffin's restless wife and engaging daughter - Bradley attempts to escape. His failure to do so and its aftermath lead to a violent climax and a most unexpected conclusion.
Ernest Hemingway - Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises
Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises tells the story of Jake Barnes, an expatriate living in Paris. He was wounded in World War I, and is now a journalist who spends his time drinking with other American expatriates. The group of characters travel from Paris to Pamplona for the running of the bulls.
Iris Murdoch - The Sea, The Sea
Charles Arrowby, leading light of England's theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally, and amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors-some real, some spectral-that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.
Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
On the Caribbean coast at the dawn of the twentieth century hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza falls passionately for beautiful Fermina Daza - but tragically his love is rejected. Instead Fermina marries distinguished Dr. Juvenal, while Florentino can only forget her in the arms of other women. Yet fifty-one years, nine month and four days later, Florentino has an another chance to profess his enduring love for Fermina when her husband anexpectedly dies in a bizarre axcident. Can a love over half a century old remain unrequited?
Kazuo Ishiguro - Never Let Me Go
From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day.
Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions
Kurt Vonnegut is a master of contemporary American literature. His black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America's attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as "a true artist" with Cat's Cradle in 1963. He is, as Graham Greene has declared, "one of the best living American writers." Breakfast Of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.
Don DeLillo - Underworld
Nick Shay and Klara Sax knew each other once, intimately, and they meet again in the American desert. He is trying to outdistance the crucial events of his early life; she is an artist who has made a blood struggle for independence. Underworld is a story of men and women together and apart, seen in deep, clear detail and in stadium-sized panoramas, shadowed throughout by the overarching conflict of the Cold War. It is a novel that accepts every challenge of these extraordinary times — Don DeLillo's greatest and most powerful work of fiction.
Jonathan Franzen - The Corrections
The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century-a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing spectacularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man - or so her mother fears. Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to, Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home. Stretching from the Midwest at midcentury to the Wall Street and Eastern Europe of today, The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.