The Long Lost Novel, which has achieved cult status in Japan
With Illustrations by the late Judy Watson
First ever English language edition
Forget Stepford Wives; this goes way beyond anything seen in Stepford.
The Three Laws of Feministics:
1. Your body is not your own; it belongs to another. Therefore you may not damage it nor, through inaction, allow it to be damaged.
2. You must obey all orders given you by your owner (or in cases of loss of ownership, by any man) even if such orders conflict with the First Law.
3. You may not injure any man, nor through failure to comply with the Second Law, cause him displeasure or mental injury.
Women as chattels, as customised sexslaves; bodies freakishly modified to their owners’ dictates, personalities preset to order. Welcome to the world of the Orgasmachine.
But Jade and Mari escape their masters and dream of revenge, of revolution, of freedom…
When part of the novel appeared as a self-contained story in an anthology, Will Self said of it:
“Watson’s word-painting may be of a distant future, when humans are `grown’ to certain sexual specifications, but the eerily empathetic personality of his heroine plugs us back into a grand tradition of literature that pits the naïve against the decadent. In her benighted progress, Jade seems to reprise… Pauline Réage’s anonymous love-object in The Story of O. And in creating a setting for his characters, Watson borrows the furniture of Surrealism to create a picture of a future that I feel would not have seemed anomalous or unbelievable to Kafka.”
Jeanette Winterson - The PowerBook
While many other novels are still nursing hangovers from the 20th century, Jeanette Winterson's The.PowerBook has risen early to greet the challenge of the new millennium. Set in cyberspace, The.PowerBook travels with ease. It casts the net of its love story over Paris, Capri and London. Interactive narrator Ali is a „language costumier” who will swathe your imagination in the clothes of transformation. All you have to do is decide who you want to be. Ali–known also as Alix–is a virtual narrator in a networked world of e-writing. You are the reader, invited to inhabit the story–any story–you wish to be told. Like all the best video games you can choose your location, your character, even the clothes you want to wear. Beware, you can enter and play the game, but you cannot determine its outcome. Ali/x is a digital Orlando for the modern age, moving across time and through transmutations of identity, weaving her stories with „long lines of laptop DNA” and shaping herself to the reader's desire. Ali/x wants to make love as simple as a song. But even in cyberspace there is no love without pain. Ali/x offers a stranger on the other side of the screen the opportunity of freedom for one night. She falls in love with her beautiful stranger, and finds herself reinvented by her own story. The.PowerBook is rich with historical allegory and literary allusion. Winterson's dialogue crackles with humour, snappy dialogue and good jokes, several of which are at the author's own expense. This is a world of disguise, boundary crossing and emotional diversions that change the navigation of the plot of life. Strangely sprouting tulips are erected in place of the phallus. Husbands and wives are uncoupled. Lovers disappear in the night to escape from themselves. On the hard drive of the The.PowerBook are stored a variety of stories which the reader can download and open at will, complete stories that loop through the central narrative. The tale of Mallory's third expedition, the disinterring of a Roman Governor in Spitalfields Church or the contemplation of „great and ruinous lovers” are capsules of narrative compression. In Winterson's compacted meaning, language becomes a character in its own right–it is one of the heroes of the novel.
Sarah Waters - Fingersmith
Fingersmith is the third slice of engrossing lesbian Victoriana from Sarah Waters. Although lighter and more melodramatic in tone than its predecessor Affinity, this hypnotic suspense novel is awash with all manner of gloomy Dickensian leitmotifs: pickpockets; orphans; grim prisons; lunatic asylums; „laughing villains” and, of course, „stolen fortunes and girls made out to be mad”. Oliver Twist (which is mentioned on the opening page), The Woman in White and The Prince and the Pauper all exert an influence on it but none overawe. Like Peter Ackroyd, Waters has an uncanny gift for inventive reconstruction. Divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. It begins in a grimy thieves kitchen in Borough, South London with 17-year-old orphan Susan Trinder. She has been raised by Mrs Sucksby, a cockney Ma Baker, in a household of fingersmiths (pickpockets), coiners and burglars. One evening Richard „Gentleman” Rivers, a handsome confidence man, arrives. He has an elaborate scheme to defraud Maud Lilly, a wealthy heiress. If Sue will help him she'll get a share of the „shine”. Duly installed in the Lillys' country house as Maud's maid, Sue finds that her mistress is virtually a prisoner. Maud's eccentric Uncle Christopher, an obsessive collector of erotica (loosely modelled on Henry Spenser Ashbee) controls every aspect of her life. Slowly a curious intimacy develops between the two girls and as Gentleman's plans take shape, Sue begins to have doubts. The scheme is finally hatched but as Maud commences her narrative it suddenly becomes more than a tad difficult to tell quite who has double-crossed who. Waters' penchant for Byzantine plotting can get a bit exhausting but even at its densest moments–and remember this is smoggy London circa 1862–it remains mesmerising. A damning critique of Victorian moral and sexual hypocrisy, a gripping melodrama and a love story to boot, this book ingeniously reworks some truly classic themes.–Travis Elborough
Iain Pears - An Instance of the Fingerpost
_An Instance of the Fingerpost_ is that rarest of all possible literary beasts - a mystery powered as much by ideas as by suspects, autopsies, and smoking guns. Hefty, intricately plotted, and intellectually ambitious, _Fingerpost_ has drawn the inevitable comparisons to Umberto Eco's _The Name of the Rose_ and, for once, the comparison is apt. The year is 1663, and the setting is Oxford, England, during the height of Restoration political intrigue. When Dr. Robert Grove is found dead in his Oxford room, hands clenched and face frozen in a rictus of pain, all the signs point to poison. Rashomon-like, the narrative circles around Grove's murder as four different characters give their version of events: Marco da Cola, a visiting Italian physician - or so he would like the reader to believe; Jack Prestcott, the son of a traitor who fled the country to avoid execution; Dr. John Wallis, a mathematician and cryptographer with a predilection for conspiracy theories; and Anthony Wood, a mild-mannered Oxford antiquarian whose tale proves to be the book's "instance of the fingerpost". (The quote comes from the philosopher Bacon, who, while asserting that all evidence is ultimately fallible, allows for "one instance of a fingerpost that points in one direction only, and allows of no other possibility".) Like _The Name of the Rose,_ this is one whodunit in which the principal mystery is the nature of truth itself. Along the way, Pears displays a keen eye for period details as diverse as the early days of medicine, the convoluted politics of the English Civil War, and the newfangled fashion for wigs. Yet Pears never loses sight of his characters, who manage to be both utterly authentic denizens of the 17th century and utterly authentic human beings. As a mystery, _An Instance of the Fingerpost_ is entertainment of the most intelligent sort; as a novel of ideas, it proves equally satisfying.
Sarah Waters - Tipping the Velvet
This stunning and steamy debut chronicles the adventures of Nan King, a small-town girl at the turn of the century whose life takes a wild turn of its own when she follows a local music hall star to London… "Glorious…a sexy, sinewy sojourn of a young woman in turn-of-the-century England."–The Boston Globe "Erotic and absorbing…If lesbian fiction is to reach a wider readership, Waters is the person to carry the banner."–The New York Times Book Review "Wonderful…a sensual experience that leaves the reader marveling at the author's craftsmanship, idiosyncrasy and sheer effort."–The San Francisco Chronicle "Amazing….This is the lesbian novel we've all been waiting for."–Salon.com "Compelling…Readers of all sexes and orientations should identify with this gutsy hero as she learns who she is and how to love."–Newsday "Echoes of Tom Jones, Great Expectations…Waters's debut offers terrific entertainment: pulsating with highly charged (and explicitly presented) erotic heat."–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
John Lennon - In His Own Write
_About The Awful_ I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madolf Heatlump (who only had one). Anyway they didn't get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn't pass -- much to my Aunties supplies. As a member of the most publified Beatles my (P, G, and R's) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I'm conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I've every ready. God help and breed you all.
Ken Follett - Fall of Giants
This is a huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women. It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution. In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, "Fall of Giants" moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.
Terry Pratchett - Thud!
Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago. But if he doesn't solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office. With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him. Oh... and at six o'clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read Where's My Cow?, with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy. There are some things you have to do.
Joss Stirling - Seeking Crystal
Sparks will fly . . . Passion will ignite . . . Crystal Brook has always been the dud Savant in her family; paranormal powers just aren't her thing. Dropping out of school with a clutch of 'E' grades and no future, she lives in the shadow of her high-flying sister Diamond. On a trip to Denver, a chance encounter with the dashing Benedict brothers leaves Diamond head over heels in love and engaged to be married. Crystal, on the other hand, is unimpressed by their charms . . . in fact no boy can annoy her as much as Xav Benedict! Back in Venice, their families assemble for Diamond's wedding and a powerful enemy seizes the opportunity to attack. Crystal and Xav must join forces to save their loved-ones, unlocking a secret that, until now, has lain deeply buried . . .
Jeanette Winterson - Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
In 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, _Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit_, was published. It tells the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents. The girl is supposed to grow up and be a missionary. Instead she falls in love with a woman. Disaster. Written when Jeanette was only twenty-five, her novel went on to win the Whitbread First Novel award, become an international bestseller and inspire an award-winning BBC television adaptation. Oranges was semi-autobiographical. Mrs Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over that novel and its author's life. When Jeanette finally left her home, at sixteen, because she was in love with a woman, Mrs Winterson asked her: _why be happy when you could be normal_? This book is the story of a life's work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a tyrant in place of a mother, who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an northern industrial town now changed beyond recognition, part of a community now vanished; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother. It is also a book about other people's stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life-raft which supports us when we are sinking. Funny, acute, fierce and celebratory, this is a tough-minded search for belonging, for love, an identity, a home, and a mother.
Jane Gardam - Old Filth
FILTH, in his heyday, was an international lawyer with a practice in the Far East. Now, only the oldest QCs and Silks can remember that his nickname stood for Failed In London Try Hong Kong. Long ago, Old Filth was a Raj orphan - one of the many young children sent 'Home' from the East to be fostered and educated in England. Jane Gardam's new novel tells his story, from his birth in what was then Malaya to the extremities of his old age. Brilliantly constructed - going backwards and forwards in time, yet constantly working towards the secret at its core - OLD FILTH is funny and heart-breaking, witty and peopled with characters who astonish, dismay and delight the reader. Jane Gardam is as sensitive to the 'jungle' within children as she is to the eccentricities of the old. A touch of magic combines with compassion, humour and delicacy to make OLD FILTH a genuine masterpiece.
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter receives an ominous warning from a house-elf at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: if he returns to the school at the end of the summer, terrible things will happen. But return Harry must. His second year begins with a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Quidditch training and the intensification of old rivalries. Then the warning starts to ring true, as mysterious words are daubed on a wall, students are attacked and Ron's sister, Ginny, disappears. And so the search for Salazar Slytherin's heir begins, with the mystery pointing Harry to a clandestine chamber and a deadly creature at its heart...
David Mitchell - Ghostwritten
An apocalyptic cult member carries out a gas attack on a rush-hour metro, but what connects him to a jazz buff in Tokyo? A woman on a holy mountain talks to a tree - and the tree talks back - unaware of the effect the financial irregularities of a burnt-out lawyer will have on her life. Add to this - a Mongolian gangster, a redundant English spy in Petersburg with a knack for forging masterpieces, a despondent 'zookeeper', a nuclear scientist, a ghostwriter, a ghost, and a late night New York DJ whose hard-boiled scepticism has been his undoing. All of them have tales to tell, and all must play their part as they are caught up in the inescapable forces of cause and effect.
Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean At The End of the Lane is a novel about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator forty years ago when he was seven: the lodger stole the family's car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed -- within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac -- as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.
Ismeretlen szerző - Granta 81: Best of Young British Novelists 2003
Twice before - in 1983 and 1993 - Granta has chosen twenty writers under forty whose writing represents the best promise or achievement in British fiction. Twenty years ago that list included Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Graham Swift, Pat Barker. Who are their equivalents today? Granta's panel of judges will announce its answer in January 2003. Previous experience suggests it might be controversial, but there will be no more definitive selection than Granta's. 1983: Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Julian Barnes, Ursula Bentley, William Boyd, Buchi Emecheta, Maggie Gee, Kazuo Ishiguro, Alan Judd, Adam Mars-Jones, Ian McEwan, Shiva Naipaul, Philip Norman, Christopher Priest, Salman Rushdie, Lisa St Aubin de Teran, Clive Sinclair, Graham Swift, Rose Tremain, A. N. Wilson. 1993: Iain Banks, Louis de Bernieres, Anne Billson, Tibor Fischer, Esther Freud, Alan Hollinghurst, Kazuo Ishiguro, A.L. Kennedy, Philip Kerr, Hanif Kureishi, Adam Lively, Adam Mars-Jones, Candia McWilliam, Lawrence Norfolk, Ben Okri, Caryl Phillips, Will Self, Nicholas Shakespeare, Helen Simpson, Jeanette Winterson.
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger
After her award-winning trilogy of Victorian novels, Sarah Waters turned to the 1940s and wrote THE NIGHT WATCH, a tender and tragic novel set against the backdrop of wartime Britain. Shortlisted for both the Orange and the Man Booker, it went straight to number one in the bestseller chart. In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his. Prepare yourself. From this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us, now comes a chilling ghost story.
Terry Pratchett - Lords and Ladies
The fairies are back - but this time they don't just want your teeth... Granny Weatherwax and her tiny coven are up against real elves. It's Midsummer Night, No time for dreaming... With full supporting cast of dwarfs, wizards, trolls, Morris dancers and one orang-utan. And lots of hey-nonny-nonny and blood all over the place.
Terry Pratchett - Snuff
According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder. He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, and occasionally snookered and out of his mind, but never out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment. They say that in the end all sins are forgiven. But not quite all..
Iain Pears - The Bernini Bust
British art historian Jonathan Argyll has just sold a minor Titian to an American museum for a highly inflated price. But as he complacently awaits his cheque in the Californian sunshine, trouble erupts: the museum's billionaire owner is murdered, a dubious art dealer disappears, and a Bernini bust, apparently smuggled out of Italy, is missing. Things could hardly be worse, and the situation calls for assistance from his friends General Bottando and Flavia di Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, especially as things do get worse - the killer's attention turns to Jonathan himself. Cleverly mixing murder with art, _The Bernini Bust_ is a witty and intriguing mystery from the bestselling author of _An Instance of the Fingerpost._
Helen Oyeyemi - White is for Witching
___ In a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, the gentle Luc, mourn her absence with unspoken intensity. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. Generations of women inhabit its walls. And Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is more attuned to them than she is to her brother and father. She is leaving them slowly, slipping away from them. When one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story. _Miri_ _I_ _conjure_ _you_... This is a spine-tingling tale that has Gothic roots but an utterly modern sensibility. Told by a quartet of crystalline voices, it is electrifying in its expression of myth and memory, loss and magic, fear and love.
Julian Barnes - Arthur & George
Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, George remains in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events which made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages. George Edjali's father is Indian, his mother Scottish. When the family begins to receive vicious anonymous letters, many about their son, they put it down to racial prejudice. They appeal to the police, to no less than the Chief Constable, but to their dismay he appears to suspect George of being the letters' author. Then someone starts slashing horses and livestock. Again the police seem to suspect the shy, aloof Birmingham solicitor. He is arrested and, on the flimsiest evidence, sent to trial, found guilty and sentenced to seven years' hard labour. Arthur Conan Doyle, famous as the creator of the world's greatest detective, is mourning his first wife (having been chastely in love for ten years with the woman who was to become his second) when he hears about the Edjali case. Incensed at this obvious miscarriage of justice, he is galvanised into trying to clear George's name. With a mixture of detailed research and vivid imagination, Julian Barnes brings to life not just this long-forgotten case, but the inner lives of these two very different men. The reader sees them both with stunning clarity, and almost inhabits them as they face the vicissitudes of their lives, whether in the dock hearing a verdict of guilty, or trying to live an honourable life while desperately in love with another woman. This is a novel in which the events of a hundred years ago constantly set off contemporary echoes, a novel about low crime and high spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race; about what we think, what we believe, and what we know. Julian Barnes has long been recognised as one of Britain's most remarkable writers. While those already familiar with his work will enjoy its elegance, its wit, its profound wisdom about the human condition, Arthur and George will surely find him an entirely new audience.