Frank, no ordinary sixteen-year-old, lives with his father outsIde a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank’s mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric’s escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother’s inevitable return – an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly. Iain Banks’ celebrated first novel is a work of extraordinary originality, imagination and horrifying compulsion: horrifying, because it enters a mind whose realities are not our own, whose values of life and death are alien to our society; and compulsive, because the humour and compassion of that mind reach out to us all.
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.
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies...' A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation. The narrators of _Cloud Atlas_ hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small. In his extraordinary third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
Iain Banks - A darázsgyár
"Két évvel azután, hogy megöltem Blyth-t, meggyilkoltam Pault, az öcsémet - de egészen más és jóval alapvetőbb okokból, mint amiért Blyth-t eltettem láb alól -, egy évvel később pedig kinyírtam az unokahúgomat, Esmereldát, többé-kevésbé egy hirtelen ötlettől vezérelve. Eddig ennyi. Három. Már évek óta nem öltem meg senkit, és nem is tervezem soha többé. Akkoriban éppen ilyen korszakomat éltem." Az apjával egy skót falucska mellett egyedül élő 16 éves Frank története bombaként robbant be a nyolcvanas évek brit irodalmi életébe. Egyes kritikusok kegyetlensége és naturális ábrázolásmódja miatt támadták A Darázsgyárat, mások az egekig magasztalták, és szerzőjében egy kivételes fantáziával, lenyűgöző stílusérzékkel megáldott új tehetséget láttak. Iain Banks első regénye azóta is megosztja az olvasókat, de ennek ellenére a tekintélyes angol napilap, a The Independent szavazásán A Darázsgyárat a huszadik század 100 legjobb regénye közé választották.
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.
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five
In its publication year, Slaughterhouse-Five was nominated for a best-novel Nebula Award and for a best-novel Hugo Award, 1970. It lost both to The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Don't let the ease of reading fool you! Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy–and humor.
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.
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.
Charles Dickens - Great Expectations
Great Expectations charts the progress of Pip from childhood through often painful experiences to adulthood, as he moves from the Kent marshes to busy, commercial London, encountering a variety of extraordinary characters ranging from Magwitch, the escaped convict, to Miss Havisham, locked up with her unhappy past and living with her ward, the arrogant, beautiful Estella. Pip must discover his true self, and his own set of values and priorities. Whether such values allow one to prosper in the complex world of early Victorian England is the major question posed by Great Expectations, one of Dickens's most fascinating, and disturbing, novels.
Vikram Seth - A Suitable Boy
A student, a shoemaker, a poet: three suitors fight for Lata. Meanwhile India, newly-independent, is struggling through a time of great turmoil as the agony of partition still throbs in people's minds - driving a wedge through friendships. families, political unions. Now at the beginning of a new era, the country faces its first general election, and the sixth of the world's population faces its chance to map its own destiny. A shadow of doubt has fallen over Lata's first suitor, the second quietly presses his case, the third dreams of her 'in his head' but still looks for courage. Fortunately, Mrs Rupa Mehra's attentions are diverted by the birth of Savita's baby and augury surely of a happy ending.
Murakami Haruki - Kafka a tengerparton
A Kafka a tengerparton hullámzó, nyugtalan textúrája két rendkívül színes és gubancos szálból szövődik össze. Az egyik páratlan vonulat (szó szerint értendő, mert a regény páratlan fejezetein húzódik végig) Tamura Kafka története, azé a tizenöt éves fiúé, aki az oidipuszi végzet elől megszökve anyja és nővére keresésére indul. A páros fejezetek hőse egy különös, félszeg, együgyű öregember. Nakata, aki sosem heverte ki második világháborús sérülését, és számára felfoghatatlanul sodródik a felnőtté válás magányával és bizonytalanságával küszködő Kafka felé. Ő a leghétköznapibb dolgok összefüggéseit sem érti, mégis sok olyan tulajdonsága van, amelyek rendkívülivé teszik. A két szál rafináltan és talányosan kapcsolja össze a tragédiában és komédiában, álmokban és csalóka tényekben, természetes és természetellenes szexben, fájdalomban és fergeteges humorban bővelkedő fejezeteket. Kalandok és rejtélyek könyve ez, amelyben az olvasó kíváncsiságát ingerlően bonyolódnak egymásba a történet "férfi-női, férfi-férfi és női-férfi" alakjai, és nekünk magunknak kell felemelnünk róluk az író fantáziadús kitérőivel ékesített, pompás takarót.
Stephen Chbosky - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
Alasdair Gray - Lanark
From its first publication in 1981, Lanark was hailed as a masterpiece and it has come to be widely regarded as the most remarkable and influential Scottish novel of the second half of the twentieth century. A work of extraordinary imagination and wide-ranging concerns, its playful narrative conveys at its core a profound message, both personal and political, about humankind's inability to love, and yet our compulsion to go on trying. With its echoes of Dante, Blake, Joyce, Kafka, and Lewis Carroll, Lanark has been published all over the world and to unanimous acclaim. This collector's edition -- deluxe four-volume slipcased and numbered -- marks the novel's return to its original publisher and features a superb new introduction by the award-winning novelist Janice Galloway. In addition, it includes the author's Tailpiece, a fascinating addendum to the novel.
Vladimir Nabokov - Pale Fire
In Pale Fire Nabokov offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures: a 999-line poem by the reclusive genius John Shade; an adoring foreword and commentary by Shade's self-styled Boswell, Dr. Charles Kinbote; a darkly comic novel of suspense, literary idolatry and one-upmanship, and political intrigue.
Michel Houellebecq - Platform
In his new work, Michel Houellebecq combines erotic provocation with a terrifying vision of a world teetering between satiety and fanaticism, to create one of the most shocking, hypnotic, and intelligent novels in years. In his early forties, Michel Renault skims through his days with as little human contact as possible. But following his father’s death he takes a group holiday to Thailand where he meets a travel agent—the shyly compelling Valérie—who begins to bring this half-dead man to life with sex of escalating intensity and audacity. Arcing with dreamlike swiftness from Paris to Pattaya Beach and from sex clubs to a terrorist massacre, Platform is a brilliant, apocalyptic masterpiece by a man who is widely regarded as one of the world’s most original and daring writers.
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.
Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance
A novel set in India during the Emergency, by the author of "Such a Long Journey". In the tiny flat of the widowed Dina Dalal, two tailors and a young student struggle to put together a new life of sorts amid the crisis, and in the course of doing so encounter a vivid cast of characters.
A. S. Byatt - Possession
Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets.Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.
J. G. Ballard - Empire of the Sun
The classic, award-winning novel, made famous by Steven Spielberg's film, tells of a young boy's struggle to survive World War II in China. Jim is separated from his parents in a world at war. To survive, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him. Shanghai, 1941 -- a city aflame from the fateful torch of Pearl Harbor. In streets full of chaos and corpses, a young British boy searches in vain for his parents. Imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp, he is witness to the fierce white flash of Nagasaki, as the bomb bellows the end of the war...and the dawn of a blighted world. Ballard's enduring novel of war and deprivation, internment camps and death marches, and starvation and survival is an honest coming-of-age tale set in a world thrown utterly out of joint.
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist (angol)
One of Dickens’s most popular novels, Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan who dares to say, "Please, sir, I want some more." After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwittingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thievesOliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured readers’ imaginations for more than 150 years: the loathsome Fagin, the beautiful and tragic Nancy, the crafty Artful Dodger, and perhaps one of the greatest villains of all time—the terrifying Bill Sikes. Rife with Dickens’s disturbing descriptions of street life, the novel is buoyed by the purity of the orphan Oliver. Though he is treated with cruelty and surrounded by coarseness for most of his life, his pious innocence leads him at last to salvation—and the shocking discovery of his true identity.