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.
Mervyn Peake - The Gormenghast Trilogy
Gormenghast is the vast, crumbling castle to which Titus Groan, is lord and heir. Titus is expected to rule this gothic labyrinth of turrets and dungeons, and his subjects, according to age-old rituals, but things are changing in the castle. He must contend with treachery, manipulation and murder and his longing for a life beyond the castle walls.
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.
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 - High-Rise
'Ballard's finest novel! a triumph.' The Times 'Another eerie glimpse into the future. A fast-moving, spine-tingling fable of the concrete jungle.' Daily Express 'A gripping read, particularly if you like your thrills chilly, bloody and with claims to social relevance.' Time Out 'Harsh and ingenious! High-Rise is an intense and vivid bestiary, which lingers unsettlingly in the mind.' Martin Amis, New Statesman From the author of the Sunday Times bestseller Cocaine Nights comes an acclaimed backlist title -- the unnerving tale of life in a modern tower block running out of control -- now reissued in new cover style. Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on 'enemy' floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for technological mayhem!In this classic visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as the inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, recreate a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
The Collector's Library in Colour takes the favourite illustrated titles of The Collector's Library and presents them in full colour. Jane Austen's best-loved novel is a memorable story about the inaccuracy of first impressions, about the power of reason, and above all about the strange dynamics of human relationships and emotions. Here, where Hugh Thomson's delightful period illustrations were originally black-and-white, they have been sensitively coloured by Barbara Frith, one of Britain 's most accomplished colourists. A tour de force of wit and sparkling dialogue, Pride and Prejudice shows how the headstrong Elizabeth Bennett and the aristocratic Mr Darcy must have their pride humbled and their prejudices dissolved before they can acknowledge their love for each other." With an Afterword by Henry Hitchings.
Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass
This edition contains _Alice's Adventures in Wonderland_ and its sequel _Through the Looking-Glass_. It is illustrated throughout by Sir John Tenniel, whose drawings for the books add so much to the enjoyment of them. Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen and the White Rabbit all make their appearances, and are now familiar figures in writing, conversation and idiom. So too, are Carroll's delightful verses such as The Walrus and the Carpenter and the inspired jargon of that masterly Wordsworthian parody, The Jabberwocky.
Stella Gibbons - Cold Comfort Farm
There's something naarsty in the woodshed... As the sukebind swells into bud, recently orphaned, expensively educated Flora Poste decides to descend on her relatives, the Starkadders, az Cold Comfort Farm. There are plenty of them: Judith, shrouded in guilt-ridden grief; Amos, called by God; Seth, smouldering with sex; Reuben, eager to step into dead men's shoes; and their sister, the waiflike, wispy, ethereal Elfine. And among the others - Caraway, Harkaway, , Rennet, Urk, etcetera - looms the enigmatic figure of batty Great Aunt Ada Doom, who saw something nasty in the woodshed (or was it the cowshed... or the bicycle shed...?) Full of hearty determination and bolstered by the rural surroundings, Flora feels it is her duty to bring order to this chaos.
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.
George Eliot - Middlemarch (angol)
Often called the greatest nineteenth-century British novelist, George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans) created in Middlemarch a vast panorama of life in a provincial Midlands town. At the story’s center stands the intellectual and idealistic Dorothea Brooke—a character who in many ways resembles Eliot herself. But the very qualities that set Dorotheaapart from the materialistic, mean-spirited society around her also lead her into a disastrous marriage with a man she mistakes for her soul mate. In a parallel story, young doctor Tertius Lydgate, who is equally idealistic, falls in love with the pretty but vain and superficial Rosamund Vincy, whom he marries to his ruin. Eliot surrounds her main figures with a gallery of characters drawn from every social class, from laborers and shopkeepers to the rising middle class to members of the wealthy, landed gentry. Together they form an extraordinarily rich and precisely detailed portrait of English provincial life in the 1830s. But Dorothea’s and Lydgate’s struggles to retain their moral integrity in the midst of temptation and tragedy remind us that their world is very much like our own. Strikingly modern in its painful ironies and psychological insight, Middlemarch was pivotal in the shaping of twentieth-century literary realism.
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...
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.
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.
Elizabeth Gaskell - Cranford (angol)
As for Cranford in general, it was going on much as usual. First published in serial format, Gaskell's Cranford is a delightfully light-hearted series of stories about early Victorian life in a country village. Following the lives of two spinster sisters, Miss Matty and Miss Deborah as they gossip about the inconsequential goings-on of the community, Gaskell's best-loved work affectionately comments on the role of women in society at that time and documents the changing face of a bygone Victorian provincial idyll.
Jeanette Winterson - Written on the Body
Written on The Body is a tender dissection of erotic love. The prose is like a poem, lush with wit and imagery, but behind the luxuriant relish of the words, there is a scalpel-sharp cut of emotions. Love and longing are the wounds through which Winterson's imagery flows. The novel begins with regret: „Why is the measure of love loss? It hasn't rained in three months … The grapes have withered on the vine.” The narrator is also suffering from a heart-stricken drought. She is grieving for the loss of her true love, Louise. Louise has flowing Pre-Raphaelite hair, and a body besieged by leukaemia, her cells waging war: „here they come, hurtling through the bloodstream trying to pick a fight.” But Louise is not dead, merely abandoned by the narrator with the best of intentions. As the lament continues, striking in its beauty and dazzling inventiveness, more of the love story is revealed. The narrator has been a female Lothario, falling in love, and out again, swaggering like Mercutio. But then she meets Louise, married to Elgin–"very eminent, very dull, very rich"–and is hopelessly, helplessly smitten: „I didn't only want Louise's flesh, I wanted her bones, her blood, her tissues, the sinews that bound her together.” Elgin persuades her to leave for the good of Louise's health, and all is undone.
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.
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.
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.
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings
J R. R. Tolkien THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING In a sleepy village in the Shire a young hobbit is entrusted with an immense task. He must make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ruling Ring of Power - the only thing that prevents the Dark Lord's evil...
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.
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.