From Paris to London to wartime New York, a young woman comes of age—and comes apart—in this witty novel by the author of The Man Who Loved Children.
 
When Letty Fox first arrives in Manhattan, her goal is to escape her chaotic upbringing in London and Paris and the cynicism of her family, and create a fresh new start. This will be the existence she dreamed of—flitting from affair to affair, debating social issues over martinis, and finishing that novel about Robespierre that will make her envied by all the right people. Yet, Letty is at odds with both the city and herself: sexually adventurous yet fidgety for lasting romance, radically independent yet conservative, as likely to be betrayed by friends as she is to betray. And when Letty runs through the streets of Greenwich Village, it’s as much to unleash her glorious appetite for life as it is to suppress the “black moods” that always threaten to derail it.

“No wonder [Christina Stead’s] work has reminded many of Tolstoy, Ibsen, Joyce,” said the New York Times Book Review. When this poisonously funny satire of the American bourgeoisie was first published in 1947, it was banned in the author’s native Australia, and met with alarm by stateside critics for its moral ambiguity. Ahead of its time with its vibrant and furious heroine, it is destined for rediscovery.
 
From an author Saul Bellow called “really marvelous,” Letty Fox is a “merciless, cruel, and magnificently unforgiving” comedy of manners (Angela Carter, London Review of Books).
New York, on the cusp of World War II. Robert Grant, a middle-aged businessman, lives life by his own rules. His chief hobbies are moneymaking and seduction; he is always on the hunt for the next woman to beguile and betray. That is, until he meets his match: Barbara, the ‘blondine’, a woman he cannot best.

A sardonic commentary on sexual relations and war as potent as when it was first published in 1948, A Little Tea, a Little Chat holds up a mirror to the corruption and cravenness of our late-capitalist moment.

Christina Stead was born in 1902 in Sydney. Stead’s first books, The Salzburg Tales and Seven Poor Men of Sydney, were published in 1934 to positive reviews in England and the United States. Her fourth work, The Man Who Loved Children, has been hailed as a ‘masterpiece’ by Jonathan Franzen, among others. In total, Stead wrote almost twenty novels and short-story collections. Stead returned to Australia in 1969 after forty years abroad for a fellowship at the Australian National University. She resettled permanently in Australia in 1974 and was the first recipient of the Patrick White Award that year. Christina Stead died in Sydney in 1983, aged eighty. She is widely considered to be one of the most influential Australian authors of the twentieth century.

‘[Christina Stead] is really marvellous.’ Saul Bellow

‘A sprawling character study...Callous, comical, loathsome, and tiresome, Grant also, as the David Malouf introduction notes, can sometimes stir sympathy thanks to Stead’s artistry.’ Kirkus reviews, starred review

It is 1934, and Elvira Western has left London and her dull marriage to Paul, a doctor, for Paris and her waiting lover, Oliver, a student radical. But drab hotels and interminable discussions of politics are not her idea of romance, and soon Elvira is wishing she could leave the city of ‘many beauties—and furies’, and return home...

Christina Stead’s second novel dramatises a love triangle against a backdrop of political upheaval. Its publication in 1936 prompted a writer for the New Yorker to call Stead the ‘most extraordinary woman novelist’ since Virginia Woolf.

Christina Stead was born in 1902 in Sydney. Stead’s first books, The Salzburg Tales and Seven Poor Men of Sydney, were published in 1934 to positive reviews in England and the United States. Her fourth work, The Man Who Loved Children, has been hailed as a ‘masterpiece’ by Jonathan Franzen, among others. In total, Stead wrote almost twenty novels and short-story collections. Stead returned to Australia in 1969 after forty years abroad for a fellowship at the Australian National University. She resettled permanently in Australia in 1974 and was the first recipient of the Patrick White Award that year. Christina Stead died in Sydney in 1983, aged eighty. She is widely considered to be one of the most influential Australian authors of the twentieth century.

‘Stead is of that category of fiction writer who restores to us the entire world, in its infinite complexity and inexorable bitterness, and never asks if the reader wishes to be so furiously enlightened and instructed, but takes it for granted that this is the function of fiction.’ Angela Carter, London Review of Books

‘It’s not easy to explain how much pleasure there was in reading Christina Stead’s second novel The Beauties and Furies...It is such a dynamic novel, rich with wonderfully complex characters and a compelling storyline...The Beauties and Furies is a brilliant novel.’ ANZ Lit Lovers

‘Stead paints an enticing, kinetic picture of Parisian café life and rented lodgings, friendly prostitutes and dissipated journalists, a sort of update of A Moveable Feast spiced with the rising threat of fascism. She also shows the influence, as the helpful introduction notes, of Joyce’s Ulysses, with a resourceful lexicon of wordplay, stream of consciousness and bravura passages that stand out from her conventional prose the way Marpurgo’s evil overshadows the small sins of adultery. A welcome reissue of an intriguing, atmospherically rich work.’ Kirkus Reviews, starred review

‘I hate and despise business and anything to do with making money.’

‘Do you think it’s wrong?’

‘It is the enemy of art.’

Eighteen-year-old Honor Lawrence is out of place at the bank where she works. When she refuses to accept a promotion, despite her obvious poverty, her mentor, Augustus Debrett, doesn’t quite know what to make of it, or of her. Honor is an enigma—and she leaves confusion and uneasiness in her wake.

In The Puzzleheaded Girl, made up of four thematically linked novellas, Stead’s unsurpassable skills of observation and social critique are on full display.

Christina Stead was born in 1902 in Sydney. Stead’s first books, The Salzburg Tales and Seven Poor Men of Sydney, were published in 1934 to positive reviews in England and the United States. Her fourth work, The Man Who Loved Children, has been hailed as a ‘masterpiece’ by Jonathan Franzen, among others. In total, Stead wrote almost twenty novels and short-story collections. Stead returned to Australia in 1969 after forty years abroad for a fellowship at the Australian National University. She resettled permanently in Australia in 1974 and was the first recipient of the Patrick White Award that year. Christina Stead died in Sydney in 1983, aged eighty. She is widely considered to be one of the most influential Australian authors of the twentieth century.

‘Christina Stead’s talent is vital and powerful; her work has that original streak of genius so evident in the best Australian writing.’ Sunday Times

‘Stead effortlessly captures the feel of the era she is describing, with spare and beautiful prose.’ BookMooch

‘I loved the Text Classic reissue of Christina Stead’s The PuzzleHeaded Girl, a kind of female version of Bartleby the Scrivener. Stead’s gifts are so ample, her grasp of obsession extraordinary.’ Delia Falconer, Best Books of 2016, Australian

‘These are perfectly pitched stories of flight.’ Australian Financial Review

‘At shorter length, Stead reveals more clearly her gifts in tone and voice and building a scene, while her theme here puts these fictions among the Ur-texts of feminism.’ Kirkus Reviews, starred review


‘One of Australia’s greatest novelists puts together...a crew as sad, funny and perverse as any ever gathered.’ Time

After the Second World War, bizarre characters from across the ruined continent have gathered at the ‘fourth-rate’ Hotel Swiss-Touring by Lake Geneva. Some are residents, while other guests have come for the season. In the claustrophobic atmosphere of the little hotel, their eccentricities and their desperation—their jealousies and vindictiveness—are all too apparent.

First published in 1973, shortly before Christina Stead’s return to Australia, The Little Hotel is a sharp, witty satire of changing lives in postwar Europe.

Christina Stead was born in 1902 in Sydney. Stead’s first books, The Salzburg Tales and Seven Poor Men of Sydney, were published in 1934 to positive reviews in England and the United States. Her fourth work, The Man Who Loved Children, has been hailed as a ‘masterpiece’ by Jonathan Franzen, among others. In total, Stead wrote almost twenty novels and short-story collections. Stead returned to Australia in 1969 after forty years abroad for a fellowship at the Australian National University. She resettled permanently in Australia in 1974 and was the first recipient of the Patrick White Award that year. Christina Stead died in Sydney in 1983, aged eighty. She is widely considered to be one of the most influential Australian authors of the twentieth century.

‘This neat little volume will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction with a good dose of satire. Classic fiction from an award-winning Australian author.’ BookMooch

‘How to describe it? It’s like a meteorite from Krypton landed on Ozlit’s bindi-eye-riddled lawn, greenly glowing. Or perhaps a mosaic of imagined intimacies...Stead is a recording angel of the threadbare European middle class of the postwar years.’ Saturday Paper

‘In this highly confined setting, Stead creates a busy mini-Europe of petty and poignant crises, or perhaps a molehill of The Magic Mountain. This is an excellent place for the Stead novice to begin enjoying her artistry.’ STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

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