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Little Big Man: A Novel
“The truth is always made up of little particulars which sound ridiculous when repeated.” So says Jack Crabb, the 111-year-old narrator of Thomas Berger’s 1964 masterpiece of American fiction, Little Big Man. Berger claimed the Western as serious literature with this savage and epic account of one man’s extraordinary double life.
After surviving the massacre of his pioneer family, ten-year-old Jack is adopted by an Indian chief who nicknames him Little Big Man. As a Cheyenne, he feasts on dog, loves four wives, and sees his people butchered by horse soldiers commanded by General George Armstrong Custer. Later, living as a white man once more, he hunts the buffalo to near-extinction, tangles with Wyatt Earp, cheats Wild Bill Hickok, and fights in the Battle of Little Bighorn alongside Custer himself—a man he’d sworn to kill. Hailed by The Nation as “a seminal event,” Little Big Man is a singular literary achievement that, like its hero, only gets better with age.
Praise for Little Big Man
“An epic such as Mark Twain might have given us.”—Henry Miller
“The very best novel ever about the American West.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Spellbinding . . . [Crabb] surely must be one of the most delightfully absurd fictional fossils ever unearthed.”—Time
“Superb . . . Berger’s success in capturing the points of view and emotional atmosphere of a vanished era is uncanny. His skill in characterization, his narrative power and his somewhat cynical humor are all outstanding.”—The New York Times
The Return of Little Big Man: A Novel
The legendary Jack Crabb takes another riotous romp through the Old West in an acclaimed novel that’s “impressive and delightful . . . very Mark Twain” (Daily News, New York).
Jack Crabb is now 112 years old, and he isn’t done spinning yarns. In this sequel to Berger’s beloved novel Little Big Man, one of literature’s wiliest survivors continues his breathtaking tall tales of the Old West.Crabb claims to have witnessed most of the great historical events of the western frontier: hiding behind a wagon after a drunken Doc Holliday provokes the shootout at the OK Corral; joining Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley on tour with their international Wild West show; even taking tea with Queen Victoria when she came out of seclusion after a quarter century. No matter where Crabb lays his hat, he keeps his wizened, wry, and sharp commentary at the ready. The Return of Little Big Man is a sidesplitting novel of surprising emotional depth.
This ebook features an all-new introduction by Thomas Berger, as well as an illustrated biography of the author including rare images and never-before-seen documents from his personal collection.
Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel
A “splendid” and witty take on the Arthurian legend by the acclaimed author of Little Big Man (The New York Times Book Review).
The myth of King Arthur has been told countless ways since the sixth century, always combining action, adventure, romance, and tragedy. In Arthur Rex, Thomas Berger updates the legend in irreverent fashion, forever changing King Arthur and his Round Table. In Berger’s medieval England, the damsel in distress is never what she appears to be. Merlin is a wizard of a completely different stripe. Classic heroes and villains are vividly reimagined, breathing fresh life into a familiar story. Powerful, emotional, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, Arthur Rex is an unforgettable tribute to one of the most celebrated tales of all time. This ebook features an all-new introduction by Thomas Berger, as well as an illustrated biography of the author including rare images and never-before-seen documents from his personal collection.
Sneaky People: A Novel
The time is the 1930s. Buddy Sandifer, dressed in his natty white flannels, baby-blue shirt, striped tie, tan-and-white shoes, and coconut-straw hat with polka-dot band, is falling into one of his moods. Owner of a used-car lot and father of a fifteen-year-old son with a penchant for sex manuals, Buddy has decided to murder his wife and marry his mistress, Laverne, a robust blonde who cooks his favorite meal of fried pork chops, fried potatoes, and fried apples while wearing a short pink apron over black-lace step-ins and brassiere, long-gartered silk stockings, and platform shoes. The only problem is how to arrange the crime.
Abnormal Occurrences: Short Stories
A dozen remarkable short stories from the author of Little Big Man, offering an absurdist journey through the mind of one of America’s great storytellers
Thomas Berger’s first short story collection in almost thirty years showcases the author’s acclaimed wit, intellect, and emotional sureness. His pages teem with larger-than-life characters: Dr. Poon, a Hollywood snake handler in way over his head during a film shoot in Southeast Asia; Charlie, an apartment superintendent who finds a peculiarly powerful plastic pistol; and Vernon, the confused owner of a talking puppy. No matter where Berger takes his readers, his world is full of oddities. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Thomas Berger including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
Neighbors: A Novel
Suburban regular guy Earl Keese confronts the yawning pit of chaos in the persons of Harry and Ramona, a younger couple who have just moved into the only other house on their dead-end street. Literally overnight, Earl's painstakingly controlled world is turned upside down. Soon he is engaged in guerilla warfare with his new neighbors, who seem to threaten the very fabric of his carefully constructed reality.
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, The Feud chronicles a hilariously destructive rivalry between families from neighboring towns in 1930s America.
"I marked my copy of THE FEUD with a star wherever its blend of irony, parody and slapstick made me laugh out loud; some pages look like a map of the Milky Way." —The Washington Post Book World
“A comic masterpiece” —Anne Tyler
What begins as a small spat over an unlit cigar in a hardware store spirals out of control for Dolf Beller and Bud Bullard. Dolf has come to make good on a promise he made to his wife years ago. Feeling generous, he’s finally getting around to stripping the varnish off her dresser to reveal the mahogany within. It’s a job he’s never done before, and worst of all, the teenager that’s supposed to be helping him at the counter begins hassling him for chomping on an unlit cigar.
When Bud Jr. calls over his father to talk things out, Dolf is about ready for a fight. He just wasn’t prepared to have a gun drawn on him by a one of Bud Bullard’s relative—who just happened to be there and happened to love impersonating a police officer. Left embarrassed and begging for his life, Dolf goes home and tells a version of his story his pride can live with. He also bars his family from communicating with any of the Bullards. Conflict resolved.
Until the next day, when Bud’s hardware store goes up in flames and Dolf’s car explodes. Unable to see the incidents as unrelated, these two families enter a battle that’s as bitter as it is funny. With rich characters dotting every page, this is a Berger classic that can’t be put down.
Crazy in Berlin: A Novel
Thomas Berger’s debut novel of a young man tumultuously coming of age in postwar Germany
Carlo Reinhart, a young American army medic stationed in Germany, confronts a disturbing new world following the end of World War II. Living in Berlin, a city fractured into barricaded sectors by the occupying powers, Reinhart begins to drive himself mad with memories of the evils he has witnessed and questions about how the atrocities took place. When he meets an idealistic Jew named Nathan Schild, Reinhart’s turmoil grows more acute. Schild works for both the Americans and the Russians, and he becomes a flashpoint for Reinhart’s anguish over the world’s vast contradictions. When Schild’s escapades lead to a powerful turning point, Reinhart is forced to come to terms with life’s ambiguities as well as with his own evolving identity. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Thomas Berger including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
Reinhart's Women: A Novel
Thomas Berger’s modern hero Carlo Reinhart is thrust into the strangest chapter of his life yet
Carlo Reinhart’s life has taken many turns. From his idealistic youth in Crazy in Berlin, to his entrance into adulthood in Reinhart in Love, through his uneasy tumble into middle age in Vital Parts, Reinhart has never lost his philosophical and even-minded disposition. Reinhart’s Women finds Reinhart divorced and living with his daughter, Winona, a successful model. His newest hobby is cooking, and he has become surprisingly accomplished for an amateur. But when he asks a woman over for a homemade lunch, Reinhart’s idyll is shattered. Adventures and misadventures conspire to put his nascent cooking skills to the test—and turn him into a postmodern celebrity. With Reinhart, Berger has created one of the great comic characters of the twentieth century—a man who beautifully represents, and parodies, his moment. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Thomas Berger including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
Being Invisible: A Novel
Fred Wagner thought his newfound ability would bring big opportunities, but some special powers aren’t as useful as they appear to be
Advertising copywriter Fred Wagner lives a mundane existence, dreaming of being a novelist but making scant progress on his first literary effort. His career has stalled and his personal life is falling to pieces, but everything seems poised to change when, one day, Fred realizes he can will himself in and out of visibility. A world of possibilities seems finally within reach—that is, until Fred learns that invisibility isn’t the panacea he hoped it would be. Filled with humor and pathos, Being Invisible perceptively examines the life of a struggling writer and the power each of us has to change our own lives. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Thomas Berger including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
Vital Parts: A Novel
A bitterly comic novel of middle-aged angst and middle-class American life in the 1960s, by the acclaimed author of Little Big Man
It is the late sixties in suburbia, and Carlo Reinhart’s life is a mess. He’s fat, broke, middle aged, and unemployed. His anarchist son hates him, and his wife has taken a younger lover and thrown Carlo out of the house. In fact, the only one who doesn’t consider him contemptible and ridiculous seems to be Carlo’s adoring, overweight daughter, who is almost as pathetic as he is. Even his affair with a twenty-two-year-old nymphomaniac is strangely unsatisfying.
Then, just as he’s reaching his lowest point, the self-styled Ultimate Human Irrelevancy is offered a golden opportunity to grab a piece of the American Dream, thanks to the reappearance of his old school chum Bob Sweet. Bob, who has a gift for success, is inviting Reinhart to get in on the ground floor of his latest venture: cryonics. But while Carlo loves the taste of the good life that his friend has suddenly provided, he’s not quite certain whether Sweet wants him as a partner . . . or as a human popsicle.
The third novel in Thomas Berger’s acclaimed Carlo Reinhart Series, Vital Parts is a stingingly hilarious swipe at twentieth-century culture and mores. Unrestrained and unapologetic, it is a tour de force from a master satirist that stands alongside Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, and the novels of Kurt Vonnegut as a trenchant and funny comment on American life.
Little Big Man author Thomas Berger takes the murder mystery and runs with it in this trip around a quiet suburb with a dark secret.
“A cutting, ironic wit and a precision of detail so deadly it hurts when you laugh.” —Ms.
Mary Jane Jones doesn't like to meddle. She's content to stay out of the admittedly tame gossip of her suburban neighborhood, even in the fresh loneliness of widowhood. In fact, if it wasn't for the daily invites to dinner she receives from her sweet neighbor, Donna, she would be content to just stay home alone. Never one to risk being rude, Mary slowly finds herself not just a frequent guest in Donna's spotless house, but enjoying her company, and that of her three-year old daughter.
So when Donna doesn't pick up the phone during their usual dining hours, something's too amiss for Mary to stay put. Unable to depend on slow moving cops, Mary doesn't just come over, she breaks in.
What she finds is almost beyond comprehension. Donna and her little girl have been brutally slaughtered in their beds.
The innocent façade of the town shattered, two world-weary detectives must find the murderer before he strikes again. But as officers Nick Moody and Dennis LeBeau grill their two primary suspects, Larry Howland, the late Donna Howland’s husband, and Lloyd Howland, Larry’s half-brother, the harder it is for them to piece together the motive. Lloyd, who had been in love with Donna for as long as he can remember, forges a bond with one of the detectives, but can’t seem to keep away from oddball scenarios that put him at odds with the law. Between his misadventures and the mystery brewing in town, Suspects is a story that entertains on every single page.
From the author of Little Big Man comes a modern retelling of Robinson Crusoe that is an introspective look at the human condition only Thomas Berger could deliver.
“Both a survival tale and a story of the redemptive power of love and nature, the novel exudes an optimism rare in contemporary fiction.” —Library Journal
On a fishing expedition with one friend he can barely tolerate and two other men he barely knows, Robert Crews is content to spend the entirety of the flight in the alcoholic haze he’s all too familiar with. But when the turbulence becomes something more, it’s clear that something is wrong.
Crash landing in unfamiliar territory, Crews is the sole survivor to emerge from the wreckage. Alone, and without a drop of alcohol for the first time in his life, he must face the wild and, worse—himself.
Crews salvages what’s left of his companion’s survival gear from the plane, learns to build his first fire, and fashions a makeshift shelter from the elements. Alone with his memories, Crews begins to lament the years he spent wandering aimlessly through life, unable to attach himself to a single thing, or a single person.
His new lessons in self-care and human understanding pick up the pace when he suddenly encounters a woman on the run from her violent husband. Sparking new feelings of compassion, protectiveness, and genuine love in Crews, he allows Friday to join him on the search for civilization—all while avoiding the husband that seems bent on getting Friday back into his abusive grasp. Even in their return to civilization, Berger crafts a conclusion that sets this surprisingly tender retelling apart from every other tribute to Crusoe.
Who is Teddy Villanova?
Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Feud, Thomas Berger displays his genre bending prowess once more in this mystery turned comedy, featuring unforgettable dialogue and an extremely fun cast of characters.
“Berger’s style, which is one of the great pleasures of the book, is something like S.J. Perelman’s—educated, complicated, graceful, silly, destructive in spirit and brilliant.” —Leonard Michaels, New York Times Book Review
Russel Wren is a man of big words, only trapped in a small living space.
An unlicensed private eye with an equally unlicensed handgun, Russel’s one big case away from becoming a household name and being able to pay his rent. Until then, our loquacious hero is content with blending his work life with his home life—mostly by living in his office.
Or, he was content, until a huge man looking for a Teddy Villanova arrived not just to threaten Russel and pummel him senseless, but to mysteriously reappear as a corpse mere hours later. To make matters more complicated, Russel finds a letter addressed to Teddy Villanova from a man named Donald Washburn II posing a threat to Villanova as serious as the beating Russel endured on his behalf.
When the police who finally arrive to investigate the corpse in Russel’s office instead threaten to pin the murder on him and offer him his second beating of the day, Russel is certain of two things: First, that those are not real cops and second: someone, somewhere, has made a horrible mistake. Russel doesn’t just dive into this mystery to save his own life, but to fulfill his far-off dream of living on more than instant noodles.
The author of the Pulitzer Prize–finalist The Feud blurs reality in this breakneck thriller following one man’s encounter with pure evil in high tops.
John Felton is a creature of habit. His job in real estate comes with no surprises; it’s respectable work he can be proud of. Routine has been kind to him, but when a normal Monday of looking after the kids gets interrupted by a ringing of his doorbell, John may have to kiss his uneventful life goodbye . . .
Richie’s car is stalled just at the bottom of the hill and he needs a push start. John agrees to help and then accepts a ride, though he’s not entire sure why. After stepping into Richie’s car, John is driven far away from the reality he once knew and dragged into Richie’s frightening world—one event at a time.
To make matters worse, the longer he spends in Richie’s company the harder it is for the people around him to distinguish John from this curly-haired devil in a baseball cap. John must put an end to Richie’s mad and murderous adventure before it reaches the most terrifying place of all—John’s very own home.
“The plot gets nicely complicated . . . and the entire contraption claps together in a great, unpredictable, satisfying calamity.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Spare, meticulous prose . . . Sharply evocative of human weakness and rage.” —The Washington Post
Thomas Berger puts his signature spin on the Greek myth ORESTEIA in this brilliant story set in small-town America.
“Gripping and funny, and, like the Greek tragedies, it leaves us thoughtful” —San Francisco Chronicle
When Augie leaves to join the army, it’s the first time his family sees him as anything but a waste of space. Not too worried about the kids and fairly certain his wife is having an affair, Augie pulls up his bootstraps and enlists.
Years later, Augie returns a war hero. With his pictures on the wall at the local bar and medals adorning his army uniform, he’s welcomed home with arms wide open by the locals. His wife, however, is a different matter entirely. She wasn’t counting on Augie coming back, ever. Hatching a plan with Augie’s cousin, E.G., the two do the unthinkable. Planning to electrocute him and make it look like an accident, the two murder Augie in his own home, hoping to get rid of him and take his pension.
At the wrong place at the wrong time, Augie’s daughter Ellie finds out about everything. Enraged, she immediately accosts her brother Orrie on his visit from college, demanding revenge. What ensues is a tale truly worthy of the tragedy it is based on. Secrets are revealed and trusts are betrayed that change a family’s fate forever.
Thomas Berger breaks all the rules in this detective story that’s less who-done-it, and more why-done-it.
“An original and powerful tale of a saintly murderer.”—Arthur Koestler
"Detweiler is one of the most complex characters in modern fiction...the eeriest thing about him is that he is wholly believable, which is to say, of course, that Thomas Berger is a magnificent novelist."—National Review
Meet Joseph Detweiler—a polite, sincere, and thoughtful murderer.
He believes in living in the moment, it’s just that every moment comes at a price.
So when he murders Billie Bayson, her mother, and a boarder in their home on Christmas Eve, he really means no harm. He’s also not the first suspect.
As the police delve into the sordid private lives of the Bayson family in the aftermath of this horrific event, seeking the real killer, Detweiler befriends Tierney, a detective assigned to the case. But as details of the case unravel, so does the chilling truth about Detweiler. He has not just committed the murder at hand. He believes he’s performed a kindness to Billie and to himself. In his mind has freed her from life, and himself from the flow of time.
Can Detective Tierney live with knowing the killer was right under his nose?
Regiment of Women
The Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Little Big Man returns with perhaps one of his most imaginative alternate realities yet: a matriarchal society.
Women reign supreme in the not-so-distant future, where Georgie Cornell has no choice but to wear the high heel shoe on the other foot. Swept into the chaotic world of publishing, he is at the mercy of his female bosses, especially if his pencil skirt is an inch too short.
Georgie only has one male coworker he can lean on for a bit of support, and his friend Charlie’s fascination with gender roles borders on the scandalous for Georgie’s taste. Still, when Georgie loses his job it’s Charlie he turns to for comfort. Spilling a drink on his expensive dress, he has no choice but to wear the women’s clothes Charlie keeps in secret on the way home. The simple journey quickly turns chaotic when Georgie is taken in by the police for the crime of being a transvestite. A prison escape is only the start of this piercing, insightful, and prescient look at gender norms.
“Imagined with such ferocity and glee that we assent to it almost in spite of ourselves . . . A brilliant accomplishment by one of our best novelists.” —The New York Times Book Review
Changing the Past
A novel of alternate realities from the Pulitzer Prize–nominated author: “Those willing to spend a few hours in his Twilight Zone will come away the richer” (Library Journal).
With a loving wife and son, a successful job as chief copy-editor, and a schedule all his own, Walter Hunsicker is happy with his existence.
But into each life some rain must fall.
Taking shelter from a heavy storm with a stranger, Walter confesses there are small things he wouldn’t mind changing about himself. He’d like more money, a little less monotony, and maybe a new name. Something like Jack Kellog.
The stranger, possessing a power unfathomable to Walter, eagerly makes his wish a reality. Walter doesn’t walk back into the rain, but into another life. As rich, womanizing, slumlord Jack Kellog, he shocks himself so much that he tracks the stranger down and asks for his life back before the day’s through. But once the stranger agrees to end his experiment, Hunsicker returns home to devastating news. His son has AIDS, and is beyond treatment.
Desperate to spare his family and himself this cruel fate, Walter leaps into new lives. Comedian, writer, radio psychologist: Are any of the new Jack Kellogs enough to escape Walter Hunsicker’s grief?
Reinhart in Love
The Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Little Big Man proves that sometimes war doesn’t change a person, but the world he lives in.
Carlo Reinhart returns home from his service in Germany expecting the Ohio he left not too long ago. What he finds instead is new technology, old attitudes, and people he’s not sure he can relate to anymore.
As Reinhart stumbles back into life as a civilian, he finds camaraderie in the most unlikely places. A former classmate, Splendor Mainwaring, a man too smart for his lot in life as a mechanic, becomes a new and eccentric friend. His boss isn’t just the most over-eager real estate agent in town; he’s also a seasoned con man. Not even settling down comes easy to the gentle Reinhart. Duping him into marriage, his new wife Genevieve Raven is a force to be reckoned with.
Endlessly surprising, this funny, sharp-edged narrative is Pulitzer Prize–finalist Thomas Berger at his very best. With an over the top cast of characters, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the exact people that make Reinhart’s life impossible.
“Picture Fielding’s Tom Jones in a 20th century landscape and you’ll have some idea of Reinhart in Love.” —The New York Times
Little Big Man: Volume 1
The story of Jack Crabbe, raised by both a white man and a Cheyenne chief. As a Cheyenne, Jack ate dog, had four wives and saw his people butchered by General Custer's soldiers. As a white man, he participated in the slaughter of the buffalo and tangled with Wyatt Earp. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Return of Little Big Man
In 1964, Little Big Man gave us the reminiscences of Jack Crabb - a white orphan raised among the Cheyenne - who returns to "civilized" society, where (among other things) he tangles with Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok, and ends up as the only white survivor of Custer's Last Stand. At the end of Little Big Man, Jack's supposed death at age 111 cut short his tale. A newly discovered manuscript, however, reveals that Jack had faked his death to get out of his publishing contract, and he now picks up the story of his extraordinarily action-packed life.
Meeting Evil: A Novel
Meeting Evil tells an adrenaline-pumped, genuinely frightening tale of malevolence that swerves swiftly and irrevocably to a catastrophic climax. John Felton meets evil late one Monday morning when the doorbell rings. Standing on the front porch is a stranger. He wears expensive running shoes and a baseball cap and calls himself Richie. He tells John his car has stalled and asks for help. An altercation at the gas station leads to a shocking crime as violence begets violence. At the end of this harrowing day, John returns home to find Richie ensconced in his living room, chatting up his wife. The evil has somehow seeped into his life. Thus begins the transformation of an unremarkable husband and father of two into a desperate man willing to go to any length to protect his family from the darkness that threatens them. This is an extraordinary masterpiece and a chilling portrait of mounting menace played out against an everyday world of domestic routine, personified in a protagonist of basic decency grappling with both the immediate and existential meaning of true evil.
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