One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year
One of NPR's 10 Best Novels of 2011
Denis Johnson's Train Dreams is an epic in miniature, one of his most evocative and poignant fictions.
Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century—an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime.
Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West—its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge builders—the new novella by the National Book Award-winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
This is the story of Skip Sands—spy-in-training, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong—and the disasters that befall him thanks to his famous uncle, a war hero known in intelligence circles simply as the Colonel. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, and its gritty, sympathetic portraits of men and women desperate for an end to their loneliness, whether in sex or death or by the grace of God, this is a story like nothing in our literature.
Tree of Smoke is Denis Johnson's first full-length novel in nine years, and his most gripping, beautiful, and powerful work to date.
Tree of Smoke is the 2007 National Book Award Winner for Fiction.
Nelson has some serious problems. His marriage has fallen apart, and he may lose his land, cash and crop in the divorce. What's more, in need of some quick cash, he had foolishly agreed to smuggle $90,000 worth of cocaine through customs for Harry Lally, a major player in a drug syndicate. Chickening out just before bringing the drugs through, he flushed the powder. Now Lally wants him dead, and two goons are hot on his trail. Desperate, terrified and alone, for Nelson, there may be only one way out.
This is Denis Johnson's biggest and most complex book to date, and it perfectly showcases his signature themes of fate, redemption and the unraveling of the fabric of today's society. Already Dead, with its masterful narrative of overlapping and entwined stories, will further fuel the acclaim that surrounds one of today's most fascinating writers.
Nobody Move, which first appeared in the pages of Playboy, is the story of an assortment of lowlifes in Bakersfield, California, and their cat-and-mouse game over $2.3 million. Touched by echoes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Nobody Move is at once an homage to and a variation on literary form. It salutes one of our most enduring and popular genres—the American crime novel—but with a grisly humor and outrageousness that are Denis Johnson's own. Sexy, suspenseful, and above all entertaining, Nobody Move shows one of our greatest novelists at his versatile best.
Whether traveling through war-ravaged Liberia, mingling with the crowds at a Christian Biker rally, exploring his own authority issues through the lens of this nation's militia groups, or attempting to unearth his inner resources while mining for gold in the wilds of Alaska, Johnson writes with a mixture of humility and humorous candor that is everywhere present.
With the breathtaking and often haunting lyricism for which his work is renowned, Johnson considers in these pieces our need for transcendence. And, as readers of his previous work know, Johnson's path to consecration frequently requires a limning of the darkest abyss. If the path to knowledge lies in experience, Seek is a fascinating record of Johnson's profoundly moving pilgrimage.
Roland Nair calls himself Scandinavian but travels on a U.S. passport. After ten years' absence, he returns to Freetown, Sierra Leone, to reunite with his friend Michael Adriko. They once made a lot of money here during the country's civil war, and, curious to see whether good luck will strike twice in the same place, Nair has allowed himself to be drawn back to a region he considers hopeless.
Adriko is an African who styles himself a soldier of fortune and who claims to have served, at various times, the Ghanaian army, the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard, and the American Green Berets. He's probably broke now, but he remains, at thirty-six, as stirred by his own doubtful schemes as he was a decade ago.
Although Nair believes some kind of money-making plan lies at the back of it all, Adriko's stated reason for inviting his friend to Freetown is for Nair to meet Adriko's fiancée, a grad student from Colorado named Davidia. Together the three set out to visit Adriko's clan in the Uganda-Congo borderland—but each of these travelers is keeping secrets from the others. Their journey through a land abandoned by the future leads Nair, Adriko, and Davidia to meet themselves not in a new light, but rather in a new darkness.
In his poetry, short stories, novels, and plays, the National Book Award-winning author Denis Johnson has explored the story of America—especially of the West, land of self-made men and self-perpetuating myths—with searing honesty and genuine sympathy. These two plays, written in verse at once hypnotic and clear, confirm his position as one of our great verbal stylists and a literary conscience for our times.
In Soul of a Whore, a lively cast of characters—faith healers, pimps, strippers, actual demons—converge, with unexpected hilarity, as Bess Cassandra awaits execution for the murder of her infant daughter. Purvis's seven reverse-chronological scenes catalog the fall and rise of Melvin Purvis, the G-man who brought down John Dillinger and Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd. Johnson takes us from Washington's back rooms to a Midwestern cornfield, dramatizing the seductive allure of power and our own human capacity for both pettiness and grace.
In these furiously entertaining, occasionally terrifying works, Johnson chronicles and questions America's myths, heroes, and everyday realities with verve and elegance, revealing himself once again to be at the height of his linguistic and insightful powers.
These two works present a dramatized field guide to some of the more dysfunctional and dysphoric inhabitants of the American West: a sexual-misconduct investigator who misconducts herself sexually; a renegade Jehovah's Witness who supports his splinter Jehovean group by dealing drugs; the Cassandra Brothers and their father and their grandmother, thrown together at a family reunion/wedding/melee at their shabby homestead in Ukiah, California.
When Shoppers Carried by Escalators Into the Flames was performed in San Francisco in 2001, the Chronicle said, "There's an enormous appeal in Johnson's bleak-comic vision of a semi-mythic American West." That appeal derives from the author's perfect vision of imperfection, embodied with such energy and courage in these marvelous pieces of theatre.
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. Written in the luminous prose that made him one of the most beloved and important writers of his generation, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating the ghosts of the past and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves.
Finished shortly before Johnson’s death, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come.
Praise for The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
“These four stories rank with Johnson’s best work, but the title story, a catalogue of singular moments related by a man who tells us he’s passing through life as if it were a masquerade, ranks with the best fiction published by any American writer during this short century.”—New York Magazine
“Most of these stories are terrific, and two—the first and the last—are out-of-this-world. I say this not out of deference to the recently deceased, but in awe. When Johnson wrote at reckless full force, his sentences and storylines blasted barriers, discovering those odd places where, as one of his narrators here says, ‘the Mystery winks at you.’ . . . The Largesse of The Sea Maiden contains the kind of work every writer would like to go out on: fresh, profound and singular. It affirms literature’s promise to believers, the gift of eternal voice.”—Maureen Corrigan on Fresh Air, NPR
“The book in front of us today is one for which many people have waited—as if outside, in the acid rain—a long time. It’s the follow-up to Jesus’ Son, perhaps the most influential and beloved book of American short stories of the past three decades. . . . The Largesse of the Sea Maiden picks up, to a large extent, where Jesus’ Son left off . . . [with] prose vernacular and elevated at the same time. One can say about this book what one narrator says about the poems of a writer he loves: ‘They were the real thing, line after line of the real thing.’”—The New York Times
“The Family Fang is a comedy, a tragedy, and a tour-de-force examination of what it means to make art and survive your family….The best single word description would be brilliant.”
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto
“It’s The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I’d call The Family Fang a guilty pleasure, but it’s too damn smart….A total blast.”
—Hannah Pittard, author of The Fates Will Find Their Way
Owen King (We’re All in This Together) calls author Kevin Wilson, “the unholy child of George Saunders and Carson McCullers.” With his novel, The Family Fang, the Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth comes through in a BIG way, with a funny, poignant, laugh-and-cry-out-loud (sometimes at the same time) novel about the art of surviving a masterpiece of dysfunction. Meet The Family Fang, an unforgettable collection of demanding, brilliant, and absolutely endearing oddballs whose lives are risky and mischievous performance art. If the writing of Gary Shteyngart, Miranda July, Scarlett Thomas, and Charles Yu excites you, you’ll certainly want to invite this Family into your home.
It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage—and on him.
When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial Armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion.
By turns hilarious and harrowing, Ghosts of Manhattan follows a winning but flawed protagonist as he struggles to find the right path in a complicated urban heart of darkness
Struggling with grueling hours and sudden life-and-death responsibilities, Basch and his colleagues, under the leadership of their rule-breaking senior resident known only as the Fat Man, must learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings.
A phenomenon ever since it was published, The House of God was the first unvarnished, unglorified, and uncensored portrait of what training to become a doctor is truly like, in all its terror, exhaustion and black comedy. With more than two million copies sold worldwide, it has been hailed as one of the most important medical novels ever written.
With an introduction by John Updike
Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.
“A great artist.”—Cincinnati Enquirer
“A shaking up in the kaleidoscope of laughter . . . Reading Vonnegut is addictive!”—Commonweal
From the bestselling author of Fight Club comes a dark and brilliant satire about adolescence, Hell, and the Devil.
Madison is the thirteen-year-old daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire. Abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, she dies over the holiday, presumably of a marijuana overdose. The last thing she remembers is getting into a town car and falling asleep. Then she's waking up in Hell. Literally. Madison soon finds that she shares a cell with a motley crew of young sinners: a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, and a punk rocker, united by their doomed fate, like an afterschool detention for the damned. Together they form an odd coalition and march across the unspeakable landscape of Hell--full of used diapers, dandruff, WiFi blackout spots, evil historical figures, and one horrific call center--to confront the Devil himself.
With all of Bukowski's trademark humor and gritty, dark honesty, this 1978 follow-up to Post Office and Factotum is an uncompromising account of life on the edge.
Now a Major Motion Picture
“Brilliantly done . . . grand, intimate, and joyous.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Mothers, father, sons, and daughters: read this giant-hearted novel.”
—MARIA SEMPLE, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Three minutes and forty-three seconds of intensive warfare with Iraqi insurgents—caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew—has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes. Now they’re on a media-intensive nationwide tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. On this rainy Thanksgiving Day, the Bravos are guests of a Dallas football team, slated to be part of the halftime show.
Among the Bravos is nineteen-year-old Specialist Billy Lynn. Surrounded by patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and support our troops bumper stickers, he is thrust into the company of the team’s owner and his coterie of wealthy colleagues; a born-again cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized players eager for a vicarious taste of war. Over the course of this day, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years.
Poignant, riotously funny, and exquisitely heartbreaking, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a searing and powerful novel that has cemented Ben Fountain’s reputation as one of the finest writers of his generation.
Clinging blindly to a bale of Jamaican pot, Joey Perrone is plucked from the ocean by former cop and current loner Mick Stranahan. Instead of rushing to the police and reporting her husband’s crime, Joey decides to stay dead and (with Mick’s help) screw with Chaz until he screws himself.
As Joey haunts and taunts her homicidal husband, as Chaz’s cold-blooded cohorts in pollution grow uneasy about his ineptitude and increasingly erratic behavior, as Mick Stranahan discovers that six failed marriages and years of island solitude haven’t killed the reckless romantic in him, we’re taken on a hilarious, full-throttle, pure Hiaasen ride through the warped politics and mayhem of the human environment, and the human heart.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Carl Hiaasen's Bad Monkey.
Meet Frank Cauldhame. Just sixteen, and unconventional to say the least:
Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.
That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again.
It was just a stage I was going through.
The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist.
When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.
“The malaise of cubicle culture may be well-trodden comedic territory by now, but Neilan's debut skewers office life with a flourish for the grotesque.” —The Village Voice
Lauren changes boyfriends every time she changes majors and still pines for Victor who split for Europe months ago and she might or might not be writing anonymous love letter to ambivalent, hard-drinking Sean, a hopeless romantic who only has eyes for Lauren, even if he ends up in bed with half the campus, and Paul, Lauren's ex, forthrightly bisexual and whose passion masks a shrewd pragmatism. They waste time getting wasted, race from Thirsty Thursday Happy Hours to Dressed To Get Screwed parties to drinks at The Edge of the World or The Graveyard. The Rules of Attraction is a poignant, hilarious take on the death of romance.
The basis for the major motion picture starring James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, and Kate Bosworth.
Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. But all that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old car-crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket to the SPCA to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.
Darkly funny, surprisingly touching, and gory enough to satisfy even the most discerning reader, Breathers is a romantic zombie comedy (rom-zom-com, for short) that will leave you laughing, squirming, and clamoring for more.
This is the darkly hilarious odyssey of an anonymous slacker. He's a perennial couch-surfer, an aspiring writer searching for himself in spite of himself, and he's just trying to survive. But life has other things in store for the fuck-up. From being dumped by his girlfriend to getting fired for asking for a raise, from falling into a robbery to posing as a gay man to keep his job at a porno theater, the fuck-up's tragi-comedy is perfectly realized by Arthur Nersesian, who manages to create humor and suspense out of urban desperation. "Read it and howl," says Bruce Benderson (author of User), "and be glad it didn't happen to you."
New York Times-bestselling author Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they've reached the end of the line. A Long Way Down is now a major motion picture from Magnolia Pictures starring Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, and Imogen Poots.
Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.
In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.
Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
For Ben Benjamin, all has been lost--his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. Hoping to find a new direction, he enrolls in a night class called The Fundamentals of Caregiving, where he will learn to take care of people with disabilities. He is instructed about professionalism, about how to keep an emotional distance between client and provider, and about the art of inserting catheters while avoiding liability. But when Ben is assigned his first client--a tyrannical nineteen-year-old boy named Trevor, who is in the advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy--he soon discovers that the endless service checklists have done nothing to prepare him for the reality of caring for a fiercely stubborn, sexually frustrated teenager who has an ax to grind with the whole world.
Over time, the relationship between Ben and Trev, which had begun with mutual misgivings, evolves into a close friendship, and the traditional boundaries between patient and caregiver begin to blur. The bond between them strengthens as they embark on a road trip to visit Trev’s ailing father--a journey rerouted by a series of bizarre roadside attractions that propel them into an impulsive adventure disrupted by one birth, two arrests, a freakish dust storm, and a six-hundred-mile cat-and-mouse pursuit by a mysterious brown Buick Skylark. By the end of that journey, Trev has had his first taste of love, and Ben has found a new reason to love life.
Bursting with energy and filled with moments of absolute beauty, this big-hearted and inspired novel ponders life’s terrible surprises as well as what it takes to truly care for another human being.
Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a covetable wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a murderous temper, and when George loses control the result is an act of violence so shocking that both brothers are hurled into entirely new lives in which they both must seek absolution.
Harry finds himself suddenly playing parent to his brother’s two adolescent children, tumbling down the rabbit hole of Internet sex, dealing with aging parents who move through time like travelers on a fantastic voyage. As Harry builds a twenty-first-century family created by choice rather than biology, we become all the more aware of the ways in which our history, both personal and political, can become our destiny and either compel us to repeat our errors or be the catalyst for change.
May We Be Forgiven is an unnerving, funny tale of unexpected intimacies and of how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together.
Jailbird takes us into a fractured and comic, pure Vonnegut world of high crimes and misdemeanors in government—and in the heart. This wry tale follows bumbling bureaucrat Walter F. Starbuck from Harvard to the Nixon White House to the penitentiary as Watergate’s least known co-conspirator. But the humor turns dark when Vonnegut shines his spotlight on the cold hearts and calculated greed of the mighty, giving a razor-sharp edge to an unforgettable portrait of power and politics in our times.
Praise for Jailbird
“[Vonnegut] is our strongest writer . . . the most stubbornly imaginative.”—John Irving
“A gem . . . a mature, imaginative novel—possibly the best he has written . . . Jailbird is a guided tour de force of America. Take it!”—Playboy
“A profoundly humane comedy . . . Jailbird definitely mounts up on angelic wings—in its speed, in its sparkle, and in its high-flying intent.”—Chicago Tribune Book World
“Joyously inventive . . . gleams with the loony magic Vonnegut alone can achieve.”—Cosmopolitan
“Vonnegut is our great apocalyptic writer, the closest thing we’ve had to a prophet since . . . Lenny Bruce.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Vonnegut at his impressive best. . . . His imaginative leaps alone . . . are worth the price of admission. . . . His far-reaching metaphysical and cultural concerns . . . are ultimately serious and worth our contemplation.”—The Washington Post
On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a London crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly's lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence: Clive is Britain's most successful modern composer, and Vernon is a newspaper editor. Gorgeous, feisty Molly had other lovers, too, notably Julian Garmony, Foreign Secretary, a notorious right-winger tipped to be the next prime minister. In the days that follow Molly's funeral, Clive and Vernon will make a pact with consequences that neither could have foreseen…
At last, the mysterious, feared, and misunderstood being known only as “Death” talks frankly and unforgettably about his infinitely awful existence, chronicling his abusive childhood, his near-fatal addiction to Life, his excruciating time in rehab, and the ultimate triumph of his true nature. For the first time, Death reveals his affairs with the living, his maltreatment at the hands of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the ungodly truth behind the infamous “Jesus Incident,” and the loneliness of being the End of All Things.
Intense, unpredictable, and instantly engaging, Death: A Life is not only a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a universe that, despite its profound flaws, gave Death the fiery determination to carve out a successful existence on his own terms.
There are angels, and they are not beneficent or loving. But they do watch over us. They watch our lives unfold, analyzing us for repeating patterns and redundancies. When they find them, the angels simplify those patterns and remove the redundancies, and the problem that is "you" gets solved.
Carey doesn't much like that idea. As a punk living in New York City, 1977, Carey is sick and tired of watching strange kids with unnoticeable faces abduct his friends. He doesn't care about the rumors of tar-monsters in the sewers or unkillable psychopaths invading the punk scene—all he wants is to drink cheap beer and dispense ass-kickings.
Kaitlyn isn't sure what she's doing with her life. She came to Hollywood in 2013 to be a stunt woman, but last night a former teen heartthrob tried to eat her, her best friend has just gone missing, and there's an angel outside her apartment. Whatever she plans on doing with her life, it should probably happen in the few remaining minutes she has left.
There are angels. There are demons. They are the same thing. It's up to Carey and Kaitlyn to stop them. The survival of the human race is in their hands.
We are, all of us, well and truly screwed.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
In the wry and subversive further journals of Nick Twisp, we reunite with America’s most literate teen diarist as he accidentally ignites criminal mayhem; seeks union with his love, Sheeni Saunders; and still has to live as a girl to avoid the police—an absolute must-read for all fans of the oddball humor of Youth in Revolt.
Praise for Youth in Revolt
"The funniest book you'll read this year." —Los Angeles Times
"This hilariously cynical sex farce about bright teenagers combines creaky Shakespearean plot twists with real insights about growing up in the present chaos." —The Oregonian
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In a dive bar in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, takes the stage for his final show. Over the course of a single evening, Dov’s patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood. And in the dance between comic and audience, a deeper story begins to take shape as Dov confronts the decision that has shaped the course of his life—a story that will alter the lives of several of those in attendance. A poignant exploration of how people confront life’s capricious battering, A Horse Walks into a Bar is a searing story of loss and survival.
An unforgettable work of fiction that peers into the soul of a tough Midwestern American town to reveal the sad, stunted but resilient lives of its residents. Knockemstiff is a genuine entry into the literature of place.
Spanning a period from the mid-sixties to the late nineties, the linked stories that comprise Knockemstiff feature a cast of recurring characters who are irresistibly, undeniably real. A father pumps his son full of steroids so he can vicariously relive his days as a perpetual runner-up body builder. A psychotic rural recluse comes upon two siblings committing incest and feels compelled to take action. Donald Ray Pollock presents his characters and the sordid goings-on with a stern intelligence, a bracing absence of value judgments, and a refreshingly dark sense of bottom-dog humor.
When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge—a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.
Noel’s mourning his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette. Wise beyond his years, raised with a disdain for authority and an eclectic attitude toward education, he has little in common with other children and even less with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs—and what she’s never had—is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.
On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.
Together, they cook up a scheme. Crisscrossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war—and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all. . . .
No matter what your favorite holiday, you won't want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called "one of the funniest writers alive" (Economist).
David Sedaris is an exceptional reader. Alone in his apartment, he reads stories aloud to the point he has them memorized. Sometimes he fantasizes that he wrote them. Sometimes, when they’re his very favorite stories, he’ll fantasize about reading them in front of an audience and taking credit for them. The audience in these fantasies always loves him and gives him the respect he deserves.
David Sedaris didn’t write the stories in Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules . But he did read them. And he liked them enough to hand pick them for this collection of short fiction. Featuring such notable writers as Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, Jean Thompson, and Tobias Wolff, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules includes some of the most influential and talented short story writers, contemporary and classic.
Perfect for fans who suffer from Sedaris fever, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules will tide them over and provide relief.
A beautiful and complex love story between two characters, the narrator, "I," and their lover, A***, written without using any gender markers to refer to the main characters, Sphinx is a remarkable linguistic feat and paragon of experimental literature that has never been accomplished before or since in the strictly-gendered French language.
Sphinx is a landmark text in the feminist and LGBT literary canon appearing in English for the first time.
Anne Garréta (b. 1962) is a lecturer at the University of Rennes II and research professor of literature and Romance studies at Duke University. She joined the Oulipo in 2000, becoming the first member to join born after the Oulipo was founded. Garréta won France's prestigious Prix Médicis in 2002, awarded each year to an author whose "fame does not yet match their talent," for her novel Pas un jour.
Emma Ramadan is a graduate of Brown University and received her master's in literary translation from the American University of Paris. Her translation of Anne Parian's Monospace is forthcoming from La Presse. She is currently on a Fulbright Fellowship for literary translation in Morocco.
Here is the newly discovered novel by Iceberg Slim, the creator and undisputed master of African-American "street literature," a man who profoundly influenced hip hop and rap culture and probably has sold more books than any other black American author of the twentieth century (not that he saw the royalties from those sales). In many ways Iceberg Slim's most mature fictional work, Shetani's Sister relates, in taut, evocative vernacular torn straight from the street corner, the deadly duel between two complex anitheroes: Sergeant Russell Rucker, an LAPD vice detective attempting to clean up street prostitution and police corruption, and Shetani (Swahili for Satan), a veteran master pimp who controls his stable of whores with violence and daily doses of heroin.
It is 1940. France has fallen, and only a narrow strip of sea lies between Great Britain and invasion. The war could go either way and everyone must do their bit. Young copy writer Catrin Cole is drafted into the Ministry of Information to help “write women” into propaganda films—something that the men aren’t very good at.
She is quickly seconded to the Ministry’s latest endeavor: a heart-warming tale of bravery and rescue at Dunkirk. It’s all completely fabricated, of course, but what does that matter when the nation’s morale is at stake? Since call-up has stripped the industry of its brightest and best, it is the callow, the jaded and the utterly unsuitable who must make up the numbers: Ambrose Hilliard, third most popular British film-star of 1924; Edith Beadmore, Madame Tussauds wardrobe assistant turned costumier; and Arthur Frith, whose peacetime job as a catering manager has not really prepared him for his sudden, unexpected elevation to Special Military Advisor.
Now in a serious world, in a nation under siege, they must all swallow their mutual distaste, ill-will, and mistrust to unite for the common good, for King and Country, and—in one case—for better or worse....
“Evans displays a fine eye for detail and for the absurdities involved in filming. She also brilliantly evokes the disruption and dangers of wartime London. This funny, heart-warming and beautifully crafted novel is a must-read.”—Daily Mail (London)
As if all this weren’t bad enough, Peter soon learns that his automobile accident was no accident at all. Faced with the harrowing mystery of his death, Peter resolves to use his strange zombie “afterlife” to solve his own murder.
Skillfully combining the genres of horror, humor, and film noir, Zombie, Ohio weaves an enthralling and innovative tale that any fan of the current zombie craze is sure to relish. Followers of detective and horror fiction alike will find something to love about Zombie, Ohio—a tale of murder, mystery, and the walking dead.
Paddy Buckley is a grieving widower who has worked for years for Gallagher’s, a long-established—some say the best—funeral home in Dublin. One night driving home after an unexpected encounter with a client, Paddy hits a pedestrian crossing the street. He pulls over and gets out of his car, intending to do the right thing. As he bends over to help the man, he recognizes him. It’s Donal Cullen, brother of one of the most notorious mobsters in Dublin. And he’s dead.
Shocked and scared, Paddy jumps back in his car and drives away before anyone notices what’s happened.
The next morning, the Cullen family calls Gallagher’s to oversee the funeral arrangements. Paddy, to his dismay, is given the task of meeting with the grieving Vincent Cullen, Dublin’s crime boss, and Cullen’s entourage. When events go awry, Paddy is plunged into an unexpected eddy of intrigue, deceit, and treachery.
By turns a thriller, a love story, and a black comedy of ill manners, The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley is a surprising, compulsively readable debut novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Forget the cud. They want blood.
It began with a cow that just wouldn't die. It would become an epidemic that transformed Britain's livestock into sneezing, slavering, flesh-craving four-legged zombies.
And if that wasn't bad enough, the fate of the nation seems to rest on the shoulders of three unlikely heroes: an abattoir worker whose love life is non-existent thanks to the stench of death that clings to him, a teenage vegan with eczema and a weird crush on his maths teacher, and an inept journalist who wouldn't recognize a scoop if she tripped over one.
As the nation descends into chaos, can they pool their resources, unlock a cure, and save the world?
One outcome . . .
Yup, we're screwed.
So, when on New Year's morning she shuffles out to her backyard garden to plant a Norfolk pine, she is wholly unprepared for what happens next.
Amy falls down.
A simple accident, as a result of which something happens, and then something else, and then a number of different things, all as unpredictable as an eight-ball break. At first the changes are small, but as these small events carom off one another, Amy's life changes in ways that range from ridiculous to frightening to profound.
This most reluctant of adventurers is dragged and propelled by train, plane, and automobile through an outlandish series of antic media events on her way to becoming--to her horror--a kind of celebrity. And along the way, as the numbness begins to wear off, she comes up against something she has avoided all her life: her future, that "sleeping monster, not to be poked."
Jincy Willett's Amy Falls Down explores, through the experience of one character, the role that accident plays in all our lives. "You turn a corner and beasts break into arias, gunfire erupts, waking a hundred families, starting a hundred different conversations. You crack your head open and three thousand miles away a stranger with Asperger's jump-starts your career."
We are all like Amy. We are all wholly unprepared for what happens next.
Also, there's a basset hound.
An NPR Best Book of 2013
Set during the glorious days of the Bush Empire before they finally invaded and killed irony, The Writer’s Cut follows Stanley Hay, a joke writer. He has a girlfriend, a writing partner and a career going nowhere in particular. Wisecracking, ambitious and horny, Stanley decides that he is going to change that by writing a novel. This is where things start to spiral out of control.
Caught up in the excitement Stanley falsely confesses that the novel will be a kiss-and-tell (a kiss and sell?) featuring Hollywood’s most famous and glamorous actresses. Before long expectations are going through the roof, Stanley is a celebrity in his own right and he’s living the LA highlife. There’s only one little problem...
Funny and pointed, The Writer’s Cut is a manic satirical ride through the booze and sex fuelled world of Tinseltown from our one of the world’s best loved comedians.
One of the great collections, the range found here is impressive: from new journalism to absurd parodies and theatrical sketches; from absurd short riffs to Southern’s most classic and lyrical early works of fiction. “Red-Dirt Marijuana,” the insightful, funny, and moving story of the relationship between a white boy and a black man, is paired with the horrific knock-down, drag-out of “Razor Fight.” One of the most scandalous stories ever published, “The Blood of a Wig,” combines an insider’s look at the “Quality Lit” biz, the drug underground of Greenwich Village, and a vision of necrophilia involving one of America’s most sacred cows. There is an imaginary encounter between Freud and Kafka in “Apartment to Exchange,” a skewering of the liberal white man and his efforts to befriend a black jazz musician in “You’re Too Hip, Baby,” an exploration of race relations, moonshine, and the baton-twirling subculture in the personal essay “Twirling at Ole Miss” (identified by Tom Wolfe as the first instance of “New Journalism”), and many more pieces with Southern’s signature dark satire, unconventional storylines, and pitch-perfect dialogue. Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes is a wild, funny, and dazzlingly diverse trip through the American culture of the 1950s and 1960s. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Terry Southern including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.
Facing new and old monsters alike, Pietro proves he's one of the crime genre's most exciting new heroes, in this darkly funny and lightning-paced sequel to Josh Bazell's bestselling debut.
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
Welcome to the world of Sellevision, America's premier retail broadcasting network. When Max Andrews, the much loved and handsome (that is, lonely and gay) host of a "Toys for Tots" segment, accidentally exposes himself in front of millions of kids, Sellevision faces its first big scandal. As Max struggles to find a new job in television, the popular and perky host Peggy Jean Smythe is receiving sinister emails from a stalker. Popping pills and drinking heavily, she fails to notice that her husband is spending a lot of time with the young babysitter who lives next door. Then there's Leigh, whose affair with married Sellevision boss Howard Toast is going nowhere until she announces their relationship on air. A blistering satire of our overcharged, scandal-obsessed world, Sellevision is "an absolute howl . . . wicked fun" (New York Daily News).
Along the way, they learn the horrific origin of Snow’s terrible curse—a powerful yet tragic monster intent on seeking revenge against its selfish creator, King Francis, and all of humanity. Meanwhile, a group of sadistic Ascendio soldiers captures the allies, believing them to be responsible for the collapse of their kingdom.Yet even darker forces conspire against Adara and her fellow survivors. Snow has conjured werewolf-zombie hybrids known as Horrorhounds to pursue them. As well, the invisible man known as Coyn and the murderous Hepo—now a werewolf—emerge from the ashes of Aspire to seek vengeance of their own.
In the later years of her life, widow and grandmother Pearl decides to return to East Texas and move in with her sister, Wanda Gay—despite the fact that the two have never agreed on anything. (It is no wonder that brother Frank preferred the relative quiet of a prison cell.) A particular bone of contention seems to be the perceived saintliness or demonic nature of their late mother, Eugenia Fane. An unbending, overbearing, man-hating matriarch who not-so-stoically endured her own mother, Eugenia set a standard that the McAlister women would find nearly impossible—and quite mad—to try to live up to. Through the disputed remembrances, distortions, and wound saltings of Wanda Gay and Pearl, the twisted personal history of the McAlister dynasty comes to light, revealing what it is exactly that makes a family endure in spite of itself.
Like Faulkner in a funhouse, in Mother of Pearl, acclaimed author Edward Swift (Splendora) gives readers an extraordinary Southern gothic tale filled with unbridled dark humor, outrageous incidents, and wildly unforgettable characters.
An instant classic upon its initial publication, P.S. Your Cat is Dead received widespread critical acclaim and near fanatical reader devotion. The stage version of the novel was equally successful and there are still over 200 new productions of it staged every year. Now, for the first time in a decade, James Kirkwood's much-loved black humor comic novel of manners and escalating disaster returns to bewitch and beguile a new generation.
June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America's population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond. Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward "the olds" and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents' entitlement programs.
But on that June 12th, everything changed: a massive earthquake devastated Los Angeles, and the government, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, was unable to respond.
The fallout from the earthquake sets in motion a sweeping novel of ideas that pits national hope for the future against assurances from the past and is peopled by a memorable cast of refugees and billionaires, presidents and revolutionaries, all struggling to find their way. In 2030, Albert Brooks' all-too-believable, dystopian imagining of where today's challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading.
King B., the world’s most admired filmmaker—winner of a string of Oscars and awards from Cannes to Venice—takes on a new project: the most expensive, star-studded, high-quality, X-rated film ever made. He joins forces with producer Sid Krassman, who’s made a fortune with B movies, and Angela Sterling, a misunderstood sex symbol who longs to do “serious” work. After convincing the principality of Liechtenstein to host the production in exchange for a distribution exclusive to boost tourism, King B. and Krassman arrive with cast and crew to make The Faces of Love. While keeping the nature of the film secret from American bankers, King B. lines up a host of European and American big-name stars. But word leaks out to the local religious groups and possibly even the Vatican. Between the Cardinal’s attempts to sabotage production and the big egos and even bigger libidos behind the scenes, the enterprise plummets into hilarious anarchy. Blue Movie is comic eroticism at its best—populated by over-the-top characters, memorable dialogue, and perverse vignettes, and colored by razor-sharp insights into the film industry. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Terry Southern including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.