Spare, taut and told with flashes of pitch-black humour, the short stories of Norwegian master Kjell Askildsen capture all the strangeness of modern existence. In this selection of tales, spanning the whole of his brilliant career, unnerving encounters occur, lonely individuals try to connect, families and relationships are fractured, and we are confronted by the fragility and absurdity of life.
Frantz Fanon’s seminal text was immediately acclaimed as a classic of black liberationalist writing. Fanon’s descriptions of the feelings of inadequacy and dependence experienced by people of colour in a white world, ‘the crippled colonial mentalities of the oppressed’, are as salient and as compelling as ever.
One of the most popular American writers of the twentieth century, O. Henry’s comic eye and unique, playful approach to the rough material of life’s realities are unmatched. These stories, which range from the cattle-lands of Texas to the bars of New York, highlight the joys of avoiding habit and convention, and demonstrate O. Henry’s mastery of speech and place.
The quarter century or so before the outbreak of the First World War saw an extraordinary boom in the popularity and quality of short stories in Britain. Fuelled by a large new magazine readership and vigorous competition to acquire new stories and develop the careers of some of our greatest writers, these years were ones where the normal rule-of-thumb (novels sell, short stories don’t) was inverted.This was the era of Sherlock Holmes, of Kipling’s most famous stories, of M. R. James, Katherine Mansfield and Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’.
The Cold War is over and retired secret servant Tim Cranmer has been put out to pasture, spending his days making wine on his Somerset estate. But then he discovers that his former double agent Larry – dreamer, dissolute, philanderer and disloyal friend – has vanished, along with Tim’s mistress. As their trail takes him to the lawless wilds of Russia and the North Caucasus, he is forced to question everything he stood for.
The murdered man had been an agent – once, long ago. But George Smiley’s superiors at the Secret Service want to see the crime buried, not solved. Smiley will not leave it at that, not when it might lead him all the way to Karla, the elusive Soviet spymaster – ‘Smiley’s People’ is a thrilling confrontation between one of the most famous spies in all fiction and his Cold War rival, Karla.