Throughout Proust’s life, nine of his short stories remained unseen – the writer never spoke of them. Why did he choose not to publish them along with the others? One possible answer is that he was developing his themes in preparation for his masterpiece, ‘In Search of Lost Time’; another is that the stories were too audacious – too near to life – for the censorious society of the time. In these stories we find an intimate picture of a young author full of darkness and melancholy, longing to reveal his true self to the world.
David Mountolive, a young English diplomat, has been obsessed with Egypt ever since a youthful love affair. Returning to Alexandria as British Ambassador just before World War Two, he unravels an intricate political and religious conspiracy – one that connects a web of wildly different characters, including an exiled schoolteacher and glamorous Egyptian couple. Mountolive gradually exposes the sinister underbelly of these tangled relationships, their deceptions and betrayals mirroring the explosive turmoil of the modern Middle East – and the result is Durrell’s most cinematic masterpiece.
They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died. One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son’s body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. ‘The Death of Vivek Oji’ transports us to the day of Vivek’s birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family’s struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself.
Ullis went to the bathroom and carefully unfolded the business card and placed it on the sink. Then he rolled up a note and snorted the last of his wife’s ashes. Following the death of his wife, Dominic Ullis escapes to Bombay in search of oblivion and a dangerous new drug, Meow Meow. So begins a glorious weekend of misadventure as he tours the teeming, kaleidoscopic city from its sleek eyries of high-capital to the piss-stained streets, encountering a cast with their own stories to tell, but none of whom Ullis – his faculties ever distorted – is quite sure he can trust.
An epidemic of insomnia has left America crippled with exhaustion. Thankfully the Slumber Corps agency provides a lifeline, transfusing sleep to sufferers from healthy volunteers. Recruitment manager Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dori was one of the first victims of the disaster, has spent the last seven years enlisting new donors. But when she meets the mysterious Donor Y and Baby A – whose sleep can be universally accepted – her faith in the organisation and in her own motives begins to unravel.