In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world’s in meltdown – and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time. This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common? Summer.
Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back. But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?
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.
William Trevor is one of the most renowned figures in contemporary literature, described as ‘the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language’ by the New Yorker and acclaimed for his haunting and profound insights into the human heart. This title offers a collection of his short fiction.
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.
Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.
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.
As she walks out of her marriage, a woman remembers the day her husband rescued a boy from drowning. A blind man on his wedding day celebrates the pursuit of love. And a young man leaves prison with only one desire – to see his son again. Kit de Waal’s characters light up the page in vivid stories of thwarted desire, love and loss. With power and precision, humanity and insight, ‘Supporting Cast’ captures the extraordinary moments in our ordinary lives, and the darkness and the joy of the everyday.
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.