The Books That Devoured My Father


Afonso Cruz - 2010
    In the office, he tended to read rather than work, and, one day, became so immersed in a book that he got lost and disappeared completely. That, at least, is the version given to Vivaldo's son, Elias, by his grandmother. One day, Elias sets off, like a modern-day Telemachus, in search of the father he never knew. His journey takes him through the plots of many classic novels, replete with murders, all-consuming passions, wild beasts and other literary perils. The Book that Devoured my Father is, at once, a celebration of filial love, friendship and literature.

The Temptation of Jack Orkney and Other Stories


Doris Lessing - 1972
    Two marriages, both middle class, liberal and 'rather literary', share a shocking flaw, a secret 'cancer'. A young, beautiful woman from a working class family is courted by a very eligible, very upmarket man. An ageing actress falls in love for the first time but can only express her feelings through her stage performances because her happily married lover is unobtainable. A dedicated, lifelong rationalist is tempted, after the death of his father, by the comforts of religious belief. In this magnificent collection of stories, which spans four decades, Doris Lessing's unique gift for observation, her wit, her compassion and remarkable ability to illuminate the complexities of human life are all remarkably displayed.

Live Girls


Beth Nugent - 1996
    Her only friend is Jerome, an anorexic drag queen who searches for love among the sailors.As Catherine and Jerome set out for Hollywood, we witness -with equal horror and fascination -- their desperate attempt to find redemption in a world that offers them so little.In haunting, stylized prose, Nugent takes us deep into her protagonist's psyche while painting a bizarre -- yet oddly familiar -- picture of a dissociated, disconnected America. Live Girls is a tour de force that will leave no one who reads it unshaken.From the Hardcover edition.

Knowledge of Hell


António Lobo Antunes - 1980
    The reader joins that narrator on a journey, both real and phantasmagorical, from his Algarve vacation back to Lisbon and the mental-hospital job he hates. In the course of one long day and evening, he carries on an imaginary conversation with his daughter Joanna, observes with surreal vision the bleak countryside of his nation, recalls the horrors of his involuntary role in the suppression of Angolan independence, and curses the charlatanism of contemporary psychiatric "advances" that destroy rather than heal.

Macario


B. Traven - 1950
    He suffers from a gnawing poverty which never quite kills, but also never quite permits any visible change or hope. Despite his acceptance of his colorless existence, he has a fantasy which becomes a tacit means of survival, nourishing him far more than does his meager daily diet. This book is #34 in the Cervantes & Co. Spanish Classics series.

The Finger


William S. Burroughs - 2018
    Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.

The Mandarin and Other Stories


Eça de Queirós - 1880
    In The Mandarin he turns his satirical eye on the sin of avarice and asks the following question: In the depths of China there lives a mandarin who is richer than any king spoken of in fable or in history. You know nothing about him, not his name, his face or the silks that he wears. In order for you to inherit his limitless wealth, all you have to do is to ring the bell placed on a book by your side. In that remote corner of Mongolia, he will utter a single sigh. He will then be a corpse, and at your feet you will see gold beyond the dreams of avarice. Mortal reader, will you ring the bell?’ When Teodoro, our timid, lowly narrator, says 'Yes’, he finds that fabulous wealth brings with it unexpected problems. The three very different stories that complete the collection – 'The Idiosyncrasies of a Young Blonde Woman’, 'The Hanged Man’ and 'Jose Matas’ – are all tales of obsessive love, each told with Eca's irrepressible wit and originality. “A brilliant mischievous essay in fantasy chinoiserie, irreverently subverting the trope, created half a century earlier by Balzac in La Peau de chagrin, of the Oriental curse masquerading as a blessing. In the same Dedalus collection of Eca's short fiction lies a late gem,'Jose Matias', a love story told at a funeral by a Hegelian philosopher, in which the issue of the narrator's own relationship with reality adds a comically ambiguous layer to the tale." Jonathan Keates in The Times Literary Supplement

Death with Interruptions


José Saramago - 2005
    This, of course, causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially mass celebration. Flags are hung out on balconies; people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home—families are left to care for the permanently dying; life-insurance policies become meaningless; and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots. Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small "d," became human and were to fall in love?

The Neighborhood


Gonçalo M. Tavares - 2007
    For award-winning Portuguese author Gonçalo M. Tavares, six favorite senhores —“Misters” Calvino, Valéry, Juarroz, Kraus, Walser, and Henri—haunt the sidewalks, cafes, and back alleys of a fictive Lisbon bairro.Readers will appreciate the homages to Italian fabulist Italo Calvino, French poet and critic Paul Valéry, Argentinean poet Roberto Juarroz, Swiss modernist Robert Walser, Austrian writer and satirist Karl Kraus, and Belgian neosurrealist Henri Michaux, but Tavares’s deceptively simple style appeals on many levels. In this imaginative territory, for instance, diminutive Mister Valéry jumps up and down—satisfied to be as tall as his fellow men if “only for a shorter while.” His more egocentric neighbor, Mister Henri, philosophizes about the virtues of absinthe, acknowledging the drink can make equally for a better or worse reality.Enhancing each story are the drawings of Rachel Caiano, whose minimalist depictions mirror the essence of the personal, logical, and political absurdities that intrigue in these simple yet profound tales.When we visit Tavares’s neighborhood, its building blocks made of books, we are also visiting a version of ourselves. —Philip Graham, from the foreword

Unready to Wear (The Galaxy Project)


Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - 1953
    Vonnegut’s absolute familiarity with science fiction tropes and his mocking contempt for them are well displayed in a story which shifts between tragic cartoon and straightforward projection. His highly evolved humans in an indeterminate future have become body-transcending spirits and Vonnegut handles this vaporous situation with deadpan comedy suspended over unspeakable loss, a characteristic technique. In its fluidity--the story is parody masked as extrapolation; no, it is a horror story in the form of a parody. This kind of cross-category narrative attack was often used by Vonnegut and makes him difficult to label; he is too serious to be funny, too absurd (as in jailbreak or as in the concept of Billy Pilgrim’s alien Tralmalfadorians) to be taken as realism. Vonnegut when he wrote this story at 30 was still trying to find his voice, identify his material; as a laboratory of his enveloping subject matter and technique UNREADY TO WEAR is particularly interesting and disturbing, demonstrating that Vonnegut could have gone in any number of directions and perhaps by deliberately failing to make a decision, found his voice through indeterminacy. It is as a poet of indeterminacy then that Vonnegut went on to write his most famous novel, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE.ABOUT THE AUTHORKurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is one of the most beloved American writers of the twentieth century. Vonnegut's audience increased steadily since his first five pieces in the 1950s and grew from there. His 1968 novel Slaughterhouse-Five has become a canonic war novel with Joseph Heller's Catch-22 to form the truest and darkest of what came from World War II.Vonnegut began his career as a science fiction writer, and his early novels--Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan--were categorized as such even as they appealed to an audience far beyond the reach of the category. In the 1960s, Vonnegut became closely associated with the Baby Boomer generation, a writer on that side, so to speak.Now that Vonnegut's work has been studied as a large body of work, it has been more deeply understood and unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work so synergistic. It seems clear that the more of Vonnegut's work you read, the more it resonates and the more you wish to read. Scholars believe that Vonnegut's reputation (like Mark Twain's) will grow steadily through the decades as his work continues to increase in relevance and new connections are formed, new insights made.ABOUT THE SERIESHorace Gold led GALAXY magazine from its first issue dated October 1950 to science fiction’s most admired, widely circulated and influential magazine throughout its initial decade. Its legendary importance came from publication of full length novels, novellas and novelettes. GALAXY published nearly every giant in the science fiction field.The Galaxy Project is a selection of the best of GALAXY with new forewords by some of today’s best science fiction writers. The initial selections in alphabetical order include work by Ray Bradbury, Frederic Brown, Lester del Rey, Robert A. Heinlein, Damon Knight, C. M. Kornbluth, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Frederik Pohl, Robert Scheckley, Robert Silverberg, William Tenn (Phillip Klass) and Kurt Vonnegut with new Forewords by Paul di Filippo, David Drake, John Lutz, Barry Malzberg and Robert Silverberg. The Galaxy Project is committed to publishing new work in the spirit GALAXY magazine and its founding editor Horace Gold.

Fahrenheit 451


Ray Bradbury - 2011
    Dashing from the basement to the stacks to track down half-remembered quotations and typing at furious speed, in that short time he produced the first draft of an extraordinary novel. Serialised, widely published, adapted for film, theatre and even opera, the book, as Bradbury wrote, ‘seems to have a life that goes on recreating itself’.Fahrenheit 451 envisages a dystopian future in which the job of firemen is to seek out books, and burn them. Montag is a fireman who enjoys his job, wearing ‘the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame.’ He agrees with his boss who tells him how much happier people are now, watching endless television at high volume, than when they read books and thought for themselves. Then one night, Montag meets a young girl with ‘unconventional’ habits – walking at night, collecting butterflies and tasting rain. Something about the girl forces Montag to look at his world differently: children in cars running down pedestrians for fun, his wife overdosing regularly on sleeping pills, and his neighbour proud that her children would ‘just as soon kick as kiss me’. Montag realises that ‘we have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing.’ Such subversive thoughts will lead Montag to rebel – and rebellion has terrible consequences.Bradbury’s bleak admonitory vision is not of a tyrannical government, but of people who did this to themselves. His fictional dystopia began with a wave of political correctness that censored and silenced uncomfortable opinions; then interactive, reality TV swamped critical thought; and finally, each individual’s ‘right’ to the pursuit of happiness removed any sense of responsibility and even emotion itself. Over 60 years on, the fears raised by Fahrenheit 451 have not lessened. Yet at the book’s heart is a profound optimism: books are symbolic of humankind’s capacity for reflection and understanding, which can save us from our equally powerful capacity for self-destruction. This edition includes a new introduction by science-fiction writer Michael Moorcock and a series of astonishingly life-like illustrations by Sam Weber, which perfectly capture the novel’s haunting atmosphere.

The Theory of Light and Matter


Andrew Porter - 2008
    In idyllic suburbs across the country, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, narrators struggle to find meaning or value in their lives because of (or in spite of) something that has happened in their pasts. In Hole, a young man reconstructs the memory of his childhood friend's deadly fall. In The Theory of Light and Matter, a woman second-guesses her choice between a soul mate and a comfortable one. Memories erode as Porter's characters struggle to determine what has happened to their loved ones and whether or not they are responsible. Children and teenagers carry heavy burdens in these stories: in River Dog, the narrator cannot fully remember a drunken party where he suspects his older brother assaulted a classmate; in Azul, a childless couple, craving the affection of an exchange student, fails to set the boundaries that would keep him safe; and in Departure, a suburban teenage boy fascinated with the Amish makes a futile attempt to date a girl he can never be close to. Memory often replaces absence in these stories as characters reconstruct the events of their pasts in an attempt to understand what they have chosen to keep. These struggles lead to an array of secretive and escapist behavior as the characters, united by middle-class social pressures, try to maintain a sense of order in their lives. Drawing on the tradition of John Cheever, these stories recall and revisit the landscape of American suburbia through the lens of a new generation.

The Time Machine and Other Stories


H.G. Wells - 1958
    Includes the stories: The Time Machine, The Empire of the Ants, The Country of the Blind, The Man Who Could Work Miracles.

Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories


John Updike - 1961
    The triumphant collection of short stories by America's most acclaimed novelist.

Lucinella


Lore Segal - 1976
    John Garnder called it “magical.” William Gass said it was “witty, elegant, beautiful.” Stanley Elkin called it “a shamelessly wonderful novel, so flawless one feels civilized reading it.” It's been a cult classic ever since, and appears here in its full, original text, as fresh as ever: the story of the whimsical New York poet Lucinella and her adventures among the literati. It starts at Yaddo writers colony, where life is idyllic, meals are served to you in your rooms, and cocktails are ready at day's end … and still the writers complain and compete. Then it moves back to New York City, where the pampered once again face reality, and wonder: Will a different husband … or the right publisher … or the perfect filing system … put life in order? Lucinella and her circle feel lacking and keep looking, busily going to parties and watching one another 's lives closely for signs of happiness, love and despair. Segal depicts it all with a perfect blend of love and malice. And at the center is Lucinella herself, so full of humanity and frailty that these divertissements do her to death. “Here,” as Cynthia Ozick says, “is the enchanted microcosm, the laughter of mortality.”The Contemporary Art of the Novella series is designed to highlight work by major authors from around the world. In most instances, as with Imre Kertész, it showcases work never before published; in others, books are reprised that should never have gone out of print. It is intended that the series feature many well-known authors and some exciting new discoveries. And as with the original series, The Art of the Novella, each book is a beautifully packaged and inexpensive volume meant to celebrate the form and its practitioners.