Literary

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Loitering with Intent (New Directions Classic)

by Muriel Spark

Where does art start or reality end? Happily loitering about London, c. 1949, with the intent of gathering material for her writing, Fleur Talbot finds a job “on the grubby edge of the literary world” at...


The Night Before Christmas (New Directions Pearls)

by Nikolai Gogol & Constance Garnett

Nikolai Gogol's hilarious and macabre tale of a Christmas Eve with a devil and a romantic twist. It is the night before Christmas and devilry is afoot. The devil steals the moon and hides it in his pocket. He...


Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico (New Directions Pearls)

by Javier Marias & Esther Allen

A gem of a Marías story: Elvis and his entourage abandon their translator in a seedy cantina full of enraged criminals. “It all happened because of Elvis Presley.” Elvis, down south of the border to film...


Ask Alice: A Novel

by D. J. Taylor

A literary tour-de-force ranging from the American frontier to Edwardian England and the decadent carousing of the bright young people of London’s Jazz Age. 1904. A pretty young woman travels apprehensively...


Last Orders

James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction 1996

by Graham Swift

Four men gather in a London pub. They have taken it upon themselves to carry out the last orders of Jack Dodds, master butcher, and deliver his ashes to the sea. As they drive towards the fulfillment of their...


Ever After

by Graham Swift

Dazzling in its structure and shattering in its emotional force, Graham Swift's Ever After spans two centuries and settings from the adulterous bedrooms of postwar Paris to the contemporary entanglements in...


Out of This World

by Graham Swift

Out of This World interweaves the history of a blighted family with the tragic and ludicrous history of the twentieth century. Its alternating narrators are a father and daughter--each obsessed with the other...


The Sweet-Shop Owner

by Graham Swift

The Sweet-Shop Owner is set during a single June day in the life of an outwardly unremarkable man whose inner world proves to be exceptionally resonant. As he tends to his customers, Willy Chapman, the sweet-shop...


Waterland

by Graham Swift

Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the...


Learning to Swim: And Other Stories

by Graham Swift

The men and women in these spare, Kafkaesque stories are engaged in struggles that are no less brutal because they are fought by proxy. In Graham Swift's taut prose, these quiet combative relationships--between...


Shuttlecock

by Graham Swift

Prentis, the narrator of this nightmarish novel, catalogs "dead crimes" for a branch of the London Police Department and suspects that he is going crazy. His files keep vanishing. His boss subjects him to cryptic...


Lawless: A Novel Based on a True Story

by Matt Bondurant

With a Foreword by Director John Hillcoat

Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and two granduncles, Lawless is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a...


Boonville

by Robert Mailer Anderson

Surrounded by misfits, rednecks, and counterculture burnouts, John Gibson—the reluctant heir of an alcoholic grandmother—and Sarah McKay—a commune-reared "hippie-by-association"—search for self and community...


Memories of the Ford Administration: A Novel

by John Updike

When historian Alfred “Alf” Clayton is invited by an academic journal to record his impressions of the Gerald R. Ford Administration (1974–77), he recalls not the political events of the time but rather...


When She Woke: A Novel

by Hillary Jordan

Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan's provocative new novel, When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church...


Trust Me: Short Stories

by John Updike

The theme of trust, betrayed or fulfilled, runs through this collection of short stories: Parents lead children into peril, husbands abandon wives, wives manipulate husbands, and time undermines all. Love pangs,...


Marry Me: A Romance

by John Updike

Marry Me is subtitled “A Romance” because, in the author’s words, “people don’t act like that anymore.” The time is 1962, and the place is a fiefdom of Camelot called Greenwood, Connecticut. Jerry...


The Music School: Short Stories

by John Updike

The Music School is a place of learning, in which a sheltered South Dakota boy meets his roommate at Harvard, a rebel with whom he will have a violent—and ambiguous—physical encounter; a warring married...


Museums and Women: And Other Stories

by John Updike

Museums and Women gathers twenty-nine short stories from the 1960s and early 1970s. It is John Updike’s most various collection, a book as full of departures and surprises as the historical period that produced...


Torch

by Cheryl Strayed

In her debut novel, Torch, bestselling author Cheryl Strayed weaves a searing and luminous tale of a family's grief after unexpected loss. "Work hard. Do good. Be incredible!" is the advice Teresa Rae Wood shares...