Delicious and dangerous, this collection of fairy tales is a glorious tribute to women with ‘do what thou wilt’ bravado – those who dare to wear the breeches. They shed their female garb (and modesty) and don the male’s role to save king, country, kin, and their own lives or for revenge, love, power and a good time. Shahrukh Husain’s tales from around the world – riddles, battle triumphs, bawdy and moving stories – prove that no heroine, or hero, is as exciting and daring as the irresitible cross-dresser of fairy tales.
This collection of wartime stories includes some of the finest writers of a generation. War had traditionally been seen as a masculine occupation, but these stories show how women were equal if different participants. Here, war is less about progress on the frontline of battle than about the daily struggle to keep homes, families and relationships alive; to snatch pleasure from danger, and strength from shared experience. The stories are about saying goodbye to husbands, lovers, brothers and sons – and sometimes years later trying to remake their lives anew. By turn comical, stoical, compassionate, angry and subversive, these intensely individual voices bring a human dimension to the momentous events that reverberated around them and each opens a window on to a hidden landscape of war.
Writers include: Jean Rhys, Beryl Bainbridge, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Smith, Rosamond Lehmann, Barbara Pym, Angela Thirkell, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Dorothy Parker, Doris Lessing, Olivia Manning, Rose Macaulay and Stevie Smith
Laura is happily married, a mother and a successful novelist. Although she is prey to night terrors, she is adept at smoothing the disorder of reality into controlled prose. Walking Naked telescopes the whole of Laura’s life- childhood, marriages, triumphs and disappointments- into a day in which the past and present converge. It begins with a game of tennis played for duty rather than amusement and progresses, via an afternoon party of old friends and jaded emotions, to a bewildering visit to Laura’s son, imprisoned on a drugs’ charge. At its close, the possibility of death within the family hauls unresolved conflicts centre stage and Laura strips herself of the posturing and self-deceit with which she has cloaked her vulnerability.
With the ferocity of a mother tiger defending her cubs, fourteen-year-old Emmie Bean watches over her household: her amiable drunken father, her gaunt, evangelical old grandmother, her beautiful, wayward sister Alice and most precious of all, eight-year-old Oliver, who has the countenance of an angel and the ethical sense of a cobra. But with the arrival of new neighbours, the outside world intrudes into the isolated privacy of family life and Emmie’s kingdom is no longer secure. Combining the guile of a young child with the desperation of adolescence, Emmie fights to stave off the changes- and the revelations- that growing up necessarily brings. Powerful, heart-rending, but never sentimental, Tortoise by Candlelight is a captivating excursion into the landscape of youth.
This rich selection of Willa Cather’s short fiction is drawn from every period of her writing life, and mixes the little known with the much anthologised. Here we have a range of stories from short, vivid sketches to novellas. They tell of the bitter lives of Nebraskan immigrants, and of the pull between provincial America and the cosmopolitan world of art; some of the most poignant deal with the challenges and dilemmas for the American artist. Her marvellous late stories are charged with beautifully controlled feeling, and eloquently describe the tensions and complications of family life. Cather also let herself go in these stories in ways she did not in the longer fiction, with harsh satires of New York, chilling glimpses of the supernatural, and strong expressions of sexual feeling. These are stories that add immeasurably to our perception of Cather’s range and complexity.
‘I want to know if men realise when they are insane. Sometimes I think that my brain cannot hold together, it is filled with too much horror – too much despair . . . I cannot sleep, I cannot close my eyes without seeing his damned face. If only it had been a dream.’
In ‘The Doll’, a waterlogged notebook is washed ashore. Its pages tell a dark story of obsession and jealousy. But the fate of its narrator is a mystery.
Most of the stories in this haunting collection were written early in Daphne du Maurier’s career – when she was still in her early twenties – yet they display her mastery of atmosphere, tension and intrigue and reveal a
cynicism far beyond her years.
She wrote exciting plots, she was highly skilled at arousing suspense, and she was, too, a writer of fearless originality – Guardian
I’m a short story addict, both reading and writing them, and I always keep hoping for the perfect story.’ (Janet Frame to Tim Curnow, January 1984)
THE DAYLIGHT AND THE DUST is the most comprehensive selection of Janet Frame’s stories ever published, taken from the four different collections released during her lifetime and featuring many of her best stories. Written over four decades, they come from her classic prize-winning collection THE LAGOON AND OTHER STORIES, first published in 1952, right up to the volume YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE HUMAN HEART, published in the 1980s. This new selection also includes five works that have not been collected before.
Janet Frame’s versatility dazzles. Her themes range from childhood to old age to death and beyond. Within the pages of one book the reader is transported from small town New Zealand to inner-city London, and from realism to fantasy.
This volume offers the most comprehensive collection of Janet Frame’s unique and powerful writing.
The apathy of Sunday lay upon the streets. Houses were closed, withdrawn.
“They don’t know,” he thought, “those people inside, how one gesture of mine, now, at this minute, might alter their world. A knock on the door, and someone answers – a woman yawning, an old man in carpet slippers, a child sent by its parents in irritation; and according to what I will, what I decide, their whole future will be decided . . . Sudden murder. Theft. Fire.” It was as simple as that.’
In this collection of suspenseful tales in which fantasies, murderous dreams and half-forgotten worlds are exposed, Daphne du Maurier explores the boundaries of reality and imagination. Her characters are caught at those moments when the delicate link between reason and emotion has been stretched to the breaking point. Often chilling, sometimes poignant, these stories display the full range of Daphne du Maurier’s considerable talent.
The latest stunning collection of short stories, including the winning entry of the 2011 Asham Short Stories Award, which was set up 1995 to encourage and promote new writing. It is the only short story competition whose winners and runners-up are published alongside some of our best known women writers. Past collections have included specially commissioned stories by Carol Shields, Michele Roberts, Barbara Trapido, Patricia Duncker, Helen Simpson, Helen Dunmore, Deborah Moggach. Margaret Atwood and A.L. Kennedy.
This year’s theme is Ghosts and Gothic and will be judged by authors Sarah Waters and Polly Samson and Virago publisher Lennie Goodings.
A brother and sister, shattered by the horrors of war, find solace in a tender, incestuous ‘marriage’. A wife, bored and rancorous, stitches a widow’s quilt. An old level-crossing keeper watches over his speechless, disfigured niece. In this magnificent selection of her stories, ranging from 1932 to 1977, Sylvia Townsend Warner casts a compassionate but piercing eye on the oddities of love. There’s the joyously farcical story of the mouse and the four-poster bed, the strange fugue of a sad woman and her doppelganger cat, the composer unexpectedly spending an afternoon ‘living for others’. And finally, there’s the skein of stories reporting on the events of Elfland, precise, witty and strange. Readers who know this author’s work will be delighted, while newcomers will find the perfect introduction to a writer of incomparable style and substance.
A volume of Rebecca West’s short fiction. Including the novella “The Only Poet”, found amongst her papers after her death, this selection comprises unpublished work and published stories gathered from British and American journals and periodicals.
Virago Press and the Asham Award, the foremost prize for stories by women, present a collection of tales to send you to places you’ve never been before . . .
Here are tales of people who travel far and those who stay at home and dream; of strange things in suitcases; of roads that should not have been taken; of exotic cities and shabby towns. Some are running away, and some are travelling to come home.
With new stories from well-known writers, including Helen Dunmore, and an Angela Carter fable, this is a book to tuck in your backpack, your valise or to enjoy, deep in your armchair, for no one can fail to be hooked by those beguiling words: once upon a time there was a traveller . . .