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Selected Stories

Selected Stories

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.
Only Poet And Other Stories

Only Poet And Other Stories

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 Including the novella “The Only Poet”, found amongst her papers after her death, this selection comprises unpublished work and published stories gathered from British and American journals and periodicals.
Once Upon a Time There Was a Traveller

Once Upon a Time There Was a Traveller

by Various
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 . . .
Nothing that Meets the Eye

Nothing that Meets the Eye

By the bestselling author of The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and Strangers on a Train

‘These tales should not be glanced at by those with even the slightest history of poor mental health . . . Highsmith’s dark humour oozes through this new collection like a particularly delicious poison’ Andrew Wilson, Independent on Sunday

This volume of stories spans almost fifty years of Highsmith’s career, allowing us to see how she evolved from a struggling freelance writer in New York to one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

The stories assembled in Nothing That Meets the Eye, written between 1938 and 1982, are vintage Highsmith: a gigolo-like psychopath preys on unfulfilled career women; a lonely spinster’s fragile hold on reality is tethered to the bottle; an estranged postal worker invents homicidal fantasies about his coworkers. While some stories anticipate the diabolical narratives of the Ripley novels, others possess a sweetness that forces us to see the author in a new light.

These are suspenseful, playful, taut and psychologically gripping stories, evidence of an extraordinary talent.
Murder In The Dark

Murder In The Dark

By the author of THE HANDMAID’S TALE and ALIAS GRACE

A beautifully bizarre assortment of short stories and prose poems. Writing on an eclectic range of subjects from ‘Bread’ and ‘Strawberries’, to ‘Fainting’ and ‘Women’s Novels’, Margaret Atwood brings her astonishing world view to the comings and goings of ordinary life. The pretentious male chef is taken down a peg, a gang of cynical five year olds concoct a poisonous brew; and knowing when to stop is of deadly importance in a game of Murder in the Dark.

*
Praise for Murder in the Dark:

These vignettes glow with the usual Atwood magic of intelligence … an exhilarating performance, full of sharp pleasures for the mind -BRITISH BOOK NEWS

‘A brilliant and witty writer’ –COSMOPOLITAN

‘Direct, unpretentious, humorous’ -SUNDAY TIMES
Moral Disorder

Moral Disorder

By the author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace

This collection of short stories follows a woman at different points in her life, from the loneliness of childhood, the ardour and confusion of young adulthood, and the mortality we must all eventually face up to. Moral Disorder is Margaret Atwood at her very finest.

Praise for Moral Disorder:

‘Atwood entices us to flip through the photo album of a Canadian woman who closely resembles herself. Come here, sit beside me, she seems to say. Then she takes us on an emotional journey through loneliness, love, loss and old age’ Sarah Emily Miano, The Times

‘Atwood makes it look so easy, doing what she does best: tenderly dissecting the human heart . . . A marvellous writer’ Lee Langley, Daily Mail

‘A model of distillation, precision, clarity and detail . . . Atwood writes with compassion and intensity not only about her characters but also about the 20th century itself’ Mary Flanagan, Independent
Mermaids on the Golf Course

Mermaids on the Golf Course

By the bestselling author of The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and Strangers on a Train

‘One of the exhilarating effects of reading Highsmith’s stories . . . is their surehandednes, their amazing breadth and abundance . . . they compel attention and they add significantly to her already formidable presence’ Washington Post

The stories collected in Mermaids on the Golf Course, first published in 1985, are among Patricia Highsmith’s most mature, psychologically penetrating works.

Published in the latter part of her career, these stories reveal Highsmith’s mastery of the short story form. Moving between locales as various as France, Mexico, Zurich, and New York, Highsmith transforms the mundane features of everyday life into an eerie backdrop for her penetrating stories of violence, secrecy, and madness.

In ‘The Stuff of Madness’, Christopher Waggoner, increasingly dismayed by his wife’s habit of preserving dead pets in their garden, enacts a devious revenge by adding a bizarre new exhibit to their collection; in the title story, a eminent economist’s brush with death endows his once-familiar desires with tragic consequences; and in ‘A Shot from Nowhere’, a young painter who witnesses a gruesome death on a vacant Mexican Street becomes trapped in an unimaginable nightmare.

In these piercing stories, Highsmith creates a world all the more frightening because we recognise it as our own…
Lying In Bed

Lying In Bed

Do you cover up or reveal it all; seek revenge or just reassurance; let the truth be naked as the day or cloaked in a night-time story? The men and women of Polly Samson’s debut fiction all have stories to tell, pasts to forget, futures to forge. Manipulative or meek, used or using, all are aware of the power of truth, deception and little white lies to get what they want or sometimes what they deserve. Some are concerned with the economies of speech, those little ‘kindnesses’ which protect our loved ones but really ourselves; some investigate the warped logic which adults serve out to children to keep them ‘innocent’; all are concerned with the beds we make and the lies we tell in them. . .
Good Citizens Need Not Fear

Good Citizens Need Not Fear

‘Bright, funny, satirical and relevant. . . . A new talent to watch!’ MARGARET ATWOOD (via Twitter)

This brilliant and bitingly funny novel-in-stories, set in and around a single crumbling apartment building in Soviet-era Ukraine, heralds the arrival of a major new talent.

A cast of unforgettable characters–citizens of the small industrial town of Kirovka–populate Maria Reva’s ingeniously entwined tales that span the chaotic years leading up to and immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Weaving the strands of the narrative together is an unforgettable, chameleon-like young woman named Zaya: an orphan turned beauty-pageant crasher who survives the extraordinary circumstances of her childhood through a compelling combination of ferocity, intelligence, stubbornness and wit.

Inspired by her own family’s history, Reva’s Good Citizens Need Not Fear takes us from paranoia to tenderness and back again, exploring what it is to be an individual amid the roiling forces of history.

‘A comic triumph’ GLOBE AND MAIL

‘Bang-on brilliant’ MIRIAM TOEWS

‘Luminous’ YANN MARTEL

‘Outstanding’ ANTHONY DOERR

‘Maria Reva’s enthralling debut of interlinked short stories achieves the double effect of timelessness and timeliness’ KAPKA KASSABOVA, GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE DAY
Foreign Brides

Foreign Brides

Funny, irreverent, dark, and tender – a startling and sexy debut collection. Women (and men) cope with foreign marriages in Elena Lappin’s shrewd domestic comedies of the absurd, set in London, New York, and a constellation of European and Israeli cities. Transplanted across oceans and ensconced in strange houses where appliances malfunction and husbands are not what they seem, women like Noa, Vera, and Paula settle into lives of persistently unfamiliar routine, stirred up from time to time with a very crooked stick. In ‘Noa and Noah’, Noa, an Israeli, has been married for two years before her English improves and she realizes that her British husband, Noah, is not a glamorous young businessman but a dull junior debt collector. In revenge she begins to frequent a nonkosher butcher-and that’s just the beginning. Vera, a Russian, married to an unsuccessful British butler, takes to cab driving and extortion in ‘Peacock’; Paula, a German, married to her dead best friend’s husband, writes stories and snorts cocaine in ‘Bad Writing’. With perfect pitch and a poker face, Lappin writes insidiously funny tales about love and survival in an international no-man’s-land of marriage.
Eleven

Eleven

By the bestselling author of The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and Strangers on a Train

‘What is striking about these stories is their integrity: they are all of a piece . . . a brilliant collection’ – Sunday Times

Unsuspecting victims are devoured by their own obsessions in this perfectly chilling collection of short stories. A man becomes devoted to his pet snails, with fatal results.

A young nanny turns arsonist in a bid to become heroine of the hour. A boy finally stands up to his mother, with knife in hand. Highsmith weaves a world claustrophobic in its intensity, disturbing in its mundanity, as she probes the dark corners of the human psyche.

Eleven is a collection of masterpieces of Highsmith’s particular art, full of compulsion, foreboding and cruel pleasures.
Dr Clock's Last Case

Dr Clock's Last Case

A collection of short stories from the author of “Twenty One Poems” and “Three Poems”.

A. S. Byatt’s comment that Ruth Fainlight’s poems ‘combine Alice Munro’s virtues with something more archaic and also, in exact clear words, give us a truly new vision of usual and mysterious events’ can be applied with equal force to this collection of stories. Acutely precise and elegant, they move from vivid evocations of an American childhood and close studies of amoral expatriate life to erotic humour and black fantasy. The breakdown of a middle-aged man when the ghost of his mother, who perished in the Holocaust, returns to haunt him; the unexplained midnight arrival of three likely terrorists at the comfortable English village house of a university professor; a woman’s half-reluctant marriage to her daughter’s fiance: all these stories demonstrate Ruth Fainlight’s uncompromising subtlety of style, and the range of her sympathies and imagination.
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