The Emigrants is divided into four sections, each one documenting the life of a man no longer living in the country of his birth, men who in the twilight of their lives can find no peace with the past, no happiness in the present. While the book is categorized as fiction, each story reads like a personal narrative, an intimate encounter between the narrator and his subjects.

To enhance the illusion that these stories are true, Sebald had embedded black and white photos throughout the narrative. This … More

Born OTD in 1902, American author known for his realistic & imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour & keen social perception, John Steinbeck. He has been called “a giant of American letters,” & many of his works are considered classics of Western literature. Ethan Allen Hawley has lost the acquisitive spirit of his wealthy & enterprising forebears, a long line of proud New England sea captains & Pilgrims. Scarred by failure, Ethan works as a grocery clerk in a store his family once owned. But his wife is restless & his teenage children troubled & hungry for the material comforts he cannot provide.

Then a series of unusual events reignites Ethan’s ambition, and he is pitched on to a bold course, where all … More

In his heyday, during the 1960s & early 1970s, B. S. Johnson was one of the best-known young novelists in Britain. A passionate advocate for the avant-garde in both literature and film, he became famous – not to say notorious – both for his forthright views on the future of the novel & for his idiosyncratic ways of putting them into practice. But in November 1973 Johnson’s lifelong depression got the better of him, & he was found dead at his north London home. He had taken his own life at the age of forty.

Jonathan Coe’s biography is based upon unique access to the vast collection of papers Johnson left behind after his death, … More

Born OTD in 1933, English experimental novelist, poet and literary critic, B. S. Johnson. He also produced television programmes and made films. With an introduction by novelist Jon McGregor. The novel describes, in the first-person, a three-week voyage aboard a deep-sea fishing trawler in the Barents Sea, not unlike the one Johnson undertook in preparation to write the book. Isolating himself from the world he knows, as well as from the ship’s crew, the narrator reflects on past events and relationships, hoping for some kind of redemption. This convincingly authentic and harrowing attempt to get to the heart of the human condition is one of Johnson’s finest novels.

In his heyday, during the 1960s and early 1970s, B S Johnson was one of the best-known novelists in Britain. … More

Born OTD in 1914, American writer and visual artist, William S. Burroughs. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation & a major postmodernist author whose influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. A terrifying, surreal space-age odyssey, The Soft Machine initiated Burroughs’ Cut-Up Trilogy that includes Nova Express and The Ticket That Exploded. The book draws the reader into an unmappable textual space, where nothing is true and everything is permitted, to make a total assault on the colonising powers of planet earth that have turned us all into machines.

Edited and introduced by renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris, this new edition clarifies for the first time the extraordinary history … More

Born OTD in 1882, Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic, James Joyce. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde and is regarded as one of the most influential & important authors of the 20th century. Joyce’s fictional universe centres on Dublin and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies & friends from his time there. Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets & alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses, he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, “For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal

A complete account of the life and times of James Joyce in the form of a graphic novel. From his … More

When Kafka died in 1924, his loyal champion Max Brod could not bring himself to fulfil his friend’s last instruction: to burn his remaining manuscripts. Instead, Brod devoted the rest of his life to editing, publishing and canonizing Kafka’s work. By betraying his friend’s last wish, Brod twice rescued his legacy – first from physical destruction, & then from obscurity. But that betrayal was also eventually to lead to an international legal battle: as a writer in German, should Kafka’s papers come to rest in Germany, where his three sisters died as victims of the Holocaust? Or, as a Jewish writer, should his work be considered as a cultural inheritance of Israel, a state that did not exist at the time of his death?

Alongside an acutely observed portrait of Kafka, Benjamin Balint also traces the journey of the manuscripts Brod had rescued when … More

Since her suicide in 1963 at the age of 30, Sylvia Plath has become a strange icon. This book addresses why this is the case and what this tells us about the way culture picks out important writers. The author argues that without a concept of fantasy we can understand neither Plath’s work nor what she has come to represent.

She proposes that no writer demonstrates more forcefully than Plath the importance of inner psychic life for the wider sexual … More

A rare book which provides insight about Tressell from a biographical point of view. Reveals more about the dramatic rescue of the church-mural now in the Hastings Museum. A man known for his humanity, this honest account seeks to dispel the confusion about Tressell’s life. There are many stories surrounding Robert Tressell, the Irish writer best known for his one & only novel, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists, which captured the minds of thousands. A man surrounded by political propaganda and rumours, this memoir seeks to dispel the fabrications & get to the truth about Tressell, a man known for his humanity. The memoir was inspired by Tressell’s daughter, Kathleen, a remarkable lady who turned up after being `dead’ for so many years.

It reveals more about her unconventional life, even exploring her interest in psychoanalysis. Amusing and at times tragic, this personal … More

Crick’s George Orwell is important because this English political scientist is the first writer to have been given unrestricted access to Orwell’s papers as well as unlimited rights of quotation. The result is the best-written and most comprehensive Orwell biography to date — which means it suffers only by comparison with Orwell’s own work.

Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were the first books to capture the mass audience he coveted, but it was the … More