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The man is shepherded through an expanding and contracting world, his own memories and moods changing like the weather. Yet the dream-logic is rooted in real, poignant, human dilemmas. One for readers who have grown out of Philip K Dick. CO Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. Hill House is haunted, but by what?


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The ghosts of the past or the people of the present? Here is a delicious, quietly unnerving essay in horror, an examination of what makes us jump. Jackson sets up an old dark house in the country, garnishes it with some creepy servants, and then adds a quartet of intrepid visitors. But her lead character — fragile, lonely Eleanor — is at once victim and villainess. By the end, the person she is scaring most is herself. Are the ghosts that a new governess in a country house believes to be steadily corrupting her young charges apparitions, hallucinations or projections of her own dark urges?

The book divides SF critics and puzzles fans of her crime novels, but remains one of the great British dystopias and a trenchant satire on our times and values. JCG Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. In the centre of England, a vast crystalline lake has formed. A strong candidate for the most beautiful of all Victorian novels. Owing debts to Jimi Hendrix and offering a decidedly 60s summer festival vibe, Bold as Love is the first in a series of novels that mix politics with myth, counterculture and dark age sensibilities.

It deservedly won Jones the Arthur C Clarke award. On the morning of his 30th birthday, Josef K is arrested by two sinister men in dapper suits. PO Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. The story has two central characters. Algernon is a mouse, whose intelligence is surgically enhanced to the level of rodent genius. The same technique is applied to Charlie Gordon, a mentally subnormal fast-food kitchen hand. The narrative, told by Charlie as his IQ soars, traces the discontents of genius. Alas, the effects of the surgery are shortlived, and the end of the story finds Charlie back in the kitchen — mentally challenged but, in his way, happy.

Being smart is not everything. The hotel is haunted by unexorcised demons from brutal murders committed there years ago. Torrance is possessed and turns, homicidally, on his wife and child. Jack is beyond salvation. The film was brilliantly filmed by Stanley Kubrick in A young married woman, Melanie, scours antiques shops to furnish her new home and comes back with an old chaise-longue, which is perfect apart from an unsightly reddish-brown stain.

She falls asleep on it and wakes up in an unfamiliar house, an unfamiliar time — and an unfamiliar body. At first she assumes she must be dreaming. But gradually she starts to piece together the story of Milly, the young Victorian woman in the last stages of consumption whom she has apparently become, and the nature of the disgrace she has brought on the household run by her fearsomely stern elder sister. Why does the sight of the doctor make her pulse beat faster? And can she find a way back to her own life? AN Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop.

This is frequently judged the best ghost story of the Victorian period. On the sudden death of her father, Maud, an heiress, is left to the care of her Uncle Silas, until she comes of age. Sinister in appearance and villainous by nature, Silas first plans to marry Maud to his oafish son, Dudley who is, it emerges, already married. When this fails, father and son, together with the French governess Madame de la Rougierre, conspire to murder their ward with a spiked hammer. Told by the ingenuous and largely unsuspecting Maud, the narrative builds an impending sense of doom.

Set in a near-future in a disintegrating city, where lawlessness prevails and citizens scratch a living from the debris, this dystopia is the journal of an unnamed middle-class narrator who fosters street-kid Emily and observes the decaying world from her window. Despite the pessimistic premise and the description of civilisation on the brink of collapse, with horror lurking at every turn, the novel is an insightful and humane meditation on the survivability of the species.

The world has entered the Second Enlightenment after the Faith Wars. In the Republic of Scotland, Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson investigates the murders of religious leaders, suspecting atheists but uncovering a plot involving artificial intelligence. Before his current incarnation as a thriller writer specialising in conspiracy theories and psychopathic gore, Marshall Smith wrote forward-thinking sci-fi which combined high-octane angst with humour both noir and surreal.

His debut features a bizarre compartmentalised city with different postcodes for the insane, the overachievers, the debauched or simply those with unusual taste in interior design; as well as adventures in the realm of dreams, a deep love of cats and a killer twist. Robert Neville is the last man standing, the lone survivor in a world overrun by night-crawling vampires.

But if history is written by the winners, what does that make Neville: Clearly this was too much for the recent Will Smith movie adaptation, which ran scared of the very element that makes the book unique. Francie Brady is a rambunctious kid in s Ireland. McCabe leads us on a freewheeling tour of a scattered, shattered consciousness, as Francie grows from wayward child to dangerous adult — nursing his grievances and plotting his revenge.

Chances are that old Mrs Nugent has a surprise in store. These two figures are pushing south towards the sea, but the sea is poisoned and provides no comfort. In the end, all they have and, by implication, all the rest of us have is each other.

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During the Korean war and then the space programme, Yeremin closes down his emotions even as his horizons expand, from the Arctic skies to the moon itself. The second of his sprawling steampunk fantasies detailing the alternate universe of Bas-Lag follows Armada, a floating pirate city, in its search for a rip in reality. Miller breathes new life into the Gothic antihero with his beautifully written Impac-winning first novel. In an epilogue, a spaceship leaves Earth with a cargo of monks, children and the Leibowitzian relics.

The Wandering Jew makes recurrent and enigmatic appearances. Then it hops all the way back down again, resolving each story in turn. These include a camp Ealing-style misadventure, an American thriller and an interview with a clone, all connected by a mysterious comet-shaped tattoo. Moorcock spills out such varied books that he often feels impossible to nail down, which is probably the point. Mother London, his most literary — it was shortlisted for the Whitbread — shows him at the height of his powers. Having gone to sleep on the London underground, the narrator awakes to find himself in 20th-century Hammersmith.

He bathes in the now crystalline Thames and spends a day in what used to be the British Museum, airily discussing life and politics. He then travels up the river to Runnymede, where Magna Carta was signed, going on from there to some idyllic haymaking in Oxford. Sweet Home is a deceptive name for the Kentucky plantation where horrific crimes have been committed, as Beloved is for this shocking and unforgettable account of the human consequences of slavery.

Sethe lives in Ohio in the s; she has escaped from slavery, but cannot escape the past, which quite literally haunts her. It sparks off a page adventure that sees him trapped at the bottom of a well, marked with a strange blue stain and taken on many otherworldly adventures, all in search of his missing wife. Murakami has the Japanese trick of writing about surreal events in a matter-of-fact way, making them all the more disturbing. Ada or Ardor is part sci-fi romance, part Proustian memoir.

It plays out on a fantasy planet, a marriage of contemporary America and pre-revolutionary Russia, and details the love affair of precocious Van Veen and his sister Ada, chasing them from lustful puberty to decrepit old age. It is a gorgeous display of narrative wizardry, at once opulent, erotic, playful and wise.

A moving affirmation of the continuities of love against unusual odds. JH Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. But this novel, which won Hugo and Nebula awards, reminds us he was once one of the most exciting names in hard sci-fi. Part of the Known Space series, it follows a group of humans and aliens as they explore a mysterious ring-shaped environment spinning around a star like a giant hula-hoop.

Set in Manchester in the near-future and in a phantasmagorical virtual reality, Vurt is the story of Scribble, his gang the Stash Riders and his attempt to find his sister Desdemona, who is lost in a drug-induced VR. Set in a rural Ireland that is also a vision of hell, it features policemen turning into bicycles; that SF standby, the universal energy source; and any number of scientific and literary in-jokes.

According to Yoruba tradition, a spirit child is one who has made a pact with his fellows in their other, more beautiful world, to rejoin them as soon as possible. Azaro breaks the pact, choosing to remain in this place of suffering and poverty, but the African shanty town where he lives with his parents teems with phantoms, spirits and dreams. An angry, impassioned fantasy of how to take down corporate America, and an ingenious modern version of the myth of the double.

Thwarted in love, the hero Scythrop reads The Sorrows of Werther and considers suicide, but settles for the comforts of madeira instead. Sinister and sensual, overwrought and overwritten, Titus Groan is a guilty pleasure — a dank, dripping Gothic cathedral of a novel. Titus himself is a minor character — literally: He inherits Gormenghast castle and its extraordinary household: But at its heart is a chilling glimpse of the nature of evil. With this gargantuan novel, Powys set out to take a location he knew well from his boyhood and make it the real hero of the story.

It tells the story of Glastonbury through a year of turmoil, setting mystic mayor John Geard against industrialist Philip Crow. Geard wants to turn the town into a centre for Grail worship, while Crow wants to exploit and develop the local tin mines.

Complex and rich, this is a landmark fantasy novel. The novel is as much a study of their obsession as a brilliant examination of magic and rationalism. A Benedictine monk who gave it up to study medicine, Rabelais wrote this satirical tale of the giant Pantagruel and his even more monstrous and grotesque father Gargantua on the cusp between eras. In his portrayal of Gargantua, a belching, farting scholar given to urinating over the masses below his ivory tower, he satirises medieval learning as well as the emerging Renaissance thirst for knowledge. Remind you of anything more contemporary?

NB Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. This was the novel that brought the one-time astrophysicist to the attention of the SF mainstream. What follows is a history of our world with Islam and Buddhism as the dominant religions and the major scientific discoveries and art movements we take for granted happening elsewhere. Necessarily schematic in places, but a stunning achievement all the same. Every now and then, a book comes along that is so influential you have to read it to be part of the modern world. It is also a truly global phenomenon, and a nice little earner for the tribe of British character actors who have had the good fortune to be cast in the films.

Claire Armitstead Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. The offensive core of the novel depicts, under thin disguise, the prophet Muhammad, and wittily if blasphemously questions the revealed truth of the Koran. Stranded in the Sahara, a pilot meets a boy. He claims to have come from an asteroid, which he shared with a talking flower, and to have visited many other worlds — one inhabited only by a king, another by a businessman, a third by a drunkard … On Earth, he has chatted with a snake and tamed a fox.

Blindness is black, says an onlooker to the man who has suddenly ceased to see while sitting in his car at the traffic lights; but this blindness is white, a milky sea in the eye. Soon everyone is affected and the city descends into chaos. His flowing, opaque style can be challenging, but this parable of wilful unseeing, which resists reductive interpretations, is full of insight and poetry. When Lily Bloom dies, she simply moves house: The classic Gothic tale of terror, Frankenstein is above all a novel of ideas.

Victor Frankenstein is a young Swiss student who resolves to assemble a body from dead parts and galvanise it into life. As well as an exploration of nature and nurture, the book can be read as a reaction to motherhood and a comment upon creativity. High SF at its best. The world is gone, destroyed in an accident that gave humanity farcasters, controlled singularities that enable instant travel across galactic distances. The internet is now a hive mind of advanced AIs that control the gates and keep a vast empire in existence.

But someone or something is playing with time, and all is not as it seems. Hyperion won the Hugo award for best novel. Not so much a novel as a treatise on the nature and evolution of intelligence in the universe, Star Maker takes an unnamed Englishman on a tour of space and time as he observes human and alien civilisations rise and fall over a period of one hundred billion years. A short, dense book, it repays several readings. Fast, furious and containing more ideas in a single sentence than most writers manage in an entire book, Snow Crash has been credited with helping to inspire online worlds such as Second Life and established Stephenson as a cult figure.

This classic novel of horrific possession is supposed to have come to the author in a nightmare. It takes the form of a posthumous confession by Dr Henry Jekyll, a successful London physician, who experiments privately with dual personality, devising a drug that releases his depraved other self, Edward Hyde. The murderous Hyde increasingly dominates the appalled Jekyll, who finally kills himself to escape his double. Others have seen it as a depiction of ineradicable dualisms in the Scottish character.

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The solicitor Jonathan Harker is sent to Transylvania on property business with Count Dracula and is vampirised by his client an interesting reversal of the normal estate agent-purchaser relationship. The count sails to England and embarks on a reign of bloodsucking terror, before being chased back to his lair by the Dutch vampirologist Dr van Helsing, and decapitated. He would, of course, rise again. This unusual writer excels at the creation of skewed, dreamlike parallel worlds. In his fourth novel, the rootless, emotionally frozen Martin Blom is blinded by a stray bullet: A new nocturnal existence and highly charged affair with a nightclub waitress follow, in a phantasmagorical meditation on repression and transgression, absence and invisibility.

Hank Morgan, an engineer from 19th-century Connecticut, is knocked out in a crowbar fight and mysteriously transported to sixth-century England. Vonnegut considered Sirens of Titan to be one of his best books , ranking it just below Slaughterhouse-Five. Featuring a dimension-swapping ultra-rich space explorer who can see the future, a robot messenger whose craft is powered by UVTW the Universal Will to Become and the newly established Church of God the Utterly Indifferent, Sirens of Titan manages to be classic 50s pulp, a literary sleight of hand, a cult novel of the 60s counterculture and unmistakably Vonnegut all at the same time.

Young Jakob von Gunten enrols in a sinister academy that touchstone of Germanic fiction in which students learn how to be good servants. Kafka and Hesse were big fans of the Swiss writer; film-making duo the Brothers Quay turned the novel into a mesmerising stock-frame feature in Waters followed the rollicking Tipping the Velvet with this sombre, beautifully achieved meditation on love and loneliness set in the milieu of Victorian spiritualism.

Waters exploits the conventions of the ghost story to moving, open-ended effect, recreating a world of fascinating detail and beguiling mystery. On his return he reports that he has travelled to the year , Mankind has evolved into hyper-decadent Eloi and hyper-proletarian Morlocks, who live underground. The Eloi fritter, elegantly, by day. The Morlocks prey on the Eloi cannibalistically by night. Before returning to his own time, the Time Traveller goes forward to witness the heat death of the Solar System.

At the end of the narrative, he embarks on a time journey from which he does not return. The most read, imitated and admired invasion fantasy of the 19th century. The Martians, a cold-bloodedly cerebral species, driven by the inhospitability of their dying planet and superior technology, invade Earth. Their first cylinders land at Horsell Common and are followed by an army of fighting machines equipped with death rays. Humanity and its civilisation crumple under the assault, which is witnessed by the narrator, a moral philosopher.

The novel can be read as an allegory of imperialism. As the narrator muses: The Sword in the Stone was initially published as a stand-alone work, but was subsequently rewritten to become the first part of a tetralogy, The Once and Future King. Only at the end of the book is it confirmed that the boy will grow up to be King Arthur. Kathryn Hughes Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop.

Originally published in four volumes, this far-future story presents a powerfully evocative portrait of Earth as the sun dies. Using the baroque language of fantasy to tell a story that is solidly science fiction, Wolfe follows Severian, a professional torturer exiled to wander the ruined planet and discover his fate as leader and then messiah for his people. Complex and challenging, this is perhaps one of the most significant publications in the last three decades of sci-fi.

Triffids are possibly escapees from a Soviet laboratory; their takeover begins when a meteor shower blinds everyone who witnesses it. Bill Masen owes his survival to the fact that he was in hospital with his eyes bandaged at the time. CA Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. It emerges, six months later, that every fertile woman in the village is pregnant. As they grow up with terrifying psychic powers, a perceptive Midwich citizen, Gordon Zellaby, contrives to blow them up and save humanity. What did the Soviet censors find so offensive?

Until, that is, the mathematician D falls in love. Bakha, 18, is strong and able-bodied. He is a latrine cleaner, a Dalit, an untouchable, and the novel traces a day in his life. Deep in thought and enjoying a sweet jalebi, Bakha brushes against a Brahmin. A novel written, some would say, before the genre was properly invented. Set in Surinam, which the author may or may not have visited, its hero is a highly cultivated African prince who is brought to the West Indies as a slave. They marry but, unwilling to have his children raised in servitude, Oroonoko raises a slave rebellion.

It is and while the Irish war of independence rages outside the gates of their County Cork home, Sir Richard Naylor and his Anglo-Irish family continue their privileged life of tea and tennis. Afrikaner teacher Ben du Toit lives a comfortable life in s Johannesburg. Yet his family do not want to look and his search for the truth makes him dangerously vulnerable. Nonetheless, Shirley is an important social novel, set in Yorkshire during the Luddite riots at the end of the Napoleonic wars, which revolves around two questions: Paul Laity Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop.

Unable to reconcile his religion with his homosexuality, Kenneth Toomey wanders the world from the Paris of Joyce and Pound, via Nazi Germany and heyday Hollywood, to Malta where — mottled, sallow, emaciated — he awaits his death, sure of only one thing: Claire Armistead Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. Middle-aged Jeeter Lester is an impoverished cotton farmer. He married his wife, Ada, at the age of 11 and the couple have had 17 children. Incest rages in the Lester household. Tobacco Road created an image of poor white trash that is still with us.

Not so much of an allegory, then, as a Kafkaesque parable Camus acknowledged the debt: Nicholas Lezard Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. His novel is set on Haiti, an island steeped in myth and voodoo. Ti Noel is a slave when a rebellion begins in Having lost his job he moves in with his daughter on her remote farmstead, but then is a helpless bystander when three black men arrive and rape her. His life is becoming a tuition in humiliation.

Yet the bleakness of any paraphrase is belied by the beautiful exactness of the prose, which mimics the intelligence and coldness of the protagonist. But the Magistrate is also a servant of the empire and his intervention in the case of a barbarian girl teaches him lessons about himself as well as the workings of power. Technology with a human face. Only luck rescues her, and makes her penitent. The tale is the more compelling because she is looking back ruefully on her misadventures in older age, examining her own motives with withering candour.

This novel really does attempt an anatomy of post-war America. It also combines the trickery of post-modern narration — a reverse chronology, sudden shifts of narrative perspective, interpolated passages of documentary reconstruction — with a simple and alluring fable. For the spine of this huge book is the story of what happens to a famous object, the baseball hit into the stands to win the World Series for the New York Giants in , just as the Soviet Union is successfully testing an atomic bomb. Attuned like no other novel to the perplexities that hum away at the margins of everyday experience, White Noise remains the most precise, and killingly funny, portrayal of the way we live now.

Lindesay Irvine Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. The titular cities are Paris and London. It is the best and worst of times: The doctor, whose wits are gone, is rescued by a lawyer, Lorry, and brought to England with his daughter, Lucie. A classic novel that helped to give lawyers their bad name. Bleak House is a vigorous satire on the old court of Chancery and the self-serving, pocket-lining nonsenses of the profession practiced there. Richard Carstone and Ada Clare are wards of the court in the eternal case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce; thrown together, they secretly marry.

Also central are their friend, Esther Summerson, who nearly marries out of respectful devotion but loves another, and Lady Dedlock, who has a deep secret uncovered by the ruthless barrister Tulkinghorn. Written when the author was becoming more interested in narrative design and when the type of design he tended towards was palpably darker. The novel opens with the frigid Mr Dombey being presented with the son he hopes will one day take over the family business. Mrs Dombey promptly dies and young Paul in a death scene of tear-jerking pathos follows a few years later. Dombey — desperate for an heir — marries a cynical beauty, Edith Granger.

A ruined Dombey finally realises the worth of Florence, the daughter he has always neglected. Bubbles always burst; if only our financiers had learned from the story of Mr Merdle, in whose bank a deposit seems magically to accrue. Dickens targets greed in this novel, and pride, but he had two more specific targets — government bureaucracy the obstructive Circumlocution Office and the law of imprisonment for debt his own father had been in the Marshalsea. The hero is Arthur Clennam, with whom Amy is in love and whose hateful mother has long-ago wronged the Dorrit family.

Riches arrive and disappear, the pretensions and hypocrisies of society are uncovered, and the inevitable union of Amy and Arthur is long prolonged. Dickens, as always, bashes us over the head, but he does it brilliantly — a battering for our times. A woman arrives, exhausted, at the Mudfog workhouse. She gives birth and dies. The orphan is named Oliver Twist. Oliver discovers that he is gently born and the victim of a criminal conspiracy.

Fagin is hanged, Sikes — pursued by an angry mob — hangs himself. The novel was brilliantly illustrated by George Cruikshank, who later claimed that he, not Dickens, had had the principal idea for the story. A short, desolate, wonderful tale of Californian hedonism that centres on the decline of a failed actor, Maria Wyeth, who recounts her life while in recovery from a breakdown. Her parents are dead, her marriage is over, her young daughter is in hospital. Drugs and sex make her life no less empty. The only place in which she is happy is behind the wheel of her car, driving endlessly on the freeway.

Long before he became prime minister, Disraeli was a member of Young England, a group that looked to paternalism to solve the problems of the industrial age. A sense of the oppression that inspired Chartism is channelled into a high romantic storyline. After his release from prison in s Berlin, transport-worker-turned-hardman Franz Biberkopf tries and fails to stay on the straight and narrow: A novel spun from the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the pair of small-time communists who, accused of passing atomic secrets to the Soviets, were executed by the US authorities in Originally three individual volumes — more than 1, pages in the Penguin complete edition — U.

Large parts of it abandon straightforward narrative in favour of newspaper headlines and stream-of-consciousness collage. In between wander a dozen or so vagrant and only intermittently connected characters — tycoons, power-brokers, hoboes, aspiring movie actors, drunks — deviously at large in the pullulating anthill of earlyth-century transatlantic life. Dreiser deftly records the steely realities of modern urban living. Castle Rackrent can claim many English literary firsts, but was most influential as the first regional novel.

Set in Ireland before the arrival of short-lived independence in , this is a satirical saga of incompetent Anglo-Irish landlords, narrated in the vernacular by their disingenuous steward, Thady Quirk. The one Victorian novel whose greatness no one contradicts. Dorothea marries the parson-scholar Edward Casaubon, only to discover his mind is unworthy of her. Amidst swirlingly connected plots, Dorothea now widowed eventually finds fulilment. Marner is a linen weaver in the village of Raveloe, who once belonged to a religious sect from which he was unjustly expelled: His store of gold is stolen by the son of the local squire; at the same time, a golden-haired foundling, later named Eppie, is left in his house.

She humanises the miser and when her rich father reveals himself, Eppie refuses to leave her adoptive parent. A pioneering novel about being black in America, by a pioneer black American author. It is framed as a journal by an un-named African-American, following his post-college career. Can youthful idealism withstand the disillusions of age? Flaubert asks what is ultimately of most value to us: In his sequel to The Sportswriter , Ford picks up the story of Frank Bascombe, now a New Jersey estate agent, as he navigates the fraught emotional territory of a holiday weekend.

An ex-wife, a disturbed son and a dangerous universe: An ambitious, almost encyclopedic novel about modern America, structured around the seemingly hackneyed idea of a dysfunctional family getting together for Christmas. The parents, Enid and Alfred, confront old age, illness and frustrated ambitions.

The elusive central character is Wyatt Gwyon, intended by his family for the ministry but instead a forger of those objects of religious devotion: The novel renders the passion with which he creates truly original fakes, credited to Flemish masters. The other leading characters are also counterfeiters, like Otto, the playwright, who plagiarises authors he has never read, or the conman Frank Sinisterra.

Much of the novel consists of dialogues in which ideas about religion, art and truthfulness are fearlessly elaborated. All turns out well. The novel in which Gaskell set out to be scrupulously fair to the Lancashire mill-owners whom she had earlier criticised in Mary Barton Initially appalled, Margaret is gradually won over by the rough northern community and its tough but moral textile workers. When Bernard, a student, is told he is illegitimate, he runs away from home and ends up in the bed of his schoolfriend Olivier.

Bernard becomes secretary to Edouard — who is working on a novel called The Counterfeiters. While writing the novel, Gide kept a journal detailing its composition, which he published separately in Unwilling to share their fate, their younger sister Monica marries a wealthy man who makes her miserable. George Orwell said of this bitter, brilliant novel that it retains its capacity to disquiet.

Though set in late 19th-century London, its study of the corrosion of the literary world by self-promotion and commercialism is more relevant today than ever. Edwin Reardon and Jasper Milvain are two young writers who both realise that the values of the new literary industry are base. Milvain plays the game and prospers; Reardon chooses not to compromise and fails. Led to safety and protected by July, their faithful black servant, the Smales in turn become subservient to him. Rosalind Porter Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. In a greasy factory suburb, Pelageya Nilovna is a downtrodden woman whose only solace is religion.

When her son, Pavel Vlassov, declares himself a socialist, she is afraid and ashamed. In her eyes, socialists murder tsars. Yet through her love for her son, she overcomes her habits of subservience. A strange, huge picture of Glasgow written by an author as renowned for his artwork as for his writing. The challenge to the reader is to follow the connections between the two. The early-morning march of hobnail boots on cobbles and the clack-clack-clack of the cotton mills may document a distant time, but rising unemployment, pressure on wages and means testing still shatters lives today.

Michael Henchard, a drunken journeyman labourer, sells his wife to a sailor at a local fair. On sobering up, he vows not to drink for 21 years. He rises in the world as a corn-factor and is elected mayor of Casterbridge Dorchester, bleakly depicted , but his fall once again is precipitous, and he dies, as he began, a labourer. Neglected by his parents, bullied by his brother, beaten and belittled at school, Billy Casper has little hope of a future beyond the pit in his deprived northern town, a destiny signalled by the coal- heaps which loom over the playground.

The most popular novel among both armies in the American civil war. On his release, he steals some silver candlesticks from a bishop, who forgives him. This act of kindness sets Valjean on the path of righteousness. He becomes a successful industrialist, mayor and family man — although always haunted by his criminal past. Hugo introduces spectacular wartime and street-revolution set pieces. Greeks, Germans and Italians march through the town. Making use of the rawness of folklore and tapping into the strange logic of dreams, Kadare takes the lunacy of war and spins it into his own Balkan myth.

He seems to have lost his sight, though he remembers little of what has happened. The third-person narrative does not merely inhabit his thoughts, it also uses a version of his demotic Scots, replete with obsenities, but charged with feeling. JM Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop.

The most famous poet of his era, Larkin as a young man published two novels, of which this is the second. Published in austerity Britain, in a year which saw the worst winter of the century, the narrative is very much of its time. But no one reading it will fail to wonder whether there was not a great novelist struggling to get out of a great poet. At separate tables in a rooftop cafe, two black women take tea and pass as white. It is a chance encounter between childhood friends. Irene is a respectable black woman committed to her home and family.

Clare travels the world with her white husband who, unwittingly, calls her Nig. Passing broke literary ground as the story of two racially and sexually ambiguous women written by another. Social boundaries can be permeated, but not without cost. Nearly 60 years before winning the Nobel prize, Lessing was acclaimed for a stunning debut which tells the story of Dick and Mary Turner, farmers in a remote part of Rhodesia. The lure and contradictions of colonial life are brilliantly analysed as a tragedy unfolds.

I read three to four books a week, and I have to say, this is one book I highly recommend. Makes as much sense as Nazis hiding out in the sorghum. Grecian passes both these "tests" with flying colors. It is equally difficult, I suspect, having an established readership, to change genres, stories, and characters all together, particularly when readers have strong feelings and attachments to earlier work. I have to wonder if my struggles with this book is more a function of my attachment to his earlier work than an honest critique of his most recent offering.

I liked the new characters, and in spite of this plot being well-trod ground, Grecian provides a wholly new take on the storyline. The interaction between Roan and the other characters fell a little flat, and as mentioned by a previous reviewer the plot moved slowly as pieces were put together before the climax. I also struggled with the climax of the story - some plot elements the EMP as device read like a McGuffin, but there was no real purpose for it to drive the plot forward.

I suspect we will see more of Roan and the Roan Foundation, which hunts Nazis and other ne'er do wells from Grecian. I look forward to what he has to offer, with the expectation that I will warm to the new direction he is taking readers. I loved the London Murder Squad books and wondered why Grecian would write something different. Why try something new when you have a golden goose?

I guess he realized that the talent he has is too good for one series. And, indeed, he is a remarkable talent! This book is superb! The topic of Nazi hunting attracts readers. Throw in a Tibetan Mastiff and interesting characters, stir in action and intrigue and end it with the hopes for a second book with these characters and, voila, you have a winning new series!

The Unseen () - The Unseen () - User Reviews - IMDb

This is a must read!!! One person found this helpful. I'll admit it took me a few chapters to accept that this was not another Scotland Yard novel, but once I got over that, I was hooked. If you like Preston and Child's Pendergast series, you will love this book! The plot is crazy enough that you hesitate to explain it to people, but it's full of suspense, narrow escapes, a horrid yet well-explained villain, gruesome deaths and near-deaths, all set in a midwestern gothic landscape.

I essentially read this in a day, and now I want to see more of Dr. The person this story revolves around is a Nazi, getting through the introduction of characters made the story jump around, and I needed more information on the Nazi. However, the story moved forward to a satisfactory ending. I think there will be an additional story by the offer made to the state trooper. I look forward to reading it. I've really enjoyed Grecian's Scotland Yard Murder Squad series, so I was a little disappointed when he announced this wasn't a part of that.

That being said, this book did not disappoint. His ability to write a great cast of characters in a complex, suspenseful story carries over. I'm very much looking forward to the next in both series. This was the first book I read by Alex Grecian. I was totally enthralled by the book from chapter one. I loved the story line and really enjoyed the writing style. I am hoping he carries on with more books with the two charecters- Skottie and Travis. I will definitely be purchasing his other books. The Saint of Wolves and Butchers is a gripping mystery about a depraved former Nazi hiding out in America and a Nazi hunter and a local state trooper who try to find him and bring him to justice.

Very nicely done and quite enjoyable. See all 30 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 1 day ago. I could not put it down. I would recommend it. Published 5 days ago. Published 1 month ago. Published 2 months ago. Published 3 months ago. Published 4 months ago. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. The Saint of Wolves and Butchers. There are so many great anecdotes here that I believe anyone with a love of film will enjoy this book, no matter if you like Corman's movies or not.

Feb 01, Anthony Breznican rated it it was amazing. A vital sight-seeing tour through some of cinema's strangest neighborhoods. For those, like me, who were largely unfamiliar with the B-movie pantheon of producer Roger Corman, this will be an entertaining and eye-opening experience, certainly provoking unhealthy desires to seek out some of the best of the worst. Jul 29, Andrew Garvey rated it really liked it Shelves: A loving tribute to the now seven-decade-long career of pioneering cheapskate director, producer and sometime actor, this is NOT the place to look for critical appraisals or serious, analytical discussions of Roger Corman's prolific and often atrocious output.

But it IS a fantastic, warm tribute, packed with stills from his films and their filming and, best of all, Corman movie posters - a thing of schlocky art all by themselves. It's also a reminder that Corman made some genuinely excellent A loving tribute to the now seven-decade-long career of pioneering cheapskate director, producer and sometime actor, this is NOT the place to look for critical appraisals or serious, analytical discussions of Roger Corman's prolific and often atrocious output.

I also learned a lot from it. I knew nothing about his attempt at a serious, issue film, the Intruder starring a pre-Kirk William Shatner and tackling the subject of racial hatred in the American south long before many other directors were willing to touch the subject or of his involvement, or more accurately, his near-involvement in classics like Easy Rider and the Terminator. As mentioned earlier, this beautifuly presented book has nothing critical to say and so is, inherently, far from a balanced look at Corman's work and the text and captions are at times repetitive.

But it was great fun to read and it's given me a long, long list of Corman 'classics' to track down and enjoy. Feb 26, James Hold rated it it was ok. It adds nothing new and merely takes up space. There are many added passages from graduates of the 'Corman School' but they add little. Martin Scorsese and FF Coppola make some particularly snide and a-hole-ish remarks. Like Corman's own book it grows less and less interesting as it goes along and he does less and less directing. I got this free off a gift coupon.

I wish I had used it for something else. Jul 09, Christian rated it it was amazing. Nashawaty's book on Caddyshack, I sought out this earlier work about the legendary B-movie director, Roger Corman, and I was not disappointed. This book is just absolutely jam-packed with hilarious and inspiring stories of one of cinema's true originals and pioneers. Long live Roger Corman. Aug 16, Danny Reid rated it liked it. Enjoyable for its wacky stories of low budget filmmaking, but undeniably a big old puff piece as well. Oct 01, Terry Collins rated it it was amazing. Essential for Roger Corman fans for the wonderful color reproductions of posters, lobby cards, and photographs of his directing and producing endeavors.

When you combine the eye candy with the interviews on hand and essays from Chris Nashawaty, you have an essential book to shelve in your film library reference collection. Sep 03, Joe Aguiar rated it it was amazing. For fans of the films of B movie auteur Roger Corman, this book is a real treat and a blast to read.

We get quotes and anecdotes about this legend of filmm For fans of the films of B movie auteur Roger Corman, this book is a real treat and a blast to read. We get quotes and anecdotes about this legend of filmmaking from legends in their own right like Jack Nicholson, Joe Dante, John Landis, Sylvester Stallone and Peter Fonda to name a scant few.

Obviously we also hear from Corman himself, his wife Julie… who once went into labor on the set of a film she was producing for her husband… and brother Gene. Some of the stories are downright hilarious as we read first hand accounts of Corman thriftiness in action. A man who still is ahead of his time and still stays one step ahead of the latest trends. Despite all the fun stories and the informative look at some of his most classic films, I closed the book wanting even more… and now that I think of it, that is more of a complement then a complaint!


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Dec 04, Viridian5 rated it really liked it Shelves: What really makes this book is the stories told Corman and the people who worked with him on his low-budget movies, many of whom went on to fame and major acclaim, such as James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Peter Bogdanovich, and Jack Nicholson. A lot of people got their first credits and experience working for him, in what many call "The Corman Film School.

The stories also trace the evolution of film markets, as Corman goes from providing double-features meant to appeal to teens at drive-ins to making some of the first American films about the counterculture in the '60s to providing a ton of exploitation movies but also distributing European arthouse films in the '70s to providing direct-to-VHS and -cable fare in the '80s while hiring many women to direct, something almost no one else in Hollywood was doing, and creating direct-to-VHS star actors to going to DVD to providing monster movies to the Syfy Channel.

He had to start doing the direct-to-VHS and -cable stuff after big studios and big budgets started going into the kind of genre films he'd done for decades and squeezing lower budgeted films out of theaters. The massive success of Jaws and Star Wars started the change. The book can also be really funny and shows a lot of entertaining, very lurid poster and VHS cover art. Sep 29, Matt Horowitz rated it it was amazing. I'm not a huge fan of Roger Corman's movies, actually I hadn't realized I'd seen so many of them until I read this book. And thats sort of the point and one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book.

Roger Corman is a legend and I may not have seen many of his movies but I've probably seen thousands of others that were inspired by him or alumnus of the Roger Corman University and I thought I should learn more about the man who had such a hand in crafting many of the tales and stories I love I'm not a huge fan of Roger Corman's movies, actually I hadn't realized I'd seen so many of them until I read this book.

Roger Corman is a legend and I may not have seen many of his movies but I've probably seen thousands of others that were inspired by him or alumnus of the Roger Corman University and I thought I should learn more about the man who had such a hand in crafting many of the tales and stories I loved. From many of the personal interviews in the book it is clear the talent and influence Mr. Corman had over the people he worked with. Not only that but it was fascinating to see what went into making movies before the advent of computer effects and graphics ruined so much of the product that came before.

At essence it is clear that Mr. Corman just wanted to tell a compelling story. Visually, viscerally, or in any other way he wanted to engage your mind. And in many ways he succeeded grandly. There are many Roger Corman movies I can't watch. I simply can't handle horror yes, I'm a big baby , but there are many others I can watch and learn and be entertained. I salute you Mr. Corman, and I thank you for all the things you have given us. When I first ordered this book I was expecting a traditional biography and was a little surprised to find out that it was a coffee table book.

But given that Corman's posters were often better than his movies, a book of Corman's posters is a hell of a book! All the photos are funny and cool looking, and there's a wide ranging variety of materials here going back decades. I'm amazed at how top notch his advertising was when so many of his movies were The one-sheet When I first ordered this book I was expecting a traditional biography and was a little surprised to find out that it was a coffee table book.

The one-sheets have aged a lot better than his films. It's kind of short on details about Corman himself, but what anecdotes are here are often laugh out loud funny, and the sheer chutzpah on display in this book is amazing. He's definitely a character. If you're looking for a cool coffee table book this is an easy recommendation.

If you're looking for a lot of information about Corman himself maybe you should go to his autobiography; it's not that this book is all posters - it does have a lot of interviews and a good bit of text - but the emphasis is really on the visual side of things. Jun 03, J. It's as advertised; gorgeous coffee table book with insightful commentary from various famous Corman College graduates.

But at the same time, it's nothing new, there's not one critical comment, and as such it's almost a puff-piece. The newly written 'essays' recycle material from the interviews which are also recycled in photo captions, sometimes resulting in the same details to be divulged three times in a row.

Blood-Sucki It's as advertised; gorgeous coffee table book with insightful commentary from various famous Corman College graduates. Blood-Sucking Vampires, Flesh-Eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers less-visual but far more insightful biography as the main source of information. Oct 14, JBP rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm a big fan of exploitation master Roger Corman--the s and early s is pure cinematic gold for a certain kind of movie!

This largely oral history included interviews with all the usual suspects regarding Corman's talent scouting for legendary filmmakers but the real treat for me was the images of the book. The posters that Corman's company came up with were amazingly lurid, colorful, violent, reeked of sex and aliens and danger Seek this one out and then watch some of the films! Nov 04, Chi Dubinski rated it it was amazing. The author did a wonderful job pulling together movie posters, photos, and interviews with many of the actors, writers, and directors who worked with Roger Corman over his long career.