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Fair Play

Author: Tove Jansson
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590176855
Size: 25.66 MB
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Fair Play is the type of love story that is rarely told, a revelatory depiction of contentment, hard-won and exhilarating. Mari is a writer and Jonna is an artist, and they live at opposite ends of a big apartment building, their studios connected by a long attic passageway. They have argued, worked, and laughed together for decades. Yet they’ve never really stopped taking each other by surprise. Fair Play shows us Mari and Jona’s intertwined lives as they watch Fassbinder films and Westerns, critique each other’s work, spend time on a solitary island (recognizable to readers of Jansson’s The Summer Book), travel through the American Southwest, and turn life into nothing less than art.

The Summer Book

Author: Tove Jansson
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590176820
Size: 24.85 MB
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In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life. Tove Jansson, whose Moomintroll comic strip and books brought her international acclaim, lived for much of her life on an island like the one described in The Summer Book, and the work can be enjoyed as her closely observed journal of the sounds, sights, and feel of a summer spent in intimate contact with the natural world.

Rogue Male

Author: Geoffrey Household
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590174755
Size: 12.64 MB
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1930-something: a professional hunter is passing through an unnamed Central European country that is in the thrall of a vicious dictator. The hunter wonders whether he can penetrate undetected into the dictator’s private compound. He does. He has the potential target in his sites and is wondering whether to pull the trigger when security catches up with him. Imprisoned, tortured, doomed to a painful death, the hunter makes an extraordinary and harrowing escape, fleeing through enemy territory to the safety of his native England. But that safety is delusive: his pursuers will not be diverted from their revenge by national borders; the British government cannot protect him without seeming to endorse his deed. The hunter must flee society, and he goes literaly underground, like a fox to its earth. The hunter has become the hunted. Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male is a classic thriller and a triumph of suspense. Described by Household as a “bastard offspring of Stevenson and Conrad,” the book is no less remarkable as an exploration of the lure of violence, the psychology of survivalism, and the call of the wild.

The Woman Who Borrowed Memories

Author: Tove Jansson
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590177932
Size: 78.18 MB
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An NYRB Classics Original Tove Jansson was a master of brevity, unfolding worlds at a touch. Her art flourished in small settings, as can be seen in her bestselling novel The Summer Book and in her internationally celebrated cartoon strips and books about the Moomins. It is only natural, then, that throughout her life she turned again and again to the short story. The Woman Who Borrowed Memories is the first extensive selection of Jansson’s stories to appear in English. Many of the stories collected here are pure Jansson, touching on island solitude and the dangerous pull of the artistic impulse: in “The Squirrel” the equanimity of the only inhabitant of a remote island is thrown by a visitor, in “The Summer Child” an unlovable boy is marooned along with his lively host family, in “The Cartoonist” an artist takes over a comic strip that has run for decades, and in “The Doll’s House” a man’s hobby threatens to overwhelm his life. Others explore unexpected territory: “Shopping” has a post-apocalyptic setting, “The Locomotive” centers on a railway-obsessed loner with murderous fantasies, and “The Woman Who Borrowed Memories” presents a case of disturbing transference. Unsentimental, yet always humane, Jansson’s stories complement and enlarge our understanding of a singular figure in world literature.

The Dud Avocado

Author: Elaine Dundy
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590174135
Size: 65.70 MB
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The Dud Avocado follows the romantic and comedic adventures of a young American who heads overseas to conquer Paris in the late 1950s. Edith Wharton and Henry James wrote about the American girl abroad, but it was Elaine Dundy’s Sally Jay Gorce who told us what she was really thinking. Charming, sexy, and hilarious, The Dud Avocado gained instant cult status when it was first published and it remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living. “I had to tell someone how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream, and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm).” –Groucho Marx "[The Dud Avocado] is one of the best novels about growing up fast..." -The Guardian

Letters From Russia

Author: Marquis de Custine
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141394528
Size: 70.60 MB
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The Marquis de Custine's unique perspective on a vast, fascinating country in the grip of oppressive tyranny In 1839, encouraged by his friend Balzac, Custine set out to explore Russia. His impressions turned into what is perhaps the greatest and most influential of all books about Russia under the Tsars. Rich in anecdotes as much about the court of Tsar Nicholas as the streets of St Petersburg, Custine is as brilliant writing about the Kremlin as he is about the great northern landscapes. An immediate bestseller on publication, Custine's book is also a central book for any discussion of 19th century history, as - like de Tocqueville's Democracy in America - it dramatizes far broader questions about the nature of government and society.

Nightmare Alley

Author: William Lindsay Gresham
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590174283
Size: 63.32 MB
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Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision—going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There’s no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him. And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he’s going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute bimbo (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan’s for the taking. At least for now.

Why Read The Classics

Author: Italo Calvino
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544146379
Size: 29.73 MB
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A posthumously published collection of thirty-six essays offering Italo Calvino's invigorating and illuminating analysis of his most treasured literary classics.