By Roald Dahl
The scene is Australia, in the 1920s. The central figure is a writer, Richard Lovat Somers, seeking horizons of more width and promise than those of moribund Europe — and so, with his wife, Harriet, he has come to discover for himself the people and the way of life of this vast land of opportunity.
By J.M. Barrie
By C.S. Lewis
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy found a wardrobe that brought them to the secret country where adventure begins. Lucy found it first at Professor’s mysterious old house, but no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon after, Edmund, Peter, and Susan discovered the magic and met Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves; and their lives were changed forever.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is the second volume of The Chronicles of Narnia series.
First published in 1846, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella The Double is a classic doppelganger and the second major work published by the author. It is the story of Yajov Petrovich Golyadkin, a government clerk who believes that a fellow clerk has taken over his identity and is determinded to bring about his ruin.
Considered the most Gogolesque of Dostoyevsky’s works, the novella brilliantly depicts Golyadkin’s descent into madness in a way that is hauntingly poetic. The Double illustrates Dostoyevsky’s uncanny ability at capturing the complexity of human emotion especially the darker side of the human psyche.
The Last Tycoon is a description of the real Hollywood of the 1930s with its ruthless moguls, broken hack-writers, faded actors, alcoholism, and promiscuity. But it is perhaps most notable for its portrayal of the tycoon Stahr, the artist-autocrat who was, as the novelist Dan Jacobson has written, ‘…the closest Fitzgerald ever came to making an adult embodiment of what he hoped or desired for himself and his society’.
One of the tragedies of modern literary history is that Scott Fitzgerald died before completing the book, but this volume contains a fascinating synopsis of the rest of the story which has been put together from the author’s notebooks.
‘I would rather have written this unfinished novel than the total works of some widely admired American novelists’ — J.B. Priestley.
It was an axiom with Pongo Twistleton that his Uncle Frederick was one of those people who ought not to be allowed at large. When, therefore, that irresponsible, perennially youthful peer, masquerading as a famous brain specialist, set out to save ‘the Empress of Blandings’, a prize pig belonging to Lord Emsworth, from the clutches of the Duke of Dunstable, and then went on to intervene in the tangled love-affair of Polly Pott and the poet Ricky, Pongo feared the worst. And his fears were amply justified. At the critical moment the Duke’s coldly efficient secretary, the detested Baxter, aided and abetted by Lady Constance Keeble, threatened to wreck the whole gigantic scheme. Blandings Castle was shaken to its very foundations.
By Anton Chekov
These six stories — here presented in memorable new translations — represent Chekov’s narrative genius at the full range and power of its maturity. As masterfully constructed as his earlier stories but with far greater richness and dimension, they deal with human beings suffering the pain of existence, their lives illumined by the author’s rigorous objectivity.
The novella Ward Six, with its hauntingly symbolic depiction of the world of an insane asylum; The Duel, with its theme of moral degradation, its hint of regeneration; and A Dull Story, with its relentless depiction of a culture that corrupts and alienates … these and others present a vivid portrait of what Rufus W. Mathewson calls a “blighted” society, seen through the eyes of a writer whose understanding of “human foolishness” is without equal.