Cassandra Edwards is a graduate student at Berkeley: gay, brilliant, nerve-racked, miserable. At the beginning of this novel, she drives back to her family ranch in the foothills of the Sierras to attend the wedding of her identical twin, Judith, to a nice young doctor from Connecticut. Cassandra, however, is hell-bent on sabotaging the wedding. Dorothy Baker’s entrancing tragicomic novella follows an unpredictable course of events in which her heroine appears variously as conniving, self-aware, pitiful, frenzied, absurd, and heartbroken—at once utterly impossible and tremendously sympathetic. As she struggles to come to terms with the only life she has, Cassandra reckons with her complicated feelings about the sister who she feels owes it to her to be her alter ego; with her father, a brandy-soaked retired professor of philosophy; and with the ghost of her dead mother. First published in 1962, Cassandra at the Wedding is a book of enduring freshness, insight, and verve. Like the fiction of Jeffrey Eugenides and Jhumpa Lahiri, it is the work of a master stylist with a profound understanding of the complexities of the heart and mind.
I'm not, at heart, a jumper; it's not my sort of thing . . . I think I knew all the time I was sizing up the bridge that the strong possibility was I'd go home, attend my sister's wedding as invited, help hook-and-zip her into whatever she wore, take the bouquet while she received the ring, through the nose or on the finger, wherever she chose to receive it, and hold my peace when it became a question of speaking now of forever holding it.' It is the hottest June on record and the longest day of the year. Cassandra Edwards -tormented, intelligent, mordantly witty - leaves her graduate studies and her Berkeley flat to drive through the scorching heat to her family's ranch. There they are all assembled: her philosopher father, smelling sweetly of five-star Hennessy; her kind, fussy grandmother; her beloved, identical twin sister Judith, who is about to be married - unless Cassandra can help it.
A witty and addictively readable day-by-day literary companion. At once a love letter to literature and a charming guide to the books most worth reading, A Reader's Book of Days features bite-size accounts of events in the lives of great authors for every day of the year. Here is Marcel Proust starting In Search of Lost Time and Virginia Woolf scribbling in the margin of her own writing, "Is it nonsense, or is it brilliance?" Fictional events that take place within beloved books are also included: the birth of Harry Potter’s enemy Draco Malfoy, the blood-soaked prom in Stephen King’s Carrie. A Reader's Book of Days is filled with memorable and surprising tales from the lives and works of Martin Amis, Jane Austen, James Baldwin, Roberto Bolano, the Brontë sisters, Junot Díaz, Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Keats, Hilary Mantel, Haruki Murakami, Flannery O’Connor, Orhan Pamuk, George Plimpton, Marilynne Robinson, W. G. Sebald, Dr. Seuss, Zadie Smith, Susan Sontag, Hunter S. Thompson, Leo Tolstoy, David Foster Wallace, and many more. The book also notes the days on which famous authors were born and died; it includes lists of recommended reading for every month of the year as well as snippets from book reviews as they appeared across literary history; and throughout there are wry illustrations by acclaimed artist Joanna Neborsky. Brimming with nearly 2,000 stories, A Reader's Book of Days will have readers of every stripe reaching for their favorite books and discovering new ones.
Shelia Rushmore thought she'd be the last woman standing when it was time to fight for her man. Instead Ace, her boyfriend of two years, chose to reunite with his ex-wife, leaving Shelia emotionally devastated. It's a year later when Sheila is convinced that sneaking into their wedding ceremony will put closure on the gaping hole in her heart. But it's on the back pew of the church where a new relationship begins for Shelia. She can't explain the touch she received from God on that day, but she's determined to be a better woman-a woman of faith. Since high school, Shelia has been chasing her definition of the good life - it's left her with no home, no man, and no money. But now that's she's living life for God, things should get better, right? Shelia learns that living a faith-filled life isn't always easy. With faith, tough love, and some tough decisions, Shelia realizes that the life she'd been praying for she could have for herself is actually attainable. Being wrapped in God's arms, she decided, was by far the safest place she'd ever been.
As an antique map dealer in a small English town, Harry Blake appreciates the quiet life. But when a local landowner asks him to value a 400-year-old journal and is then brutally murdered twelve hours later, Harry begins to suspect he's being pulled into something sinister. What does the dusty journal contain that is a matter of life and death? Why is someone prepared to pay Harry a fortune for it? He turns to marine historian Zola Kahn to uncover the mysteries. And when they meet at the old Greenwich Observatory, Harry is convinced there is more to Zola than meets the eye. The trail of the journal leads him into a world of deadly Elizabethan conspiracies, with a thread of history that takes him through a thousand years of religious intrigue back to the blood-soaked Crusades and a long lost icon whose rediscovery has the potential to ignite a worldwide religious war. Combining the thrill of a contemporary chase novel with a historical puzzle this is one novel that will leave readers gasping for breath.
Can you remember who marries the narrator of A Dance to the Music of Time? Or what happens at the end of Nineteen Eighty-Four? Of which English classic did the author remark: 'How unexpected, how odd that people can read that difficult, grinding stuff'? Which American classic, left unfinished at its author's death, was put together by editors? Which novel did Evelyn Waugh (inaccurately) describe as 'an obscene book about domestic servants'? How many times has the Booker Prize been awarded to non-British writers? Who won the National Book Award in 1960: John Updike? Flannery O'Connor? John Barth? Harper Lee? What novels were people reading when the TLS was first published? When Madame Butterfly was first performed? When Matisse painted The Dance? When Wall Street crashed? When the Titanic sank? When Einstein formulated his General Theory of Relativity? When bobbed hair was all the rage? And which year was that? The answer to all these questions, and many more, will be found in The Reader's Companion to the Twentieth Century Novel. An informative and invaluable guide to modern fiction, it contains detailed accounts of some 750 novels from Britain, Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Africa, India and the Caribbean. All the century's major novelists are represented, alongside less celebrated writers whose work has been unjustly neglected or fallen victim to the vagaries of literary fashion.
Alien Hearts was the last book that Guy de Maupassant finished before his death at the early age of forty-three. It is the most original and psychologically penetrating of his several novels, and the one in which he attains a truly tragic perception of the wounded human heart. André Mariolle is a rich, handsome, gifted young man who cannot settle on what to do with himself. Madame de Burne, a glacially dazzling beauty, wants Mariolle to attend her exclusive salon for artists, composers, writers, and other intellectuals. At first Mariolle keeps his distance, but then he hits on the solution to all his problems: caring for nothing in particular, he will devote himself to being in love; Madame de Burne will be his everything. Soon lover and beloved are equally lost within a hall of mirrors of their common devising. Richard Howard’s new English translation of this complex and brooding novel—the first in more than a hundred years—reveals the final, unexpected flowering of a great French realist’s art.
The Swiss writer Robert Walser is one of the quiet geniuses of twentieth-century literature. Largely self-taught and altogether indifferent to worldly success, Walser wrote a range of short stories, essays, as well as four novels, of which Jakob von Gunten is widely recognized as the finest. The book is a young man's inquisitive and irreverent account of life in what turns out to be the most uncanny of schools. It is the work of an outsider artist, a writer of uncompromising originality and disconcerting humor, whose beautiful sentences have the simplicity and strangeness of a painting by Henri Rousseau.
Rick Martin loved music and the music loved him. He could pick up a tune so quickly that it didn’t matter to the Cotton Club boss that he was underage, or to the guys in the band that he was just a white kid. He started out in the slums of LA with nothing, and he ended up on top of the game in the speakeasies and nightclubs of New York. But while talent and drive are all you need to make it in music, they aren’t enough to make it through a life. Dorothy Baker’s Young Man with a Horn is widely regarded as the first jazz novel, and it pulses with the music that defined an era. Baker took her inspiration from the artistry—though not the life—of legendary horn player Bix Beiderbecke, and the novel went on to be adapted into a successful movie starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and Doris Day.